FEBRUARY 3, 2002
Niki Lauda one year on
IT is one year since Niki Lauda took over as head of the newly-created Premier Performance Division of the Ford Motor Company, his role being to run Jaguar Racing, Cosworth Racing and Pi Electronics. By the midsummer Lauda was running Jaguar Racing directly after he and the team's director Bobby Rahal went head-to-head and Lauda won the support of Dr. Wolfgang Reitzle, the head of the Ford Premier Automotive Group. Reitzle is ambitious and is believed to have long-term dreams of running the whole Ford Motor Company and the Jaguar Racing program has become increasingly important to him as a high-profile failure would not look good on his record.
The bad news is that the new Jaguar R3 is not going very quickly in testing and that may lead to the need for Reitzle to find scapegoats. The technical team at Jaguar is obviously at risk if the car does not improve but Lauda himself must feel the cold air coming through the rotating door through which Jaguar Racing management having been coming and going in the last couple of years.