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.”