Toyota have announced this lunchtime that their Technical Director Mike Gascoyne has quit the team with immediate effect, following clashing views on the future direction of the team's technical operations. Due to this disagreement, both parties have decided to sever the links, instead of continuing their relationship.
“Toyota Motorsport and its Technical Director Chassis, Mike Gascoyne ... [will] terminate their working relationship with immediate effect. Gascoyne will remain a fully contracted employee of Toyota Motorsport until the end of October 2006,” read a press release from the team.
Gascoyne, who never moved to Germany, where Toyota have their base in Cologne, but instead decided to commute daily from his home in England, by private jet. This latest news will enable him to spend more time at home with his family, assuming he will not be taken into another job by another team.
The Norwich man is regarded as one of the best engineers in the paddock, and was one of the highest earners, with a reported salary of $8m from Toyota. He begun his Motorsport career in 1989 with McLaren. After several moves from team to team, Gascoyne became Technical Director of Jordan in 1998, with the team enjoying their best season in their history in 1999 with Gascoyne's car, winning two races, and finishing third in the constructors' championship. Early in 2001, he moved to Benetton, and after a short spell of a handful of success, he moved to Toyota at the end of 2003.
“Obviously, it is the end of an era but nobody can dispute that Toyota has made a big step forward over the last two seasons,” said Gascoyne, reflecting on his few years of good work at the squad. “We have now reached a crossroads in our working relationship and I believe that it is the right time for us to part ways amicably and for me to move back to the UK where I can also enjoy spending more time with my family. I extend my thanks to all members of the team and wish them a successful future in Formula 1.”
“Although we have reached a joint decision to go our separate ways, I wish to extend my sincerest gratitude to Mike for the indisputable contribution he has made to our team over the last few years,” said Toyota Motorsport's Chairman, Tsutomu Tomita. “This separation should in no way undermine the work he has done, nor reflect his technical expertise. We all wish him well for the future.”
Toyota have not yet named his predecessor, although the team's Design Chief, Pascal Vasselon, is thought to be a likely candidate.