OCTOBER 4, 1999
Changes at BAR
THERE has been a lot of fuss in recent days about the appointment of Ian Ross as chief operating officer at BritishÊAmericanÊRacing. This is not news as Ross was picked for the job at the start of August. In June British AmericanÊTobacco decided to strengthen its hand inside the team and Craig Pollock was made president, leaving the running of the operation to four vice-presidents. The most important of these was BAT's Tom Moser but he was only available on secondment to the team for a couple of months and during that period recruited a number of tobacco men to take over the role he was playing. One of these was Ross who had worked at BAT before he was appointed managing director of Coca-Cola Inchcape Bottling, Russia. Ross had previously been involved in the Barclay F1 sponsorship program with Jordan Grand Prix in 1992. Moser's other recruit is Les Olsen who is taking over the role of marketing director at BAR.
Speculation linking the recruitment of Ross with the demise of Pollock should thus be treated with caution, although Pollock's role may be under scrutiny again when the board of directors of BAR's holding company meets later this week. The uneasy alliance between Pollock, Reynard and BAT could result in Pollock being ousted. The BAT men may need a scapegoat to ease pressure on the F1 team. The problem with such a move is that Jacques Villeneuve has made it clear that he is not going to stay with the team for long if Pollock - his manager - departs and BAT could be shooting itself in the foot if it loses Villeneuve.