It was long time McLaren race engineer Mark Slade who “joined the club” in recent days, as the former employee from Woking looks to continue his career in Formula One with rivals Renault. Slade has been a race engineer for Finnish driver Heikki Kovalainen for the past 2 seasons of F1, but his relationship with McLaren goes way back into the mid-1990s.
During the one decade and a half he was on McLaren's paycheck, Slade used to work with several Finnish drivers that competed for the British team, including double world champion Mika Hakkinen and champion-to-be Kimi Raikkonen.
However, after the Woking based team signed Jenson Button for the new season, McLaren's managing director Jonathan Neale confirmed that a reshuffle in his engineering team was needed prior to the 2010 campaign. Unfortunately for Slade, his services were no longer needed at McLaren.
“McLaren did not want me at the races any more and so I have moved to Renault,” he was quoted as saying by Finland's Turun Sanomat, whose reporters revealed that Slade already started work at the Enstone based team as new race engineer for Russian driver Vitaly Petrov.
Renault F1 have themselves went through a major reorganizing process lately, as the French manufacturer will begin the 2010 season of Formula One with 2 brand new drivers (Robert Kubica/Vitaly Petrov), new car (Renault R30), new livery (classic Renault yellow/black colors), new team manager (Eric Boullier), new owners (Genii Capital) and now, a new race engineer.