SEPTEMBER 13, 1999
What is Ford playing at now?
Stewart, however, seems to have convinced the Jaguar management that he is a much better idea and there was a strong Jaguar presence at the Italian Grand Prix with Jaguar's marketing director Phil Cazaly and marketing manager Rob Smettern both in attendance.
As we understand it Stewart's deal is for 2000 only and it may be that in the longer-term Ford still has plans for all of its motorsport operations to come under the control of someone else. The favorite for this role remains David Richards of Prodrive but he is still refusing to talk about his plans. This would enable Stewart to be fade out gracefully - he is now 60 - and retirement is not far away. The future of Paul Stewart remains in question although he is expected to continue as chiefÊoperatingÊofficer for the immediate future. We also hear that the team will continue to be sponsored by a variety of existing backers which will detract from the original plan for an all-Jaguar car. This could not be avoided as several of the deals were already in place and so it may be that Ford has concluded that it is best to have an interim phase before arranging the final structure of the Jaguar F1 team.
The current moves make some sense if this is the case because otherwise Ford is merely giving back to the Stewart Family what it has just spent a large sum of money acquiring... and that does not make any sense at all.