AUGUST 22, 2002
Barnard and Jaguar
It has been nearly a year since John Barnard was involved in Formula 1 as anything more than a sub-contractor. His B3 Technologies firm in Surrey has been busy working for F1 teams but Barnard, one of the most fertile brains in modern F1 history, has not had an official role since the demise of Prost Grand Prix.
Now there are suggestions that Niki Lauda is looking to Barnard as a potential technical director of Jaguar Racing. That job has been done by Gunther Steiner since the departure from Jaguar Racing of Steve Nichols early this year, but Steiner will happily admit that the job needs to be filled - although finding the right man for the job is not easy. Under Bobby Rahal's brief tenure Jaguar came close to signing a deal with Adrian Newey but in the end that deal never happened and Newey stayed at McLaren. Barnard's great talent in recent years is his ability to set up teams so that they have what they need to be successful. He has played that role several times in recent years, notably at Ferrari, Arrows and Prost. But he remains an innovator and the man who came up with the first composite chassis (albeit by only a few weeks) and the first automatic gearbox.
Barnard and Lauda are not strangers. They worked together with much success at McLaren in the early 1980s and so have a clear understanding of the their respective strengths and weaknesses.
Lauda is also believed to have been looking at Malcolm Oastler as a possible candidate but as Oastler's career at BAR did not produce much in the way of results, this would be a riskier move.
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