Force India’s design and technical director Mark Smith is set to leave the team and join Lotus.
According Lotus, Smith will join them as technical director and report to chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne. The pair previously worked together at Jordan, Renault and Force India.
The news is a blow to Force India who lost their former technical director James Key to Sauber at the beginning of the season.
It comes on the same day Force India confirmed its legal action against Lotus and Aerolab over an alleged infringement of intellectual property rights.
A statement from Lotus said:
Reporting to Chief Technical Officer Mike Gascoyne, Mark will start at the end of his Force India notice period, and joins Lewis Butler (Chief Designer) and Marianne Hinson (Head of Aerodynamics), also from Force India, at the Anglo-Asian squad. These appointments, alongside Keith Saunt (Chief Operating Officer), Dieter Gass (Deputy Technical Director), Elliot Dason-Barber (Head of Vehicle Dynamics), Frank Ramowsky (Head of R&D), Rob Reeve (Head of Electronics) and Jody Egginton (Chief Engineer), complete the technical senior management structure.
Team principal Tony Fernandes said:
I am honoured that these fantastic talents have put their careers and their faith in Lotus Racing, and see the very bright future we all have together here. Formula One is a small world and the fact that they are coming to our team shows what we have already achieved in a very short period. Nothing will stop us from bringing in the best people we can, and we will give them the best working environment, and create the perfect atmosphere for them to fulfil their own potential, and help us in our quest to reach the top.