Mike Gascoyne

Mike Gascoyne
Gascoyne at the 2010 Canadian Grand Prix.

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 Team Lotus.

Gascoyne has worked for several grand prix teams including McLaren, Sauber and Tyrrell. Most recently Gascoyne worked as technical director at Jordan and Renault, and joined the Toyota F1 team in December 2003. A salary reputed to be as high as $8 million per year (source F1 Racing magazine, February 2005)[citation needed] made Gascoyne the highest paid engineer in Formula One, eclipsing far more successful Technical Directors such as Adrian Newey and Ross Brawn.

Gascoyne's highly confrontational and aggressive management style has earned him the nickname "the rottweiler".[1]

Mike currently lives in Oxfordshire with his post-divorce partner Silvi and his children Joel, Connie and Freddie Gascoyne.


Early career

Mike Gascoyne was born in Norfolk, England. He was brought up in Catton on the outskirts of Norwich and went to Wymondham College before going to study for a Ph.D. in fluid dynamics at Cambridge University (Churchill College) in 1982, although he did not complete his thesis and so did not become Dr. Gascoyne.[2] 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

Early roles

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 re-named British American Racing was to employ Malcolm Oastler as Technical Director.[citation needed]

Jordan Grand Prix

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. Despite the 2000 season failing to deliver the same level of competitiveness, Gascoyne’s reputation as a capable Technical Director was secure.

Benetton/Renault F1

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.


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, he was unable to have full influence over many early decisions and the season proved to be a disappointment. In 2005 Toyota F1 had a budget allegedly similar to Ferrari's and resources only a giant, multinational car manufacturer can provide. It was Toyota's most successful season since they entered F1 and Gascoyne's aim for 2006 was high. The team's first victory and the championship were the next two steps. The early stages of the 2006 season proved to be a disappointment. Many observers had predicted race wins and possibly even a title challenge, but instead the team struggled with the new V8 engine and its effect on the car's aerodynamics

On 5 April 2006 Toyota announced that Gascoyne had been suspended from the Toyota F1 Team. Although he made no immediate comment regarding the apparent sacking, 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

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] Gascoyne's most memorable moment at Spyker was during the 2007 European Grand Prix. While rain was in the air, Gascoyne told Markus Winkelhock to come in during the formation lap to switch to intermediate tires. Moments later rain began pouring down and while all other drivers struggled to keep their car on the track, Winkelhock took the lead in his very first laps as a Formula One racedriver, a few laps before the race was aborted. Neither Spyker nor Winkelhock had ever led a Formula One Grand Prix previously. However, Winkelhock could not keep the lead after the restart and had to retire later in the race..

In 2008, Spyker became the Force India team after its sale to Vijay Mallya. Gascoyne continued as Chief Technology Officer. After the 2008 Monaco Grand Prix, Gascoyne lodged a protest against Kimi Räikkönen after Räikkönen had lost control of his car and crashed into the suspension of Force India's Adrian Sutil, forcing Sutil to retire with 7 laps left of the team's first potential point-scoring position (4th). Räikkönen, who replaced a broken front wing and finished 9th, was unpunished beyond losing a potential 5th place in the race.

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 Racing/Team Lotus (2009 - present)

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. He is the Chief Technical Officer for the team, which gained entry for the 2010 season in September 2009. Gascoyne announced on October 2009 that he hoped the team could rival Brawn GP's debut as they won the Constructors' Championship in their debut season, however he said the main objective was to get a car to Bahrain for 2010.[5] On September 29th 2010 it was announced that Gascoyne had signed an extension to his contract, tying him to Lotus through 2015.

Other activities

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]

The MGI Group

The MGI Group is a company founded in Oxford in 2001 by Mike Gascoyne. Today, Mike Gascoyne is its chairman, bringing MGI Consultancy, MGI Yachting services and MGI Taverns under one roof.


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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