Jun.2 (GMM) Force India’s newly-appointed technical director is switching teams to Lotus, it was announced on Wednesday.
Lotus, F1’s new Malaysian-backed team, said in a statement that Mark Smith will become technical director “at the end of his Force India notice period”.
The news is an embarrassment to Silverstone based Force India, who promoted Smith to the role of technical director in late February as the Sauber-bound James Key’s replacement.
The teams are set to battle one another in the courts, with Force India accusing Mike Gascoyne and Lotus of basing the T127 on a model left behind in an Italian wind tunnel.
Smith has previously worked with Renault and Red Bull.
He joins Force India colleagues Lewis Butler (chief designer) and Marianne Hinson (head of aerodynamics) in also defecting to Lotus.
Lotus’ technical boss Gascoyne has previously worked with Smith at Jordan, Renault and Force India.
“Lewis and I were together at Force India, and Lewis also worked with Mark Smith at Red Bull, and Marianne and I have known each other since 1999 when I gave her her first job in F1 at Jordan, so we all know each other very well,” said Gascoyne.