Interview - Gascoyne on Toyota 01 Dec 2003
Mike Gascoyne officially takes up his new position with Toyota today (Monday) as Technical Director Chassis. In his first interview since joining the Japanese team from Renault, Gascoyne spoke to Toyota's press department about his new job.
Q: Mike, what were the reasons behind your decision to join Toyota?
Mike Gascoyne: I think Toyota's dedication to winning in Formula One is very clear. Ultimately, the goal is to win the world championship and Toyota is very committed to that, so above all this is why I decided to join the team.
Q: What will your role as Technical Director Chassis entail?
MG: Basically, my role as Technical Director Chassis will cover all technical aspects of the design and the operation of the Toyota F1 chassis at the factory in Cologne and also at races and tests. Luca Marmorini is Technical Director Engine and is in charge of the engine side of things.
Q: How do you feel about working with Gustav Brunner?
MG: I know Gustav Brunner for many years and we always got on very well together. We both understand our respective roles as Technical Director Chassis and Chief Designer, which are very complementary, so I anticipate having absolutely no problems.
Q: What were your impressions of the team's 2003 season?
MG: I think Toyota showed flashes of very good performance in 2003, which they unfortunately failed to capitalise on. Obviously, we need to increase our competitiveness in all areas, but there is definitely a sound basis upon which we can build further.
Q: How much influence will you have on the TF104 car?
MG: Hopefully the TF104 will be competitive from an early stage so I won't need to have too much influence on it, but the important thing is to set Toyota up as a team that is going to win the world championship in the future. We are not to going to necessarily achieve that by focussing on the 2004 car, but I think we will be looking more long-term.
Q: Are you moving to Cologne?
MG: At the moment my family is staying in the UK because we do not want to disrupt the kids schooling, but long-term we will be moving to Cologne, yes.
Q: To what extent is being based in Germany help or hindrance to Toyota, given that many F1 teams are based in the so-called "Silicon Valley" in the UK?
MG: Ultimately with modern communications, I don't think that it makes a big difference whether a Formula One team is based in the UK, Germany or anywhere else, but short-term it can be a problem because there are people that simply would not want to relocate. Generally, though, I don't think it is a problem at all.
Q: How much time will you need to adjust to the team and settle in?
MG: I think when you change teams, as I have done in the past, everything is familiar but at the same time everything is slightly different. I don't think adjusting to the team will take me very long at all. Maybe it will take a bit more time for the team to adjust to me, but overall I certainly don't envisage it being a problem.
Q: What do you think of the drivers Olivier Panis, Christiano da Matta and test driver Ricardo Zonta?
MG: I think Toyota has an excellent driver line-up. Olivier has a tremendous amount of experience in Formula One and has always been very, very quick. Cristiano had a very good first season and has a proven racing history in America. In 2003, on circuits he had never driven before, he showed some very impressive performances. With testing regulations and the possibility to run a third car on Fridays during race weekends, I think Ricardo is absolutely the perfect person. You need an experienced test driver who knows the circuits and he has driven in Formula One before, so he'll be ideal. He has a very good reputation and I rate him highly.
Q: It is maybe a bit early, but what would your initial expectations for the 2004 season be?
MG: We have to build on what the team achieved in 2003, but we will not really know where we stand until the TF104 starts running in January, however we have to set our sights on regular points in 2004 to maintain the upward momentum of the team.