May 10, 2014, 6:30 AM EDT
Caterham has confirmed that technical director Mark Smith has left the team with immediate effect, and has been replaced by a new three person ‘technical committee’ that will manage the backmarker squad.
The triumvirate will comprise of John Iley (Head of Performance Engineering), Jody Egginton (Head of Design and Manufacturing) and Gerry Hughes (Head of Track Operations). They have been tasked with improving Caterham’s fortunes as the team continues to fight with Marussia at the back of the field.
They will work under the guidance of team CEO Cyril Abiteboul, who thanked Smith for his work at Leafield.
“I would like to thank Mark for his time and dedication to the development of our team since he first joined in 2011,” Abiteboul said in a statement. “We and Mark part company on good terms and with our best wishes for the future.
“It was obviously a tough decision to see someone of Mark’s calibre go, but we have identified the need to restructure as a key aspect of increasing our on-track performance and forming a new Technical Committee composed of John, Jody and Gerry will allow us to do exactly that.”
The senior management at the team is known to be disgruntled with the lack of success on track, and team owner Tony Fernandes has threatened to walk away from the sport unless Caterham’s fortunes change.
“We are not happy with our current performance levels,” Abiteboul said. “John, Jody and Gerry, with my full support and that of our shareholders, staff and partners, are the right people to help take us forward.”
Drivers Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson will be hoping to outqualify the Marussias during qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix later today.