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The future of Adrian Newey

WILLIAMS chief designer Adrian Newey remains on fully-paid leave from the team - as he has been since he decided not to turn up for work at Grove on Friday, November 8 last year.

A preliminary hearing concluded that Newey cannot design F1 cars for anyone else until a court decides whether or not his contract with Williams - until the end of 1999 is valid or not.

According to Williams technical director Patrick Head, the dispute is now heading for "a court situation" although Head says that the problem "may still be solved by negotiation with McLaren".

Head said that he felt Newey had been "induced to jump ship" and rumors doing the rounds in F1 circles suggest that McLaren offered Adrian three times his Williams salary and Adrian simply could not refuse the chance to earn $3m a year - and be totally in charge of McLaren's technical team.

McLaren boss Ron Dennis continues to insist that it is McLaren's policy to respect existing contracts and that the team is only "in the queue" to hire Newey.

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