I was never particularly interested in motorsport as a student; I was interested in aerodynamics and engineering. It was in early 1989 when I was writing my PhD and I was looking for employment that I saw an advertisement in an old copy of Flight magazine for an aerodynamicist at McLaren. I bought my first copy of Autosport on the morning of the interview because I thought I ought to learn something about the industry!
I had an interview and the job was offered by a guy called Bob Bell who is still a very fond friend of mine. Bob became my Deputy Technical Director at Jordan and he was underneath me in the early 2000s at Renault. He took over from me when I left Renault and took them onto win two World Championships.
I didn’t particularly follow motor racing prior to that. I did have a background interest in Formula One and followed James Hunt, Nigel Mansell and other British drivers. In 1981 and 1982, I watched Grands Prix at Silverstone and Brands Hatch and that was the only time I watched Formula One prior to working in the sport
I didn’t have any ambitions to participate in motorsport but I have been lucky enough to compete and to drive Formula One cars that I designed which is very unique. I first drove a Formula Ford 2000 at Goodwood. In 1999 I was lucky enough to race in the BOSS GP Series where I drove a Tyrrell 022 and Tyrrell 025, both of which I designed myself. I qualified third and finished third in my first race at Brands Hatch. Being on the podium is a pretty unique experience for a Chief Designer of a Formula One car. Being out on a track in a competitive driving environment is tremendously enjoyable.
I love competitive sports, engineering and aerodynamics and on a daily basis I have been able to do all three. I’ve spent 20 years regularly in wind tunnels, I enjoy the competitive aspect at the track and I’m paid well to do it!
My advice to anyone looking to survive and thrive in a career in Formula 1? Be a rogue and be a clever one. There are lots of rogues who aren’t that clever!
Mike Gascoyne International Limited
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Memory added on February 28, 2013
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