Gillitzer gets the bullet

FORD's Director of European Motorsport Peter Gillitzer has been dumped in a reshuffle which puts Martin Whitaker in charge of the company's motorsport programs, notably in F1, World Rallying, British Touring Cars and Formula Ford.

Whitaker is 37 and began his motorsports career as a journalist with British magazine Motoring News before being appointed press officer of Britain's Royal Automobile Club Motor Sports Association. He then worked for the FIA in Paris, Bernie Ecclestone's FOCA and McLaren before returning to the FIA to work with Max Mosley. He quit the governing body at the start of 1995 to become Gillitzer's head of motorsport communications.

Gillitzer has had a difficult two years. He was thrown into F1 as Ford's top team Benetton was defecting to Renault. He tried to do a deal with Jordan but Ford top brass in Detroit delayed the deal too long and Jordan went for Peugeot instead, leaving Ford with only Sauber available. Gillitzer got the blame for that and then found that Detroit had gone over his head negotiating the long-term deal with Jackie Stewart for 1997-2001. Whitaker will be hoping that he gets an easier ride.

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