Lauda sacked by Jaguar

Ford has sacked Niki Lauda from his role as head of its Premier Performance Division, ending the Austrian's tenure in charge of the Jaguar Formula 1 team

Lauda sacked by Jaguar

Lauda will be replaced by Tony Purnell, the founder and chief executive of PI Research, one of the companies in the PPD group. The company is now actively looking for a new team principal for the Jaguar team, to work underneath Purnell.

The decision was confirmed at a press conference today (Tuesday) by Richard Parry-Jones, head of Ford's Formula 1 programme, who was appointed in May to conduct an analysis of how best to move the Jaguar team forward.

Parry-Jones said: "Niki Lauda is relinquishing his role as head of PPD and Jaguar Racing. I have asked Niki to fulfil the role of special advisor to me and I very much hope he will accept the post."

Lauda has been the head of PPD, which consists of Jaguar, PI Research and Cosworth Engineering since February 2001. He had assumed day-to-day responsibility of Jaguar following the dismissal of Bobby Rahal as team principal in August 2001.

The Jaguar team has had a troubled history in Formula 1 since Ford rebranded the Stewart Racing squad for the start of the 2000 season. Last year's R3 chassis proved largely uncompetitive, and there had been speculation that Ford was considering axing the entire project. Although the company decided to continue with the squad, the team recently revealed that it is cutting 40 to 60 jobs in response to the global economic downturn.

Lauda had been rebuilding the team for 2003, and signed young drivers Mark Webber and Antonio Pizzonia in the hopes of injecting fresh impetus. Jaguar is due to begin testing with its new drivers in preparation for the 2003 season at Barcelona today.

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Ford Explains Lauda's Exit from Jaguar

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