MAY 2, 2002
Adrian Newey and McLaren
A year ago Adrian Newey signed a contract to join Jaguar Racing. McLaren immediately responded with an announcement that Newey was not available and there followed a court battle at the end of which Newey said he wanted to stay at McLaren.
At the end of the dispute there were suggestions that Newey's role at McLaren would be bigger than ever before and there were rumors that the deal included the design of an America's Cup racing yacht. This is a challenge that Newey is keen on attacking having proved himself beyond any doubt in Formula 1.
In March Dennis told us that the team has no plans for any involvement in the America's Cup and that the team is rather too busy trying to sort out the current problems to get involved with new programs at the moment. Whether Newey is happy with this situation is not clear but there is no doubt that there is much frustration in the McLaren chassis department because of the problems which relate to the Mercedes-Benz V10 engines (not of course that anyone in the team would admit to such a thing).
The next America's Cup is in February 2003 and then there is likely to be a three or four year period before the next Cup, although this largely depends on who wins as they may choose to change the rules and regulations which govern the world's most prestigious yacht racing competition. One way or another Newey's contract with McLaren runs only until the summer of 2005 and it is unlikely that there will have been another America's Cup Challenge before then.
This begs the question whether or not Newey is happy in his continuing role at McLaren.
"In the course of the next two or three months we intend to introduce additional changes but none of those will see Adrian Newey being moved out of the F1 program," Ron Dennis remarked in Spain.
The friendship between Newey and former Jaguar Racing boss Bobby Rahal, which took a bit of a pounding last year, is however recovering. The pair were spotted having dinner together this week in England...
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