Jaguar takes out injunction against McLaren (updated)

The argument over who has the rights to technical wizard Adrian Newey's services from next year stepped up a gear on the eve of the Canadian Grand Prix as the Jaguar team issued a high court injunction in an attempt to stop Newey staying at McLaren beyond July 2002

Jaguar takes out injunction against McLaren (updated)

The injunction comes after a frantic two weeks in which Jaguar announced that it had signed Newey as its chief technical officer once his existing McLaren contract expired next summer, only for Newey to change his mind at the last minute following a better offer from his existing team.

With the 42-year-old designer staying put, both teams are laying claims to his services. But Jaguar insists it has a binding agreement and in Montreal on Thursday, the team issued a statement announcing legal proceedings against McLaren.

The statement read: "Jaguar Racing this afternoon obtained an injunction at the High Court in London on behalf of Ford Motor Company and Jaguar Racing Limited against McLaren International Limited. The terms of the injunction restrain McLaren International from entering into or continuing any contract of employment with Adrian Newey post 31 July 2002."

However, in response, McLaren further clarified the situation today (Friday) by highlighting the fact that Jaguar has obtained a "without notice" injunction, which only applies until next Tuesday 12 June. At that time there will be a further hearing when McLaren will be represented for the first time.

McLaren's latest statement said: "The injunction granted only prevents McLaren entering into a new or further agreement with Adrian Newey before Tuesday June 12 2001 and has no effect on the existing extension. The team is confident that when the facts of the case are heard on Tuesday, the injunction will be lifted."

McLaren has admitted Newey was persuaded to leave the team, but during the contract discussions it says it was not aware of the existence of a "binding contract". Prior to the announcement the injunction on Thursday, the Woking-based team accused Jaguar of lying as it had denied having talks with Newey to persuade him to switch teams.

"Adrian has 14 months of his previous contract with McLaren to run," said the team's Thursday statement. "And despite repeated assurances made to McLaren by Jaguar Racing that it was not in dialogue with any members of the organisation, it became clear that they sought aggressively to recruit Adrian.

"It is a fact that at one point Jaguar Racing has convinced Adrian to leave McLaren. However, at no time, in the discussions regarding Adrian's contract extension, were McLaren aware of any binding contract between Adrian and Jaguar Racing."

Newey is not attending this weekend's race because, according to McLaren's statement, he had taken the decision to stay away some time ago in order to concentrate on a "number of development programmes."

The team's statement concluded: "It is the wish of the team and Adrian to put this matter behind them in order to concentrate on motor racing."

It will be decided next week whether Jaguar's injunction will be upheld until July next year, and although McLaren hope to put the episode behind them, the situation is likely to run and run.

"I imagine that in 14 months a lot can change in that period of time," said Jaguar Racing CEO Bobby Rahal. "To speculate on motivations and situations between now and then, you could do that ad infinitum and you would probably speculate incorrectly anyway, so we've got a long way to go between now and then."

For a full analysis of the repercussions of 'Neweygate' and the inside line on where Jaguar and Adrian Newey go next, read this week's Autosport magazine.

Check out how the Newey saga unfolded... Click on the links below.

Jaguar set to lure design ace Newey

Jaguar pounces! Design ace Newey confirmed

Now McLaren claims Newey will stay

Rahal: Newey is legally committed to us

Newey set to quit Formula 1 after 2002

Cooper Straight: Neweygate

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