JUNE 10, 2001
Newey hopes to hold onto Rahal friendship
TECHNICAL DIRECTOR Adrian Newey, says he hopes that his friendship with Jaguar boss Bobby Rahal could still survive.
Newey has been involved in a tug-of-war between McLaren, his current employers, and Jaguar but has now admitted that changing teams was not for him despite revealing that at one stage he had agreed to Jaguar.
"One of the reasons I made this decision was because I was enthused about the idea of working with Bobby again. Maybe that persuaded me to go down a road that I might not have gone down in different circumstances," he told British newspaper News of the World.
The clash between the two teams erupted last week when Jaguar announced a major coup and said Newey had signed a binding contract.
Within hours, however, McLaren replied with a statement saying Newey, architect of cars that have brought in 12 world drivers and constructors titles for Williams and McLaren since 1990, had changed his mind and was staying.
Newey admitted he had agreed to join Jaguar, who on Thursday said they had secured an injunction in the London High Court against McLaren, preventing them from employing Newey beyond the expiration of his current contract next year.
"On reflection, shortly after agreeing to join Jaguar there was a realization that changing teams was not the way to go for me," he said.
"I had agreed with Jaguar that nothing would come out until 8.30 am on Friday morning. When I spoke to them and informed them of my decision they agreed to stop the press release being issued.
"At that point, only a few people were affected. Despite that it appears they chose to issue the press release."
Newey, who did not travel to Montreal with McLaren for the Canadian Grand Prix, worked with Rahal in Indy Cars in the 1980s.
"The person I am most concerned about in all this is Bobby. He's a good
friend and I don't want to upset him," he said.
"Perhaps this shows the dangers of mixing a friendship with business. I really hope our friendship can weather this."
Rahal spoke on Thursday in Montreal about his personal disappointment over Newey's decision.
"I think that friendship is always based on trust and good faith, and obviously I personally feel that both have been severely damaged in this situation," the American said.
Newey said the challenge of working on a new project had been another key factor in his initial decision to agree to join Jaguar.
"I am a designer and, like anyone in my situation I am trying to be creative and, to do that, you look for new stimulation," he said.
"There is always a danger of getting tired and suffering something equivalent to writer's block and wondering where the next little bit to improve the car, the next idea, is coming from.
"This is a high pressure sport and I have been working in it for a long time.
"With that constant pressure you are looking for a new stimulus and changing jobs is one way of doing that."
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