Rising costs force Ford decision

Ford's chief technical officer Richard Parry-Jones has suggested that escalating costs in Formula 1 allied to Jaguar Cars' failure to make a profit were key reasons for its sale of the Jaguar Racing team

Rising costs force Ford decision

Parry-Jones announced at noon today that Jaguar would be withdrawing from Formula 1 from the end of 2004 and that the team and its assets were to be put up for sale at an undisclosed price.

"It is not in Jaguar's long term interest to compete in F1 and finish towards the back of the grid," said Parry-Jones. "For it to really pay off for Jaguar in F1 it [the team] needs to be able to win because owning or aspiring to own a Jaguar means we have to be winning and not just taking part.

"Given the Jaguar Cars business situation and the action they are taking, Jaguar cannot afford the escalating costs that are required to be a winner in F1, given the current structure of the sport."

Parry-Jones took a swipe at FOM principal Bernie Ecclestone's refusal to budge on proposals for a redistribution of F1 earnings among the teams and manufacturers, and admitted that this was a contributing factor in the decision. At present the teams only receive 47 percent of television income, and receive no money from trackside advertising or hospitality.

"Our vision for success for Jaguar Racing was based on a combination of Jaguar's sales and profits, a highly efficient team operation, reductions in the costs of competing driven by rule changes and a fairer distribution of income that the sport generates. The teams at Jaguar and Cosworth have delivered more than their fair share of the highly efficient part of this equation."

He added: "The chance of Jaguar winning in F1 is only possible if a much larger proportion of the income that the sport generates is redirected to the team and the costs of competing are reduced for everyone - it also applies to the smaller private teams.

"This is why Ford has devoted so much effort in the last 18 months to try to develop the GPWC and to get the current incumbents to agree around these issues. Unfortunately these reforms have been too slow in coming to avoid the decision we are announcing today."

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