Jaguar ditches tech chief Anderson for Nichols

Jaguar Racing's 'Americanisation' continues with confirmation that Steve Nichols will replace Gary Anderson as the team's technical director

Jaguar ditches tech chief Anderson for Nichols

Nichols' appointment, alongside Chief Executive Officer Bobby Rahal and chairman Neil Ressler, means Americans now hold the top three positions in the Milton Keynes-based squad.

Nichols starts his new role with immediate effect, leaving his position as Head of Future Projects at McLaren. He will head a team that includes chief designer John Russell and former Lola aerodynamicist Mark Handford.

"Steve will bring a new technical dimension to the team," said Ressler. "His experience at the highest levels of F1 racing, together with his engineering skills, will give new impetus to Jaguar Racing as we build for the future."

After taking just two points finishes in its debut season, Rahal and Ressler have identified several key areas in which the team must improve.

"I fully support these changes," added Rahal. "Our immediate objective is to step-up our overall competitiveness in 2001, but our longer term goal is quite clearly to challenge for the top honours in the sport. As Neil has consistently stated, we will continue to invest in the technical capability of the team in terms of facilities and talent in order to achieve this goal."

Today's shake-up is also believed to include the removal of Robin Gearing and Andy le Fleming as the team's race engineers. But Rahal says Nichols' appointment will be the last keynote addition from outside the team for the time being, and also denies speculation that Ferrari chief mechanic Nigel Stepney will join the operation.

Although Nichols has been out of the limelight in recent seasons, he is best known for designing the all-conquering 1988 McLaren and race-engineering Ayrton Senna to the world title that season. He has also been chief designer at Jordan, where he worked briefly with Jaguar team-leader Eddie Irvine, and held key technical roles with Ferrari and Sauber.

Anderson joined Jaguar Racing (nee Stewart Grand Prix) from Jordan, but has yet to release details of any future plans.

"During the 2000 season, Gary has worked hard to make the Jaguar R1 a competitive challenger in F1," said Ressler. "But at this stage of our development, we believe that a change in the team's technical direction will benefit Jaguar Racing as we go forward."

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