APRIL 20, 2002
Parry-Jones gets PPD
RICHARD PARRY-JONES, the Chief Technical Officer of the Ford Motor Company, has been given the responsibility of looking after the Premier Performance Division of the Premier Automotive Group, following the reshuffle in the wake of Wolfgang Reitzle's departure from PAG. This means that he will be the man to whom Niki Lauda reports about the goings-on at Jaguar Racing.
Parry-Jones, a 51-year-old Welshman who used to rally as a hobby, is a high-flying engineer and engineering administrator and so will have a good understanding of the complexities involved in building up a Formula 1 operation. He will report to the top bosses in Dearborn, notably Sir Nick Scheele, the man who is effectively number two to William Clay Ford.
Reitzle's decision to depart the company is apparently because he found it difficult to get on with Scheele, although this has been denied by Scheele himself.
Whatever the case Reitzle has gone and the latest suggestions are that he is probably angling for the top job in General Motors in Europe.
A more direct link with Dearborn will probably help Jaguar Racing. It started out as a pet project of ex-Ford boss Jac Nasser but as pressure on him mounted to handed it over to Reitzle. That led to a power struggle between Ford appointee Bobby Rahal (who had been put into the role by the company's previous chief technical officer Neil Ressler. Once PAG took over the F1 program however Niki Lauda was put in as Rahal's boss and that led to Rahal's departure last summer.
Under Parry-Jones the F1 program should have better communication with the top men at Ford but this could be a double-edged sword as although they will now understand more about what is going on, they may also see the problems more clearly than is currently the case.
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