HRT has confirmed the departures of two key staff members from its technical team – as we had predicted last week – with technical director Jacky Eeckelaert and head of production Simon Shinkins both leaving the Spanish outfit.
Eeckelaert (pictured, below right), who previously served similar roles at Sauber and Honda, will return to work with former HRT Team Principal Colin Kolles at his Kodewa group, which is developing a Lola-Lotus LMP2 car to run in this year’s World Endurance Championship.
Eeckelaert’s role will be taken over by a fellow-Belgian, designer Jean-Claude Martens. Martens joins the team after almost ten years working for Holzer Engineering, where he has designed a host of different racing cars, including those used in DTM and GT racing.
He has previous F1 experience, starting out in the Leyton House team in 1990, before moving on to Team Lotus under chief designer Chris Murphy, where he remained until the team closed its doors at the end of the 1994 season.
After a two-year stint as chief designer with Nissan Motorsport Europe, he was hired by Toyota to assist with its F1 project in 1997; he left the team during its debut 2002 season.
The team also took the opportunity in its media release to show off its new logo (pictured above).