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NOVEMBER 26, 2002

Purnell to lead Jaguar Racing?

The word on the street in Milton Keynes is that the announcement from Ford this morning will reveal that Niki Lauda is being replaced as head of Jaguar Racing and that the job of chief executive will go to Tony Purnell, the founder and chief executive of the PI Research electronics firm, which is Ford-owned and one of the other companies in the Premier Performance Division. There have been rumours for some time that Purnell was keen on the role and there have even been suggestions that he will bring in PI Research's Tim Routsis (currently head of electronics) to be the team's new technical director. This would be a rather radical move although Routsis is not simply an electronics engineer having previously run a very successful historical aviation company, restoring old fighter aircraft.

The two men are known to be close to Sir John Allison, who was Jaguar's director of strategic services until recently when he was removed from the post by Lauda. Allison was previously one of the top officers in the Royal Air Force.

Sir Jackie Stewart will still be involved in the team in his role as a sponsor liaison and front man, but is understood not to be interested in the job of running the team on a day-to-day basis.