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Gascoyne: I’ll always be proud of Lotus work

6 December 2011

Technical director Mike Gascoyne insists he will 'always be proud' of the work carried out under the Lotus name for the past two F1 seasons as the 1Malaysia Racing outfit prepares to make the switch to the Caterham name for 2012.

Gascoyne helped to form what was then known at Lotus Racing for the 2010 season before the team was rebranded as Team Lotus for the current campaign, only for a bitter dispute with Group Lotus to develop – leaving the team to change its name for its third season to Caterham following the purchase of the carmaker by team boss Tony Fernandes earlier this year.

With the team now set to leave its current base in Hingham to move to the former Arrows factory at Leafield, the F1 operation will no longer be based in Gascoyne's native Norfolk but he would always be proud of the work carried out thus far with the programme.

“I'm big enough, bad enough and been in this game for long enough you just accept that's the way it is,” he told the Norwich Advertiser. “For me as a Norfolk kid, I came back to Norfolk and set up a Formula One team called Lotus – and you don't get an opportunity like that very often, so it's something I will always be very proud of.

“You have to have a deep sense of practicality. You can't get emotional about it. It became a massively hot political thing with the Chapman family, with Group Lotus and Proton, and the individuals taking it over.

“But what we did was done in great faith and with great spirit, and I think everyone involved can be very proud of what they did under the Lotus name.”

Admitting that the team had to move away from Norfolk to become sustainable without the Lotus relationship, Gascoyne added that the progress made this season had been pleasing and had left the team well placed as it prepares to become Caterham F1 in 2012.

“From Singapore onwards we always beat an established team – Williams, Renault, Sauber,” he said. “We have clearly moved up to those teams and been able to beat them on track. I agree it was disappointing we didn't score a point but who's to be more disappointed, us or Williams and Renault? I think the job we did to be where we were was a lot better than the job they did to be where they were.

“But it's not just where you are on the track, it's whether you're on track to build the team up. Are you putting everything in place for next year and the one after? You don't necessarily see that on track while we're doing it, but that has all been going very well.

“So in that case job done and if you say you want to score points, we didn't do that… screw up. We still qualified 19th and 20th for every race… so what. But actually, where we are for next season…from that point of view there are now 10 established teams and two new teams. There used to be nine and three. It's much more of a level playing field. The job now is to take it on and do what we said we would last year and do it properly – that's the challenge and it is a great challenge.”