F1: Sauber Technical Director Mark Smith quits

F1: Sauber Technical Director Mark Smith quits

It’s a shocking story, Sauber technical director Mark Smith has left the Formula 1 team just days ahead of the start of a new season.

Ahead of this month’s Australian Grand Prix, Sauber has announced that technical director Mark Smith has left the Swiss company. The Swiss racing team said in a brief statement on Monday that Smith had decided to go back to his home in UK for family reasons.

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“He has already left the company,” read the statement. “We would like to thank Mark for his efforts and we wish him all the best for his future, ” the Sauber F1 racing team said in a statement, via The Guardian.

The 55-year-old Smith returned to F1 racing for the first time since the Caterham team folded in 2014.

Smith joined Sauber in July last year, having previously been chief designer at Jordan Grand Prix (1998-2001), Renault Formula 1 Team (2001-2004), and technical director at Red Bull Racing (2005-2008), Force India (2010-2011), Lotus (2011) and Caterham (2011-2014).

The reason for Smith’s exit is sure to be one of the talking points in the racing world. In recent weeks, the team has admitted that some of its staff had been late in receiving their salary for the month of February. The team blamed the issue on the late arrival of money from sponsorship.

Last year, Sauber has found itself in the court, fighting a contract dispute with Dutch reserve driver Giedo van der Garde. The Dutch driver has taken legal action against Sauber claiming that he had contracted to drive for the Swiss outfit.

The former Force India and Red Bull technical director have joined Sauber last year, saying at the time: “The potential of Sauber is enormous, which is not self-evident in a constantly changing Formula 1 world,” Smith said, via the DailyMail.

Months later, Smith has walked out on the eve of the new F1 season, leaving the Swiss squad alone in the track. Sauber F1 team did not provide any information about Smith’s replacement.

Picture Courtesy: Roberto Garcia/Wikimedia Commons