Jaguar pounces! Design ace Newey confirmed

The Jaguar Racing Formula 1 squad has confirmed that McLaren design ace Adrian Newey will join the Milton Keynes-based team as its Chief Technical Officer from August 2002 - as exclusively predicted in this week's Autosport magazine

Jaguar pounces! Design ace Newey confirmed

Newey's contract is believed to be for a period of five years and is said to be worth around £3.5 million (US$5 million) per season.

The move will see the 42-year-old Englishman joining forces with his friend and Jaguar Racing CEO Bobby Rahal, who he engineered to the 1986 CART title. Rahal had been in negotiations with Newey for several months prior to the signing of a contract earlier this week.

"I'm thrilled at the prospect of having Adrian onboard," he said. "We go back many years to our days together in Indy cars and our friendship has certainly played a key role in making this happen.

"Design teams led by Adrian have created six of the F1 cars that have won the constructors' and drivers' world championships in the last nine years, with an average win rate of fifty percent. His influence has dominated the last decade of the first century of motor racing and this new chapter with Jaguar Racing will provide Adrian with an opportunity to take one of the most emotive names in motor racing to the status of F1 world champions."

Signing a top-line designer was seen as key to pushing Jaguar from midfield runners to genuine contenders. Aerodynamics specialist Newey is expected to have overall control not only of the layout and design of the cars themselves, but also in such areas as the dimensions of the team's Cosworth-built V10 engines.

Newey will also be seeking certain guarantees on facilities at the team's base, especially the question of a dedicated windtunnel. At the moment, the squad uses the Swift facility in California - a time-consuming and unwieldy process.

"I have always said that we needed the best people to take us into championship contention and you don't get any better than Adrian Newey," Rahal continued. "He is, in my opinion, the man responsible for generating more speed in F1 than any driver or engine out there. The art of aerodynamics is crucial to a team's success and the arrival of Adrian at Jaguar Racing will leave us short of nothing in that department."

Although, Newey is contracted to McLaren until August 2002, it remains unclear whether the team will retain him in an active capacity until that date, or put him on 'gardening leave' once the preliminary designs for the 2002 car are complete, or come to an early-release deal with Jaguar.

In the notoriously secretive world of F1, teams are often loathe to keep a designer on the books knowing he will soon be working for another team. Indeed, Williams put Newey on 'gardening leave' after he'd agreed to join McLaren-Mercedes in 1997.

Newey remained equivocal on the matter in an official statement, saying: "This has not been an easy decision for me to make. I have enjoyed hugely my four years to date at McLaren and take great satisfaction from the success that we as a team have achieved. But in the end, the prospect of working once again with my close friend Bobby, whom I have known since 1984 at March Racing, combined with the prospect of the exciting challenge that Jaguar Racing offers proved irresistible.

"In the meantime, I have a job to do," he added, "and I will continue to be fully committed to McLaren in our bid to win races and world championships."

Jaguar Racing overlord Niki Lauda, who also has responsibility for Cosworth and electronics company PI Research, said of the coup of signing Newey: "This is great news for Jaguar Racing and we are obviously delighted at pulling off something of this magnitude. We have always been deadly serious about our F1 ambitions and this goes some way to proving our commitment to winning."

Jaguar took its first ever podium in last weekend's Monaco GP, courtesy of team-leader Eddie Irvine. McLaren currently lies second in the constructors' standings and second in the drivers' championship with David Coulthard. The Woking squad's MP4-16 has won two out of the seven GPs held so far this season.

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It's Official: Adrian Newey Signs Contract with Jaguar

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