Nicknamed "The Bulldog" for his aggressive management style, Mike Gascoyne brought an impressive CV to Lotus in its debut year. But despite his reputation as a heavy hitter in F1, he has never been responsible for a championship-winning car.
After studying for fluid dynamics at Cambridge, but failing to complete his PhD thesis, Gascoyne worked for McLaren as an aerodynamicist before moving to Tyrell, with a brief spell at Sauber. In June 1998 he joined Jordan as technical director, and the team's 1999 car was the most successful in Jordan's history, with a third place in the constructors' championship, a success that cemented his growing reputation.
After spells at Benetton and Renault he made a high-profile move to Toyota in December 2003, and under his direction Toyota enjoyed its most successful season in 2005, with its first podium finish they accumulated 88 points compared with the previous year's nine. However, the following season heightened expectations were not met and in April 2006 Toyota and Gascoyne parted company.
During a brief spell at Spyker and subsequently Force India, Gascoyne announced his long-term intentions to retire from F1 in 2009 and sail around the world. Yet the man whose guiding principle is "any idiot can design a racing car, the trick is to design a quick one" returned to his home county to the Lotus headquarters in Norfolk in 2010.
With the team's difficult first season out of the way, Gascoyne is expected to deliver a point scoring car in 2011 based around Renault's engine and Red Bull's gearbox.