Jaguar Pulls Out of F1
Jaguar is to pull out of Formula One at the end of 2004 and Ford’s engine maker Cosworth is also up for sale. F1 representatives believe this decision will have huge affects on the sport, which is under threat from carmakers seeking to establish a rival championship. The news certainly won’t be received well by Michelin, Jaguar’s F1 tyre supplier.
Joe Greenwell, chairman and CEO Jaguar and Land Rover said: Jaguar’s presence in Formula One has been a valuable marketing and brand awareness platform particularly outside our main markets of the US and the UK. However it was our collective view that it is time for Jaguar Cars to focus 100 per cent on our core business.”
It is thought that the company could no longer financially compete with rivals BMW and Mercedes, partners to Williams and McLaren. World champions Ferrari and new arrivals Toyota have estimated budgets in excess of $200 million a year. “It is so expensive to be successful in Formula One,” said Ford vice-president Richard Parry-Jones. “The money the sport generates is not distributed equitably to the various stakeholders,” he continued.
This year the Milton Keynes-based team have operated on a tight budget, bringing in much-needed funds by signing Red Bull-backed Austrian rookie Christian Klien to partner Australian Mark Webber. Currently the team is seventh in the 10-team championship, a point ahead of Toyota, with three races remaining. “Our focus now is on finishing the 2004 season and securing the future of the F1 business under new ownership,” said Mr Parry-Jones, adding that there were a number of interested parties.
Despite its decision to withdraw from Formula One the company has confirmed its continuing commitment to the 2004/5 Jaguar F1 in Schools CAD CAM Challenge.
A Jaguar spokesman said: “Despite the recent announcements at Jaguar, we see no change to our support of F1 in Schools, as its premier sponsor, or to other community related programmes including Jaguar Education Business Partnership Centres.