JULY 19, 1999

Another reshuffle at Stewart Grand Prix

THE Ford Motor Company has announced that Paul Stewart will move from his position as deputy chairman of StewartÊGrandÊPrix to a new position as chief operating officer of the team. This is an odd move given that it had been expected that the company would quietly phase the Stewart Family out of the team, following its purchase of the Milton Keynes operation although it may be that the sideways promotion is designed to ensure that there are not embarrassing problems when Jackie Stewart steps down as chairman. That could happen as early as the end of this year. If Paul was still the deputy chairman it would be less easy for Ford to appoint a new man to the job but as chief operating officer he will not be in the way.

Paul will work alongside current chief executive David Ring. It remains to be seen who will run the team when Ford puts in its own men but there are a variety of candidates who would like to run the operation, including David Richards of Prodrive and, we hear, Ford's motorsport boss in Europe Martin Whitaker.

We expect that the team will become a fully Jaguar-liveried team next year and Whitaker would very much suit the clean-cut English image which Jaguar is trying to promote. The team has Johnny Herbert under contract for 2000 and it is hard to imagine that Rubens Barrichello will leave but, at the same time, we hear that Ford is very keen to have David Coulthard involved - as he fits the Jaguar image perfectly - although it may be that Jaguar will wait until 2001 before bidding for David.