Giorgio Ascanelli, the much-acclaimed technical director for Scuderia Toro Rosso, is apparently “on holidays” – typically a coded term for “has obtained employment elsewhere”.
The Italian, who was formerly Ayrton Senna’s much-acclaimed race engineer in his McLaren days, joined Toro Rosso in 2007 and was heralded as an instrumental figure in the team’s sole victory during the following year’s Italian Grand Prix, which was won by Sebastian Vettel.
STR team principal Franz Tost confirmed that the burly engineer is “on holiday”, which triggered immediate whisperings that he had split with the team following its poor showing this season.
Tost would not elaborate further when pressed on Ascanelli’s absence this weekend, and indicated that the team and engineer had agreed to certain confidentiality agreements, rendering his departure from the team a near certainty.
The team sits a lowly ninth in the Constructors’ Championship standings, with its last points’ finish occurring during the second championship round, the Malaysian Grand Prix.
It is believed that matters came to a head after another point-less showing last time out at Silverstone.
Our sources tell us that Ascanelli is likely to pop at Ferrari next year. Watch this space…