Motor racing-McLaren aero man heading for Caterham

SAO PAULO Sat Nov 26, 2011 10:17pm GMT

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SAO PAULO Nov 26 (Reuters) - Caterham have recruited McLaren aerodynamics head John Iley in another technical coup for the Malaysian-backed Formula One outfit who raced this season as Team Lotus.

While Team Lotus/Caterham have yet to announce the appointment, McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh told Reuters at the Brazilian Grand Prix that Iley had handed in his notice.

However, he said the former Ferrari chief aerodynamicist was not on 'gardening leave' and might have to stay for some months yet.

"I've just had a request from (Caterham owner) Tony (Fernandes) - could he have him early? -- and I haven't agreed yet," he said.

"John is a good guy and we have got a number of things that we could have him do but we will decide that in the course of the next week.

"Tony would like him earlier and we might come to an accommodation on that."

Iley joined McLaren from Ferrari in early 2010 but Whitmarsh said his role had been managerial and not that of chief aerodynamicist.

"In fact I think he's going there (to Caterham) in a broader role than just aerodynamics," added the Briton. "Tony is bringing together Caterham cars and I think he will be performance director of Caterham cars."

Team Lotus, who have yet to score a point in Formula One, announced earlier this month that they had signed Renault sporting director Steve Nielsen in the same role. (Editing by Dave Thompson; For Reuters sports blog Left Field go to: blogs.reuters.com/sport)

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