Purnell says Cosworth deal close

Jaguar Racing team principal Tony Purnell confirmed in Brazil that a deal to sell Ford's Formula 1 engine build company, Cosworth Racing, "is, conceptually, struck."

Purnell says Cosworth deal close

Purnell said that the sale, details of which should emerge shortly, will allow Cosworth to go on supplying customer engines in Formula 1. He confirmed that an offer has already gone out to Eddie Jordan.

"Now that the 2005 regulations are completely understood," he said, "a definite offer has gone out and there is no difficulty giving a similar thing to Minardi. Paul Stoddart's relationship with Cosworth is very strong."

That is far from the end of the matter, however, because Jordan has been less than satisfied with its engines this year and the cost of a Cosworth supply would also be more expensive in 2005. The paddock rumour at Interlagos was that Jordan was very close to agreeing a Toyota deal, which could be announced as early as next Tuesday. This, however, was denied by Toyota sources, although the Japanese manufacturer's John Howett did admit that talks with Jordan are ongoing.

Purnell denied that a Cosworth deal would cost Jordan almost twice what he paid this year, but admitted: "It's a commercial price. It's very difficult because supplying engines to a team is normally a marginal cost - you do all the work to supply your manufacturers team and then you just look at the incremental costs of supply. Well, we're not in that situation anymore, so it's very different terms."

On the subject of a likely saviour for Jaguar Racing, Purnell was less optimistic.

"The market for F1 race teams is thinner than for engine manufacturers," he said. "It's a huge commitment for people, big money, and we are entering a very critical week where it could go either way. HSBC are trying to sell it, make no mistake, and it's certainly going to be a tense week waiting for news. It could go beyond next week but I think we are in the end game."

Purnell would not be drawn on likely buyers but denied paddock rumours that the end of the line had been reached and that the doors would close this coming Monday. "No," he said, "that's not the case."

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