Mike Gascoyne

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Mike Gascoyne
Mike gascoyne - profile.jpg
Mike Gascoyne
Born (1963-04-02) 2 April 1963 (age 51)
Norwich, England
Occupation CEO of Caterham Composites and Caterham Technology

Michael "Mike" Gascoyne (born 2 April 1963 in Norwich, England) is a designer of Formula One cars. He is currently the chief Technical officer of the Caterham Group and focusing on his role as CEO of Caterham Technology and Caterham Composites.

Gascoyne has worked for numerous Grand Prix teams including McLaren, Sauber, Tyrrell, Jordan, Renault, Toyota, Spyker (later known as Force India) and in September 2009 with a confirmed entry by the FIA Gascoyne supported by the shareholders Tony Fernandes, Din Kamarudin and SM Nasarudin set up the then called Lotus Racing Team, that would later become the Caterham F1 Team. He is now the Chief Technical Officer for the Caterham Group.

Gascoyne's "no nonsense" management style has proven to be very successful in setting up projects from scratch and turning around struggling teams.

His nickname "the rottweiler" originates from his time at Tyrrell working under his mentor Harvey Postlethwaite. Gascoyne was originally called "Harvey's pit bull" by a truckie called "Jolly" but this was later changed to "the rottweiler" and has stuck with him ever since.

Gascoyne currently lives in Oxfordshire and Norfolk with his partner Silvi and his children Joel, Connie and Freddie Gascoyne.

Early career[edit]

Gascoyne was born in Rackheath, Norfolk, England. He lived in Sprowston and went to Sprowston Junior School and before moving to Old Catton. He went to Wymondham College from 1974 to 1981. Although he gained admission to study for a Ph.D. in fluid dynamics at Cambridge University (Churchill College) from 1982 to 1988, he gaining a series of degrees but started working before graduating with a PhD.[1] He was, however, active in his college Boat Club, as a successful coxswain of Churchill's leading women's crew. After leaving Cambridge in 1988 he briefly worked for Westland System Assessment Limited, part of Westland Helicopters, but maintained a keen desire to work in motor sport.

Formula One career[edit]

Gascoyne driving a Tyrrell F1 car in the BOSS GP series
Damon Hill 1999 Canada
Renault R202
Ralf Schumacher 2005
Force India Canada 2008

Early roles[edit]

In 1989 he joined McLaren as a wind tunnel aerodynamicist but only remained with the team for a single year before joining Tyrrell, who at the time were enjoying something of a renaissance with Frenchman Jean Alesi at the wheel of the 019 chassis.

While at Tyrrell he worked for designer Harvey Postlethwaite, who came to hold Gascoyne in such regard that when Postlethwaite departed in 1991 to design the Sauber team's first Formula One car, he took the twenty-eight-year-old engineer with him to Switzerland. Postlethwaite's stay with the Sauber team was short, but Gascoyne remained for the first season, his Sauber C13 chassis taking 12 points during 1993.

In late 1993 Postlethwaite returned to Tyrrell and invited Gascoyne to become Deputy Technical Director responsible for the design of the team's 1994 car. Gascoyne accepted and remained with the team for four years, although lack of money severely limited his ability to produce a competitive racing car. When Ken Tyrrell announced his intention to sell to British American Tobacco, Gascoyne was forced to leave in the knowledge that the renamed British American Racing was to employ Malcolm Oastler as Technical Director.[citation needed]

Jordan Grand Prix[edit]

In June 1998 Gascoyne joined Jordan Grand Prix as Technical Director and immediately set about designing their 1999 car. The season was the team's most successful in its history, finishing third in the Constructors Championship and taking two race victories.[2]

Benetton/Renault F1[edit]

Shortly before the start of the 2001 season he moved to Benetton, whose results had been in serious decline since the mid-1990s. Gascoyne’s two-and-a-half seasons with Benetton, and later Renault, saw a marked improvement in the team's fortunes, culminating in victory at the 2003 Hungarian Grand Prix. By now however, the highly rated Technical Director had already been placed on gardening leave by his French employers pending a move to Toyota F1 for an undisclosed financial settlement.

Toyota[edit]

In December 2003 Gascoyne made his move to the Cologne base of Toyota and began working on the 2004 car. With Formula One design timelines stretching back many months before the start of the season,[citation needed] he was unable to have full influence over many early decisions[citation needed] and the season proved to be a disappointment. The 2005 season was Toyota's most successful Formula One season by far, as they scored points in all but the opening race and the controversial United States Grand Prix, where Trulli qualified in pole position but like all the drivers using Michelin tyres, retired before the start of the race. Gascoyne's aim for 2006 was high and the team's first victory and the championship were the next two steps. The early stages of the 2006 season proved to be average, with the team struggling with the late switch to Bridgestone tyres and the new V8 engines. Many observers[who?] had predicted race wins and possibly even a title challenge.

Ricardo Zonta in the Toyota during qualifying at the 2005 United States Grand Prix

Toyota surprised the Formula One community by dropping Mike Gascoyne from their technical department after the Melbourne race where Ralf Schumacher finished 3rd on the podium, especially as the Englishman had contributed to their rise in competitiveness during 2005. However, the poor performances of the TF106 in the opening two races of the season, particularly in Bahrain where the team had finished on the podium 12 months earlier, prompted disagreement over the team's technical direction. Gascoyne disliked the corporate way the team's management operated while team management were unimpressed by the TF106 car Gascoyne had produced and he was duly dismissed.

Although he made no immediate comment, the Toyota team issued a statement citing a "fundamental difference of opinion with regard to the technical operations" and that Gascoyne had been suspended until further notice. On 6 April Gascoyne and Toyota parted company "amicably".[3] Pascal Vasselon became temporary Technical Director with immediate effect.

Spyker/Force India[edit]

In September 2006 Gascoyne was signed by Spyker F1 as Chief Technology Officer. He took up his new position in November 2006.

An updated version of the F8-VII chassis was introduced at the 2007 Turkish Grand Prix. It was the first Spyker car designed by Gascoyne and he stated the new car could be up to three quarters of a second per lap faster than the original F8-VII.[4]

In 2008, Spyker became the Force India team after its sale to Vijay Mallya. Gascoyne continued as Chief Technology Officer.

On 7 November 2008 it was announced that Gascoyne would no longer play any formal role at the team, with Force India owner Vijay Mallya taking full responsibility for running the team.


Lotus F1 Racing/Team Lotus/Caterham Group (2009 - present)[edit]

Lotus Racing car launch in London 2010
T128, Malaysia 2011

In 2009 Gascoyne was part of plans by the Litespeed F3 team to enter Formula One in 2010, under the Team Lotus name. They failed to gain entry, but Gascoyne continued to work on the plans and got backing from the Malaysian government to form Lotus Racing. The team gained entry for the 2010 season in September 2009. Throughout several name changes the team is now called Caterham F1 Team and on 29 September 2010 it was announced that Gascoyne had signed an extension to his contract, tying him to the Caterham group until the end of 2015.

Caterham Technology and Caterham Composites[edit]

Since February 2012 Gascoyne has stepped away from the daily running of the F1 side and become Chief Technical Officer of the Caterham Group, with his daily focus being now on his role as CEO of Caterham Technology and Caterham Composites, using his experience in Formula 1 engineering and project management to develop competitive turn-key solutions for the automotive, marine and aviation industry.

Caterham Le Mans Project[edit]

Caterham Le Mans project

On 3 June, the Caterham Group announced it would be entering the 2013 Le Mans 24hr race in the LMP2 Class in collaboration with Greaves Motorsport.[5][6] Caterham personnel would be led by Caterham Technology CEO Mike Gascoyne as part of an evaluation of an entry into the customer prototype market with the idea to apply areas of expertise to a customer Sports Prototype programme in future. The interest of the Caterham Group in international endurance racing follows the setting up of a 50/50 joint venture with historic French manufacturer Alpine to develop a new road-ging sports car. Gascoyne and Caterham Technology are leading the design of a car that will be available as a Caterham and an Alpine when it goes on sale in 2016.[7]

MGI Consultancy[edit]

MGI Consultancy is a company founded by Gascoyne in 2001. MGI Consultancy is a professional engineering consultancy offering high level services to maritime, aviation, automotive and motorsport industries.

Caterham Challenge[edit]

On 15 May 2013 MGI announced that Caterham Technology and Caterham Composites, had joined with MGI CEO Gascoyne and MGI Sailing Director Brian Thompson to run a Class40 offshore racing campaign under the banner of ‘Caterham Challenge’.[8]

Gascoyne arriving in Grenada after crossing the Atlantic solo non-stop
Launch of Caterham Challenge project at Caterham F1 facilities in Leafield 2013

This two-­year campaign follows on from Gascoyne’s successful 2012 solo transatlantic aboard a ‘Caterham Challenge’ branded Class40.

The Campaign objectives are to bring F1 standards of technology and logistics to off-shore racing, to encourage green, sustainable and reusable energy technologies in the marine, automotive and aerospace sectors and to utilize Caterham’s extensive experience in F1, R&D, engineering, competitive sailing and sports marketing.[9]

MGI built an Akilara RC3 Class40 and launched the racing boat in late August. Caterham Challenge was first on public display during the Southampton boatshow 2013 followed by sailing and training in The Solent and the English Channel.

Caterham Challenge at start of TJV 2013, onboard are Mike Gascoyne and Brian Thompson

The racing calendar for ‘Caterham Challenge’ includes the Transat Jacques Vabre 2013, the Grenada sailing week and the Caribbean 600 in early 2014, together with the Global Ocean Race, leaving from the Southampton Boatshow in September 2014 around the world. [10][11]

Caterham Challenge started at the Transat Jacques Vabre on the 7th of November 2013 with Gascoyne as skipper and Brian Thompson as co-skipper, leaving Le Havre, France for Itajai, Brazil.

Caterham Challenge and crew

[12]

Caterham Le Mans[edit]

At the same time Caterham announced its Le Mans programme, MGI announced its sponsorship and support for the group's first Le Mans entry.[13]


Other activities[edit]

Gascoyne driving the Lotus Gold Leaf 49B at Snetterton
Gascoyne during one of 2 Himalaya expeditions

During his time at the Churchill College in Cambridge Gascoyne led 2 climbing expeditions in the Himalaya (1986-1987, climbing both the Bandarpunch and Sudarshan Parbat) followed by a new-found interest in paragliding (1989–1992). Gascoyne raced Formula 1 cars for 4 races in the BOSS GP series in 1999; the Tyrrell 022 and Tyrrell 025, both of which he designed himself during his time at Tyrrell, finishing 3rd at Brands Hatch. Following his love for competitive extreme sport Gascoyne fulfilled another lifelong dream by sailing solo non-stop 3200 miles across the Atlantic in 2012. He crossed the Atlantic on a Class 40 racing yacht leaving Cascais (Portugal) on 28 November 2012 and arriving in Grenada (Caribbean) on 14 December 2012.

Gascoyne writes columns for several magazines. Gascoyne commentated for BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra on the 2009 Malaysian Grand Prix and temporarily replaced Eddie Jordan on the BBC One coverage of the 2009 Chinese Grand Prix. In 2011, Gascoyne became president of the Cambridge Granta Cricket Club,[citation needed] being a passionate cricket fan and player himself.

References[edit]

External links[edit]