Newey poised to sign for Jaguar

THE Jaguar F1 team is set to rock the Grand Prix business by signing McLaren-Mercedes technical director Adrian Newey as from August 2002 when his current contract with the Woking-based team retires.

An official announcement could be made by the end of a bruising week for McLaren which saw David Coulthard's car stall on pole position at Monaco with a launch control failure.

Yesterday, Jaguar Racing chief executive officer Bobby Rahal would not comment on these rumors. But it is believed that Newey will be paid around 12 million pounds across a three year deal which is some 40 per cent more then he is currently earning.

A McLaren spokesperson said; "Adrian Newey has got more than a year to run on his contract with McLaren. We are currently in negotiation with Adrian in good faith and based upon what he has told us we don't believe he has signed for Jaguar Racing."

McLaren managing director Martin Whitmarsh yesterday took a more robust and specific view. "I can confirm that Adrian has not resigned from the company," he said. "From the discussions we have had with him the indications are that he might be staying beyond his current contract."

The deal with Newey rounds off a remarkable week for the Jaguar team which is still enjoying the memory of Eddie Irvine's strong third place in Sunday's Monaco grand prix behind the Ferraris of Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello.

In the long-term, it will be a massive boost for the team, raising both its profile and its competitive edge. Newey's presence will also attract the interest of higher calibre drivers and other well qualified engineers.

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