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Paul Stewart stands down

PAUL STEWART, the chief operating officer of Jaguar Racing, has stood down from the role with the team in order to be treated for cancer of the colon. Stewart will spend the next few months at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, where he will undergo a course of a chemotherapy. The Stewart Family says it is confident that 34-year-old Paul will be able to overcome the illness which was diagnosed after examinations for a recurring intestinal problem.

We understand that the cancer is localized in nature and has been found early enough to make a full recovery possible.

The loss of Paul Stewart comes at a time when Jaguar's parent company Ford is looking to revise the management structure of Jaguar Racing. In recent months there has been no chief executive following Jackie Stewart's resignation in January. That job (and the role as chairman) has been filled by Ford's Neil Ressler, although he has other jobs within the Ford MotorĘCompany. This has meant that the running of the team has been done by the heads of individual divisions: Rob Armstrong (commercial and marketing director), Andy Miller (race and operations director) and Gary Anderson (technical director).

Our sources within Ford suggest that the company knows who it wants to be in charge of Jaguar Racing but that the person in question - who is believed to be Ferrari's Ross Brawn - is not available. Ford was hoping not to have to put someone else in to manage the team but the first races of the year have shown that the operation does need leadership on a day-to-day basis and, with Ressler unable to fulfil that role, someone else may be needed.

Bringing in an outsider will serve little purpose and there are not many F1 managers on the market with the necessary skills and experience to act as a safe pair of hands for the next nine months. There are one or two people who are available: but it remains to be seen whether they would accept a short-term position without long-term guarantees. One is Max Welti, formerly in charge of Porsche Motorsport and later the Sauber F1 team. The problem is that the Jaguar job has great potential for failure and little for short-term success and it may be difficult to convince anyone it is a good idea. However, one possible move for Ford would be to offer control of its planned sportscar team to whoever it recruits to run the F1 operation in the shortĘterm.

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