INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2000 -- Former Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal has joined the Jaguar Racing Formula One team as Chief Executive Officer and Team Principal, it was announced Wednesday in Indianapolis Rahal will take over the...
INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2000 -- Former Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal has joined the Jaguar Racing Formula One team as Chief Executive Officer and Team Principal, it was announced Wednesday in Indianapolis Rahal will take over the day-to-day running of the team and work alongside fellow American Neil Ressler, who remains Chairman of Jaguar Racing. 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Rahal has the "understanding racing at the top levels, the business acumen, the ability to get along with people and be a good team builder, and the kind of leadership capabilities that will help us greatly at Jaguar Racing," Ressler said.
"Speaking for myself, I am delighted that he has agreed to come. With all his experience and capability focusing on the running of the team, this is a very compatible and mutually advantageous arrangement. This is the first building block. There will be more to come."
Rahal's three-year term with Jaguar Racing begins Dec. 1, but he will attend the last three races of the 2000 Formula One World Championship, including this weekend's inaugural SAP United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis.
"Some people might say, 'What do I know about F1?'" said Rahal, 47. "That misses the point to a large degree. This is a company whose main task is to enter motor racing events and to win and to represent Jaguar Cars in the manner they would wish to be represented. Irrespective of the specific venue, really we are talking about a company, and ultimately when you synthesize it all down, the traits or the lessons or the procedures that you need to have a successful company."
It is going to take time, effort and commitment to turn Jaguar into a winning team, Rahal said.
"I don't think that there are any easy solutions to any of this," Rahal said. "One person does not make a team. This is going to take a tremendous effort across the whole company to create the success that we all want. It is easy to say you want success, and you can wish for it. But if you wish for it, it will never happen. You have to go out an earn it.
"My task is to take the organization, work with various components within the organization, and to assist in turning it into a winning team. I can't do it myself. This has to be a team effort. My job is to create that team with the help of the many people that are there. Believe me, I have no illusion about the immensity of this task. Irrespective of whether I had F1 experience in the last several years or not, this is a huge task. "I am moving to England with my family, and we will live there because I am ready to take on that challenge. Eddie (Irvine) has certainly proven that he is capable of winning races, and my job is to help him to do that in the future."
Eddie Irvine, who will team up with rookie Luciano Burti next season, supported the Rahal nomination.
"His job is going to be managerial and organizational," Irvine said of Rahal. "Those are the qualities that you need. Jean Todt came to Ferrari from rallying, and Jean has done a fantastic job there. "It is all about motivating people; Jean was good at that, and I think Bobby is going to be the same. He's an ex-driver, so he can relate my problems and Luciano's problems. I think he has got many things to offer. He has a nice lifestyle here, and to give that up and move to England shows his level of commitment."
In addition to his 1986 win in the Indianapolis 500, Rahal won the CART championship in 1986, 1987 and 1992 and scored 24 wins in that series. He raced in Formula 3 and Formula 2 in Europe early in his career and also competed in two Grand Prix races (United States and Canada) for Wolf Racing in 1978.
He will continue as president of Team Rahal but will leave the running of the team to general manager Scott Roembke.
-Indianapolis Motor Speedway-