Team Lotus have announced that their new technical director Mark Smith has started work at their Hingham factory today.
Smith, who was recruited from Force India last season, as been on enforced ‘gardening leave’ as he waited for the contract with his old team to expire. He will work alongside Chief Technical Officer Mike Gascoyne in developing the current T128, and in working on the 2012 car.
“I am very excited about the challenge that lies ahead with Team Lotus,” said Smith. “This is the first time I have been in the factory and I am very impressed with what I have seen across all the departments.
“Throughout my career I have had some interesting spells with a number of F1 teams including Jordan, Renault, Red Bull Racing and Force India and I have enjoyed the experience of winning races wherever I have been. However, I have never been involved in a Championship win with any of those teams and I see that as one of my key goals with Team Lotus.
“I was genuinely impressed at how this team reached the 2010 grid with a good functional car and a professional looking operation in such a short time. That was a huge achievement and they have built upon that in 2011, so the foundations are there for long-term success and I am looking forward to helping the team achieve its goals for many seasons to come.”
Team Principal Tony Fernandes welcomed Smith to the team: “Team Lotus is a long-term project and since we first started in September 2009 we have been focusing on laying the foundations for sustained success,” he commented. “Mike's long-term deal with us is an integral part of that plan and we continue to make the right investments to give him the tools to take us to the front of the grid, and Mark Smith is another good example of that strategy.
“Mark joins a group of extremely talented, passionate and hard working people at Team Lotus who have already enjoyed a number of significant achievements in a short period of time, and his input will immediately help us take our challenge to the next level this year, in 2012 and beyond.”