SEPTEMBER 17, 2004
The future of Jaguar Racing
For the last few weeks there have been many rumours about the future of Jaguar Racing and with very obvious problems with Jaguar Cars and a cutback in the Ford World Rally Championship programme, the speculation has tended to be rather negative. It is without question that the team will be branded as a Ford operation in the future, rather than as Jaguar. The team has successfully changed the image of the Jaguar company but sales of the company's small road car range are not keeping up with projections and this has meant that the three Jaguar factories in Britain have been put on shorter than planned shifts. In the last few days no fewer than six members of parliament in Britain have written to Ford of Europe's Mark Fields, saying they have been led to believe Ford is planning to close Jaguar's Browns Lane plant in Coventry, and asking for an immediate meeting to discuss that possibility.
Ford's Premier Automotive Group which includes Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin made a second quarter 2004 pre-tax loss of $362m.
There is no doubt that budgets in 2005 will, at best, be tight but Jaguar Racing has been talking to some very serious corporations about title sponsorship for next year and beyond and several representatives of these companies were at Monza for meetings with the team and with Tony Purnell, the head of the Premier Performance Division , which oversees the F1 programme, Cosworth Racing and Pi Research.
Cosworth recently signed a new deal to supply engines to Minardi and is also understood to have agreed to supply V10s to the new team being planned which will use Dallara chassis and will begin testing next season. The Jordan team has been talking to Toyota but we hear that a deal was torpedoed at the last minute because Toyota had a number of conditions which the powers-that-be in the sport were not willing to accept.
Jordan has a deal agreed in principle with Cosworth for next year.
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