Rahal speaks after Newey conclusion

JAGUAR RACING team principal Bobby Rahal has spoken for the first time since the conclusion of Jaguar's settlement with McLaren over the services of Adrian Newey - who will now remain at his present team until 2005 despite having agreed to go to Jaguar.

Rahal, whose friendship with Newey stretches back to the mid-1980s, feels that their relationship has been compromised by the subsequent wranglings after believing that he had got the man that Ford Motor Company believed could take its Jaguar Racing effort to the top, stating in Canada: "I think that friendship is always based on trust and good faith and obviously I feel that those have been severely damaged in this situation."

Nevertheless, following yesterday's High Court hearing in which Jaguar and McLaren 'amicably' settled their differences when Jaguar realized that despite signing what Rahal insisted was a "legally binding" contract with Newey, McLaren had made it impossible to implement when it - and Newey - subsequently agreed terms.

This is because under the laws of the Commission for Human Rights it was impossible for Jaguar to enforce an agreement to make Newey work for the team against his will.

Having publicly stated that, although he had initially been keen to team up with Rahal once again, it was McLaren where he wanted to work, Newey effectively killed Jaguar's case on the spot regardless of what pieces of paper he may or may not have signed.

Jaguar got the best out of the situation that it could - a public apology from Newey and McLaren - and meanwhile on behalf of the team Bobby Rahal is continuing to put on a brave face.

"Adrian was just an addition, value added, not an exchange," said Rahal. "The guys know that I am very pleased with what's going on with our aerodynamics and that what we are doing is beginning to bear fruit."

The next issue seemingly facing Jaguar is convincing potential investors that the team's failure to secure Newey is not going to hold back any progress out of the midfield. Ford is known to be keen to pull back its funding of the team having, as it has claimed, established the brand within Formula 1.

A major deal with BP is believed to be in the pipeline, although with any investors it is a case of supplying success through a competitive car and driver package that will harvest funding. Without a Newey-designed chassis with which to attract top line driving talent, it may take Jaguar a little longer to make that break just yet.

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