AUGUST 23, 2001
Rahal goes in fighting for D-Day at Jaguar
TODAY (Thursday) sees the inquest into the alleged attempt to off-load Eddie Irvine on Jordan for $5 million without the knowledge of Ford's Premier Performance boss Niki Lauda, a big Irvine fan.
The ongoing struggle between Lauda and his boss Wolfgang Reitzle with Rahal, taken on by Jac Nasser, CEO of Ford Motor Company, has come to a head and it is widely anticipated that if anyone will be squeezed out it is Rahal - although the popular Jaguar Racing chief will defend himself to the end.
"I think I am doing a good job," Rahal told Autosport magazine. "The team is starting to come along and I am very optimistic about next year's chassis. When I took on the job, everyone agreed that this was a multi-year program and this was the year to get our house in order."
Rahal's election to the position was in part based on his long-standing friendship with Adrian Newey, as Ford sought to bring the most successful designer of the era across to reinforce its own design team. That attempt went spectacularly wrong, seriously damaging Rahal's relationship both with Newey and Jaguar, and it is believed that Lauda has been making overtures to the Williams design team while Rahal has focused on working with current designers Mark Handford and Steve Nichols.