Gascoyne receives Benetton welcome

Benetton technical director Pat Symonds has welcomed new signing Mike Gascoyne from Jordan.

Gascoyne receives Benetton welcome

Gascoyne is due to become the team's technical director - and the latest designer to enter F1's million-pound-a-year club - when his contract ends at Jordan in the middle of next season.

There had been reports that Symonds' pivotal role at the team would be under threat.

But Symonds told Autosport.com's Byron Young: "Finding someone to fill that position is something I have been working on for a long, long time.

"People of Mike's calibre don't become available every day. I'm delighted he is coming to the team. He adds considerably to our design strength and will be able to bring things together for us.

"I'm not going anywhere. I am part of the furniture and I love it here, but I realised what I was doing was not my greatest strength.

"Getting Mike in here frees me up to work on other things. Formula 1 teams are so big these days you can't do everything.

"I like to think I'm pretty good on the racing side, the engineering and the R&D. This will allow me to concentrate on racing and other areas.

"There are great things ahead for Renault. We are entering a strong period, but it will only happen if we make it happen - if we knuckle down and concentrate. We were spreading ourselves a bit thin."

There had been speculation Gascoyne could join Benetton at the end of this season because Jordan may not want him involved in the sensitive planning of next year's race machine.

But team boss Eddie Jordan has insisted his technical director will stay on board until his contract has run its term.

"I'd love to think it could happen earlier," said Symonds. "But there are lot of different sides to this."

The crucial element is thought to be Jordan being able to find a replacement of a suitable calibre. If they find one, Jordan could release him sooner or allow Benetton to buy out his contract.

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