JULY 30, 2002
All quiet on the Formula 1 front
The opportunity to have a few days off in the middle of the year - and the summer holidays - has proved to be very attractive and large numbers of Formula 1 people are gone this week. It is not expected that much will be done in the days ahead, except perhaps with regard to the smaller teams.
The big story of the day - propagated as usual by the headless chickens of the Internet - was that Mark Webber was on the verge of signing for Jaguar. It is a nice idea but everyone forget to take into account the fact that before he can join Jaguar, Webber needs to reach a settlement with his current team Minardi - as he is under contract with the team for next year. A switch to Jaguar Racing might make sense if Minardi was planning to stay with the Asiatech engine supply next season but at the moment the team is looking for a deal to run Cosworth V10 engines. The Minardi chassis designers have a much better car this year than does Jaguar Racing and so it is logical for Webber to wait.
One must also take into account the fact that there could still be a drive going for the Australian at Sauber which may not be a factory-backed team but which has done considerably better than Jaguar Racing. The other surprising thing would be any announcement from Jaguar before the current report being prepared by the Ford Motor Company is completed. It could very easily result in the change of branding for the team or the decision to push for a driver of a certain nationality. Jaguar's major target is Germany and with Heinz-Harald Frentzen available it is hard to imagine that Jaguar would sign up Webber, a man with much talent but not currently in the same league as Frentzen, who has won Grands Prix in the past.
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