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Jaguar Racing to move to Silverstone?

WE hear that Jaguar Racing has now given up on its troubled plans to build a motorsport campus near Northampton, because the local authorities have refused planning permission, and that the team is now looking at two alternative sites further afield. One of them is almost certainly at Silverstone where there have long been plans for a new "Technology╩Park". To date this has not been built because the British Racing Drivers' Club has been worrying more about holding on to the British╩Grand Prix and saving money so that it can make changes demanded in order to secure the F1 race. Quiet negotiations are continuing but it has become increasingly clear in recent months that the new owners of Brands Hatch are realizing that although they have a contract for the race in 2002, there is no way that they are going to get through all the necessary legal battles and construction work in time - if ever.

The BRDC is aware of the problems at Brands Hatch and so is not keen to move on other programs until it knows for certain what is happening. However, if the Ford Motor Company were to offer to develop a technology park at Silverstone it might be an option that is acceptable to the club. Jaguar Racing needs to move fast because it is well aware that it will be two years before it will have an operational windtunnel of the necessary quality to make the team a competitive force in F1. Cosworth╩Racing also needs to relocate but this is less urgent than the windtunnel. And while the long-term plan is for Jaguar Racing to settle alongside its sister companies, it may be some time yet before that happens.

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