OCTOBER 5, 2002
Jaguar and Ford
The spat in the recent days over whether or not Helio Castroneves is in the running for a drive with Jaguar Racing is indicative of the way the team is run. There is no doubt at all - and it has been confirmed by Castroneves himself - that an approach was made by people at the Ford Motor Company to see whether Castroneves would be available to race for the team next year. That approach was apparently made to Roger Penske, Castroneves's current employer.
Jaguar spokesman Nav Sidhu says that no contact was ever made with Castroneves. This may be true if one accepts that no-one talked directly with him but it does not confirm a lack of interest although perhaps Sidhu, as the team's public relations officer, would not have known of contacts much higher up in the Ford hierarchy.
One must therefore ask the question why the team did not know? Surely the team - Ford's representative in F1 - would operate more effectively if one side knew what the other side was doing.
According to our usually impeccable sources the Jaguar Racing management DID know all about the Castroneves moves but was opposed to the idea because they did not want to take a risk with a driver who has been racing on ovals in recent years. The fact that Castroneves tested very well for Toyota at Paul Ricard would seem to suggest that the Brazilian - who has won two Indianapolis 500s - is worthy of some interest.
And one must therefore ask why Jaguar Racing has rejected the idea out of hand. Was it because they do not rate Castroneves or because of some issue of who has the power to make the decisions within the team?
Whatever the answers to these questions, the fact that there are questions is indicative of the need for change if the team is ever going to be successful...
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