Spa and Monza helped Jag's case

Eddie Irvine's haul of points in the past two grands prix in Belgium and Italy had an influence on Ford's decision to keep backing the Jaguar Formula 1 programme

Spa and Monza helped Jag's case

Much speculation about Jaguar's future in the sport was prompted by the news earlier this year that Richard Parry-Jones, group vice-president of the Ford Motor Company, was compiling a report on the team for presentation to the parent company's main board.

The findings of that report included the team's programme being hamstrung by the lack of an adequate wind tunnel and the resultant inability to collect accurate data. He also concluded that the design process could be enhanced by better use of individual strengths throughout the team.

Asked how serious a threat there had been to the team, Parry-Jones said: "That would depend on whom you talked to..."

He added that a certain amount of speculation had arisen when he told journalists at Silverstone that running at the back of the grid was no good to Jaguar. That, he said, was not an indication that the team would be getting out, but rather that it had to improve.

The recent upturn in form, he admitted, had been positive: "If you are putting a plan together, the credibility of the team, and myself, is enhanced. So Spa and Monza have improved the confidence level."

Parry-Jones denied that the recent announcement of a three-year Ford Cosworth deal for Jordan Grand Prix was in any way a kick in the teeth for the Jaguar squad, but rather a chance to maximise marketing opportunities.

Bill Ford himself was involved in the Jaguar discussions and is said to endorse the current decision.

"We have no fixed period for the Jaguar F1 programme," Parry-Jones stated. "We're here to stay and the plan is to improve and maximise our investment in the sport."

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