JUNE 28, 1999
Stewart and Cosworth to relocate?
THERE were rumors in the paddock at Magny-Cours that the Ford Motor Company may decide to move Stewart Grand Prix and Cosworth Racing into combined new premises at a site between the two current factories. This would ensure that the current staff would be able to continue and that the engine and chassis departments would work in a much closer way - in a similar fashion to Ferrari. The logical location would be somewhere in the Towcester area as this would also mean easy access to Silverstone for testing.
Our sources suggest that the most likely move would be to an all-new green-field site, which could house all of Ford's competition activities, including rallying, touring cars, sportscars and F1 teams. For almost a year there have been suggestions that such a deal might involve Prodrive boss David Richards - currently headquartered in Banbury, 15 miles from Towcester. It is worth noting that other sources suggest that Ford is willing to wait until other top motorsport managers become available, the obvious choice being Ferrari's Jean Todt, although he is rumored to have a contract with Ferrari that he will not be involved in an F1 team other than the Italian team. It is also worth noting that Switzerland's Max Welti was spotted at Ford during the French GP weekend. Welti ran the Porsche Competition Department before joining the Sauber F1 team. He left Sauber early last year.
While Ford continues to formulate its long-term competition plans there were stories at Magny-Cours suggesting that a Stewart F1 chassis was recently spotted at Prodrive in Banbury, painted up in British Racing Green - the traditional colors of Jaguar in racing.