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Caterham in technical reshuffle as Smith leaves Leafield squad
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Posted By: Justin Hynes  |  10 May 2014   |  10:04 am GMT  |  18 comments

Just eight months after its last technical department reshuffle, Caterham have announced that Technical Director Mark Smith has left the team “with immediate effect”, with development at the Leafield outfit to now be handled by a three-strong Technical Committee made up of John Iley, Jody Egginton and recent recruit Gerry Hughes.

Last September the team broadened the role of then Performance Director John Iley to cover the team’s Advanced Projects Group, “looking at future innovation that can be applied to the F1 team and all of Caterham’s automotive and technological interests” and promoted then Operations Director Jody Egginton to the post of Deputy Technical Director.

In the latest moves, Iley’s post has been retitled Head of Performance Engineering and the former Ferrari and McLaren Head or Aerodynamics will now be responsible “for all performance aspects of the car, including Aerodynamics and Vehicle Performance”.

Egginton, who joined Caterham upon its inception as Chief Engineer, will become Head of Design & Manufacturing and “will oversee a more integrated and seamless design, manufacturing and rig testing process with cost, quality and time as key drivers from early concepts and drawings to physical parts management.” The team added that a number of departments will report to Egginton including Design, Production, Control Systems and Electronics.

Gerry Hughes steps up from the Chief Engineer role to become Head of Track Operations. Hughes, whose long career has seen him enjoy stints at A1 GP Team Ireland, Super Aguri, Jordan, Jaguar Red Bull Racing and Prodrive, joined Caterham in February of this year as Chief Engineer after two years at the Rahal Letterman IndyCar team. His new role will see him continue as Chief Engineer but he “now also assumes overall management of track activities and personnel”.

Smith, meanwhile, departs Caterham after three years with the team. A long-time associate of Mike Gascoyne, with whom Smith worked at Jordan and Renault in the late 1990s and early 2000s, he was brought to Caterham from Force India where he had become Technical Director after two years at Red Bull Racing.

Speaking of the restructure Caterham Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul said: “We and Mark part company on good terms and with our best wishes for the future. It was obviously a tough decision to see someone of Mark’s calibre go, but we have identified the need to restructure as a key aspect of increasing our on-track performance and forming a new Technical Committee composed of John, Jody and Gerry will allow us to do exactly that.

“After investing last year in our new factory, and over the winter in aerodynamic development capacity, the new structure gives three specialists we are lucky to have with us the opportunity to use their experience, passion and dedication to help us progress. We are not happy with our current performance levels and John, Jody and Gerry, with my full support and that of our shareholders, staff and partners, are the right people to help take us forward.”

 

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18 Comments
  1. David in Sydney says:

    Always sad when someone gets canned.

  2. Owen says:

    No doubt Mark Smith has paid the price for Caterham’s lack of progress. I think the writing is on the wall and that Tony F has lost interest and patience – and more to the point their sponsors cannot continue to pour money into a project which has continually failed to live up to its promises. An buyers ready to pick up the pieces?

    1. Brian says:

      Very few appear to the ‘sponsors’ in the traditional sense but business partners of Tony F hence I would suspect very much tied in at present.

  3. Random 79 says:

    Voluntary or pushed?

    Either way I’m sure it’s part of their 135 year plan to meet their targets so three cheers for Caterham :)

  4. kenneth chapman says:

    somehow the logic of having these three bottom teams escapes me. why? they never amount to anything credible and simply take up track space.

    it would be totally different if they gradually moved forward but they don’t. they just impede the faster cars. if they were to be able to buy customer cars then we may see some credibility. at the moment it is simply a waste of money.

    they will always lack the resources as sponsors are not interested because they never get any exposure. benevolent billionaires are becoming a scarce resource. i wonder why?

    if the FIA are fixated on having 22/24 cars on the grid then they need to show some sense and either let the better resourced teams field three cars or the other customer option.

    1. Joe S says:

      Agreed completely with this. 2009 was the last year with a field which was all good. Can’t wait until Caterham and Marussia are gone. Unfortunately the American team next year will be worse.

      1. Simmo says:

        Don’t judge the American team until you’ve seen it.

    2. James Clayton says:

      I was trying to come up with a way of having both Quai and the race on the same day, yet still make two-day and three day tickets an attractive option for promoters to sell to fans, and came up with this idea which also I figure would help boost the lower teams exposure:

      A team can feild anywhere between 1 and 3 cars. The top 10 drivers in each Sunday race automatically qualify to take part in the next event’s Championship event.

      Saturday is a non-championship event – featuring qualifying and a race for all the drivers who don’t automatically qualify. The top twelve finishers in Saturday’s race join the 10 who automatically qualified at the previous even to take part in the championship event on Sunday.

      On Sunday morning there is a qualifying session featuring the 22 eligible drivers (the 10 automatic entries, and the top 12 finishers in Saturdays race) and in the afternoon the championship race takes places as normal.

      This way ALL teams get to feature in a race on the Saturday, and they all get to have a crack at a decent result – as if a couple of teams are dominating then they will never feature in the Saturday races anyway. Teams can work on a lower budget if they only field 1 car, or go for a crazy spend-fest with 3 cars.

      Far more sponsor exposure as the very hardcore F1 fans would be able to watch 2 days of quali and racing, and the causal fan might well watch a few more quali sessions than they do now if it takes place on the same day as the race.

      We’d be unlikely to have a race filled with too many backmarkers, and the smaller teams would hopefully have a chance to build themselves up a bit, with the increased exposure from genuinely taking part in a race on Saturday (and maybe the odd Sunday).

  5. Sandy says:

    James, I know this is horribly off topic but I read a quote from Paul Hembery today,

    “This circuit historically tends to be one of the ones that is more boring, it’s been a precession for many years. We had a few years of taking a different approach to it and this year we’ll probably return to more in line with what’s been the historical type of event.”
    Read more at http://en.espnf1.com/spain/motorsport/story/157231.html#FII91t8UqOsIKY6W.99

    I fail to understand how formula one can have any significant personality in the paddock saying that a race has always been and always will be processional???? Your thoughts please.

    1. James Allen says:

      He’s not the only one to say that.

      Perez told BBC 5 live that everyone will follow each other tomorrow.

      I’d say that since DRS came in the story is different, as there have been some overtakes and also the winner of 2 of the last 3 Spanish GPs was not the pole sitter

  6. W.P says:

    The very best of luck to them. Do we tend to regard them as “the back end of the grid” or “making up the numbers” or even “no hopers”when we should remember that they are one of twelve teams in the absolute top level of motor sport with it’s connections to cutting edge technology etc. Thanks Caterham for your invaluable contribution.

  7. Ben says:

    The rumour mill has fired up, apparently caterham are up for sale! With the right amount of investment it could potentially do well but as usual it comes down to money…..

    1. Simmo says:

      Right, well I’ll just, er.. casually dish out my wallet! ;)

  8. David in Sydney says:

    Looks like it’s time for me to post a Kickstarter project to raise the cash to buy out TF… how much did he pay for his embarrassment again?

  9. Rod Shephard says:

    I have been a supporter of Caterham since their inception. Why? As a passionate fan of Minardi, I think that says it all! The comments from W.P sums it up -and to Kenneth Chapman- no matter what the structure of the teams, someone will always finish LAST-no matter what level of financial resources teams have. According to reports, Caterham’s budget is about 30% of Red Bull, Ferrari,Mclaren etc..the concern I have had is the underlying motive for TF and his future in the sport-and why the expansion of the brand into GP2, Moto 3 etc. I question the issue of F1 commitment versus commercial grandstanding..
    Nothing has changed since the inception of F1..motorsport in general. I believe if you take away the teams which are considered no chance to “make it”, then we may as well stop right now. How great some people dare to dream of getting a point, let alone a win.Long may it continue!

    1. Oliver W says:

      Spot on. Also allows more drivers into the series plus 18 car races seem less enjoyable.

  10. GregB says:

    James,
    Two of the three that are now running the team on the track must have had input into the car. John Iley was already Performance Director, Jody Egginton Chief Engineer so I can’t see how things will change?

    Regards

    Greg.

  11. Rupert Suren says:

    FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS. Caterham have been dabbling with motorbikes, sailing boats, secondary formulae, Fernadez’s football venture and caterham road cars. The Aero Seven project for the road cars has been around for far too long considering it is just a rebodied 7. They are way off the pace and I hate to say it but good sponsors like GE will be frightened off F1 for years to come. Who wants to bring their corporate guests to see a loser? Huge shame if they go but life has never been easy or just about money in F1 – remember Beatrice F1?

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