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New recruits bolster Force India technical line-up 04 Dec 2007

Franck Montagny (FRA) tests for Force India. Formula One Testing, Day One, Jerez, Spain, 04 December 2007. World © Patching/Sutton

The Force India Formula One team have announced a major restructure of their technical operations at their Silverstone base in the UK. The key changes are the recruitment of Mark Smith and Ian Hall, who join from the Red Bull and Toyota teams respectively.

Smith will join as design director to work under the direction of chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne and alongside technical director James Key. Smith will take responsibility for the day to day running of the drawing office and all race car design, while Key will focus on research and development, vehicle science and development projects for the 2009 and subsequent seasons' cars.

“It's great to be joining a team where I have so many memories from the past,” said Smith, who worked with Gascoyne during previous spells at Jordan and Renault. “A lot has changed at Force India since then but I look forward to the challenge and many opportunities ahead.”

Hall, meanwhile, will be joining Force India from 1 January 2008. Hall will assume the role of project leader for the 2009 car, working closely with Key on 2009 development. Hall was formerly head of transmissions with Jordan, working under Smith before moving to Toyota.

Responsibility for the team’s 2008 car will now fall to Akio Haga, who is promoted to project leader from his current position of head of mechanical design. Both project leaders will report to design director Smith.

Mike Gascoyne commented: “It's great to have Mark and Ian back with the team, especially as both were instrumental in the successful Jordan era of 1999. I have worked with both since then, with Mark at Renault and Ian at Toyota, and I am sure that they will fit very well into the new structure. With James and Mark I think we have a strong top management structure and I look forward to challenging the teams above us on the grid.

“The reorganisation comes at the same time the wind tunnel at Brackley has finished its commissioning process and is due to switch to 24 hour running. With these advantages we now have a great chance to expand our operations and I am confident we can move up the field very quickly next year.”

James Key added: “It's very positive to have Mark and Ian back with us as I have good memories of working with them from the Jordan days. I think we can work well together to rapidly improve the performance of the car and can't wait to see this success played out on the track. I'm looking forward to getting started on development of the 2009 car.”