It had been rumoured for some time, but the move of Mike Gascoyne to Toyota has now been comfirmed by Toyota. A mutual agreement was reached between Toyota, Gascoyne and the Mild Seven Renault F1 team, which permits the Englishman to join Panasonic Toyota Racing from 1 December 2003.Gascoyne's role as Technical Director Chassis of Panasonic Toyota Racing is complementary to existing functions within the team.
Chairman of Toyota Motorsport GmbH, Tsutomu Tomita commented: "We are always looking at ways to reinforce and strengthen our technical department, so it is with great pleasure that we can welcome Mike Gascoyne to the Panasonic Toyota Racing team. Mike brings almost fifteen years of F1 experience with him, and he will play an instrumental role in further developing our team for future success."
Vice-President of Toyota Motorsport GmbH, Toshiro Kurusu added: "We have decided to introduce a technical director for both chassis and engine departments in order to improve the efficiency of our team. Mike Gascoyne will be in charge of the technical aspects of the chassis at the factory in Cologne and also at races and tests. Luca Marmorini will assume the position of Technical Director Engine. I am sure that Mike will work very well together with our chief designer Gustav Brunner as a team. Under the revised structure, Keizo Takahashi will become Chief Co-ordinating Engineer, acting as the technical liaison between Toyota Motorsport in Cologne and our colleagues at Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan. The position of Norbert Kreyer as General Manager of Race and Test Engineering will remain unchanged and, like Gustav, he will report directly to Mike."
Mike Gascoyne began his F1 career back in 1989 as an aerodynamicist with McLaren, where he stayed for three years. A brief spell as Chassis Dynamicist at Tyrell led to a three-year role as Head of Aerodynamics at Sauber before he rejoined Tyrell as Deputy Technical Director in 1993. In 1998, he took up the role of Chief Designer at Jordan, and was subsequently promoted to Technical Director. He left in late 2000 to become Technical Director at Benetton (now Renault) and joins Panasonic Toyota Racing from December 2003 to begin a new chapter in his career.
Mike Gascoyne said: "I am very pleased to be joining Panasonic Toyota Racing as Technical Director Chassis, however I am naturally sad to be leaving the Mild Seven Renault F1 Team after three highly enjoyable and successful seasons. Likewise, I am looking forward to my exciting new role at Toyota with great enthusiasm and, together, we will relish the long-term challenge of developing Toyota into a world championship-winning team."