AUGUST 31, 1998
...as staff come and go
IN recent days we have heard stories of a major falling-out within the management structure at British American Racing with the stories suggesting that managing-director Craig Pollock has split up with his partner Julian Jakobi.
Jakobi was named Corporate Director of British American Racing when the team was announced at the end of last year but he was also involved in the commercial affairs of Prost Grand Prix. Jakobi has a long association with Prost having looked after Alain's business affairs since the mid-1980s, when he worked for Mark McCormack's International Management Group.
He left IMG in 1992 to become Ayrton Senna's manager and was in the process of setting up a vast licensing operation for Senna when the Brazilian was killed in 1994. Jakobi then ran the Ayrton Senna Foundation before selling out his operation to Pollock. Jakobi is not likely to be on the market for long and speculation suggests that he will soon be back in the F1 business, probably in some form of association with Alain Prost.
The loss of Jakobi is a setback for the new team but in recent days Pollock has secured the services of a couple of important engineers, notably Ferrari aerodynamicist Wilhem Toet. The Australian engineer worked at Benetton in the late 1980s and was one of the team which moved to Reynard in 1991 to design the original Reynard F1 car. When that project failed Toet went back to Benetton but was poached by Ferrari at the end of 1994, following Michael Schumacher's World Championship success. He has worked at Ferrari ever since but his five year contract is about to run out and he has taken the opportunity to go back to Reynard, where he will work with fellow countryman Malcolm Oastler.
In addition BAR has managed to convince Jacques Villeneuve's race engineer at Williams Jock Clear that he should transfer to the new team with the French-Canadian driver. Clear worked with Toet at Benetton in 1989 when Jock was head of Benetton's composite design department. He went on to work as a designer at Leyton House Racing and at Team Lotus. He started race engineering with Johnny Herbert in 1994 but switched to Williams at the end of that year and worked with DavidÊCoulthard and then Villeneuve.
We understand that BAR has failed to sign up Williams's Senior Operations Engineer James Robinson who is believed to be staying with the Grove team.