JANUARY 7, 2005
The resurrection of Gunther Steiner
Steiner may sound like a German name but in fact Gunther Steiner is an Italian, born and brought up in the city of Bolzano in the Alto Adige region where German remains the dominant language despite the fact that modern borders means it is linked to Italy. After graduating in 1986 Steiner became an engineer with Mazda Europe in Belgium, working on the 323 4WD Turbos which were competing in the WRC with Timo Salonen and Ingvar Carlsson. In 1990 he became the engineer in charge of development with the Jolly Club team in Italy, running the Lancia HF Integrale to eight WRC wins in 1992 and a Manufacturers' title before switching to Ford Escorts. The team won the Italian Rally Championship on three occasions but at the end of 1996 Steiner moved to Britain to work with Prodrive on the Subaru World Rally Team. A year later he was offered the job of technical director of M Sport Ltd., to develop the Ford Focus WRC and he stayed with the rally team until Niki Lauda asked him to become the managing-director of Jaguar Racing in December 2001. His role in F1 lasted just one year before another management reshuffle saw him replaced by Pitchforth. After leaving F1 Steiner went to work for the Opel DTM team in 2003 and 2004 but the news that General Motors is closing the team at the end of 2005 means that there is little motivation for Steiner to remain where he is and the chance to finish the job he started at Jaguar in 2002 will be a welcome one.
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