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Team Lotus adds F1 aerodynamics specialist John Iley to technical group
Posted By: James Allen  |  25 Nov 2011   |  6:35 pm GMT  |  17 comments

The build up of technical staff at Team Lotus is set to take a new step with the arrival of leading aerodynamicist John Iley from McLaren.

The move has yet to be announced by Team Lotus, but it is believed that Iley has left McLaren and is on gardening leave until joining what will then be called Caterham F1 Team in June 2012.

Iley is another in a series of leading names who have worked before with Mike Gascoyne and have decided to join him at Team Lotus. He joins ex Red Bull technical director Mark Smith and ex Renault Sporting Director Steve Nielsen in making the move.

The team is set to move premises in the near future from Hingham in Norfolk to the former Arrows premises in Leafield, Oxfordshire, closer to F1’s silicon valley.

Iley worked at McLaren early in his career but at Jordan Grand Prix he rose to the position of chief aerodynamicist, at the time when Gascoyne was technical director.

He then followed Gascoyne to Renault in 2002 and two years later he was headhunted by Ferrari as chief aerodynamicist, working alongside Rory Byrne and Ross Brawn. He left Ferrari in July 2009 and rejoined McLaren in 2010.

His hiring means that McLaren has lost two big names in short order with deputy chief designer Luca Furbato leaving for Toro Rosso earlier this month.

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I’m constantly impressed with the the progression of Team Lotus. Always seems to have had more drive and realistic approach than the other two new teams. I really don’t see either of them making anywhere near the progress TL have and expect buy out’s in a year or two.

With Team Lotus changing name, what happens to the historic finances that the name brought? As I understood it, being linked to the original Team Lotus brought extra financial payments due to the historic results achieved. What happens next year onwards?


The former Arrows HQ at Leafield has seen some tenants over the years, it’s a fascinating minor history in its own right!

Anyway, good luck to Caterham-Renault next year. Hopefully it will be able to concentrate on racing rather than naming; and it would be good to have another team in the competitive mid-field bunch.

In the past there have been teams consistently further off the pace than the new entries of 2010 but it is still not good for the show or the sport, especially as F1 is much higher profile now than then; and what really has to be regarded as their near total failure thus far must be so offputting to any other (serious) potential new teams.


Seems like Tony has been doing a lot of shopping in the F1 mall lately. They strong on cash or will this leave them vulnerable to development costs next season?


Hey James,

Do you think Mercedes could mount a challenge to the top teams next year?


I hope so. They’ve had a couple of dodgy years. Looking at the names who joined recently, that they’ve felt were needed, I’d say that it will be 2014 before they have a car to challenge. My hunch is that they’ll be roughly where Ferrari are at the moment, relative to the winners’ pace ie closer but no cigar..


I think Caterham Wind Tunnel will build in Leafield, Oxfordshire.


That’s a very short stint at McLaren… Was he dissatisfied with his role or was he lured away with an irresistible offer?



My thoughts as well…


Wow, that’s great! James is anything going on behind the scenes at McLaren for two key people to leave?


No, it’s the normal churn.


Hey James – as always – great articles.

Once the season is over – and you’ve caught you breath back! – in the off season, when the news runs a little thin, it would be awesome if you could do a profile of some of the teams in regards to who the key people are, how they got there and what the role is they do…

I know that is a massive thing to cover – but it would be quite insightful to the more interested fans to hear who are the people in the shadows of the drivers, helping to run the show and are the brains behind the cars.

just an idea! 😀


James – I second this. Its a shame that all the commentators choose to ignore the backstory of what goes on behind the scene (but yes I do give you credit for your recent Ferrari team stories!).


Thanks for the suggestion, I’ll add it to the list for the off season

can't find downforce

There’s nothing normal about it. The cabal of mediocre individuals responsible for one underwhelming car after another are untouchable. Anyone of ability trying to change it eventually gives up and goes somewhere else.


Great for Caterham, possibly also for McLaren, as new blood entering the teams will give fresh insights for both? I hope so.


great appointment, id love to see the team to get stuck into the midfield teams next year. I sadly cant see Virgin/Mariussia or HRT moving from their current positions


Sounds like great news for Caterham. They really are doing a good job of building the team.

James, have McLaren made any significant additions to the team apart from Sam Michael? With Mercedes in particular building up big names in their technical department are McLaren a little vulnerable?

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