Engineering focus for Jaguar in 2003

In the spring and summer of 2002 Richard Parry-Jones (Group Vice President and Head of F1, Ford Motor Company) conducted a comprehensive study into Jaguar Racing and Ford Motor Company's other F1 activities. After weighing the data with great...

In the spring and summer of 2002 Richard Parry-Jones (Group Vice President and Head of F1, Ford Motor Company) conducted a comprehensive study into Jaguar Racing and Ford Motor Company's other F1 activities. After weighing the data with great care, he was able to come to the unequivocal conclusion that F1 remained of vital importance to Jaguar, both as an exciting prestige brand and as a world-leading centre of engineering excellence in the motor industry. At Indianapolis in September he announced to the world's press that the main board of the Ford Motor Company had wholeheartedly endorsed his findings, as a result of which Jaguar Racing was in a position to build confidently for future success.

The new Jaguar R4.
Photo by Jaguar Cars and Wieck Media Services, Inc..
Success, of course, is something that Jaguar Racing has not enjoyed much of in its three seasons so far. It goes without saying that everyone connected with the project -- from the main board of the Ford Motor Company through to the canteen staff at Jaguar Racing's Milton Keynes factory, and everyone in between -- has been distressed by this lack of competitiveness. But since the Ford Motor Company, at the highest levels, has recently publicly endorsed the team, now is the time to regroup and rebuild for future success.

As a result, the Jaguar Racing you see today is already a very different animal from the Jaguar Racing of 12 months ago. The senior management is all-new, the drivers are all-new -- and, even more importantly, the operational philosophy, the corporate culture and the way the team goes about its business are all-new.

F1 is, above all, an engineering exercise. Yes, it's about glitz and glamour, too -- but teams only become glitzy and glamorous as a result of their on-track success. And the route to achieving on-track success is far from glamorous and decidedly un-glitzy. It involves solid engineering, and that can only be delivered by hours and days and months and years of hard work done by efficiently organised teams of solid engineers.

And that is what the new-for-2003 Jaguar Racing is all about. Engineering excellence and best practice will from now on permeate every aspect of the team's management structure, and as a result everyone in the most senior positions, from Richard Parry-Jones down, has a highly technical background.

Tony Purnell, Chief Executive Officer of the Premier Performance Division (Jaguar Racing, Cosworth Racing and Pi Research) is a highly intellectual and creative technical innovator, while David Pitchforth (Managing Director, Jaguar Racing) is an extremely rational and intelligent managerial engineer. Immediately below them is a team of able and expert engineers, all of them relatively new to Jaguar Racing, who share common goals and uphold common methods via which they seek to attain those goals.

If you think all this sounds staid or boring, well, so be it. These are the necessary solid foundations upon which future success can be built. But, if you think 'solid' means 'stolid', you would be wrong. Jaguar Racing's new structure is in fact a radical revamp. For that reason, Jaguar Racing's new recruits are not household names. They do not need to be. They need to be good engineers. And they are.

Some of you may be thinking that all this emphasis on solid engineering might stifle creativity. Well, why should it? It might sound paradoxical, but it is none the less true for that: very rigorously organised environments can produce hugely creative work. The one does not militate against the other. Moreover, very rigorously organised environments are far less likely to produce seriously bad work -- because the rigorous checks and balances inherent in such systems tend to spot and prevent the gravest errors before they get made.

Detail of the new Jaguar R4.
Photo by Jaguar Cars and Wieck Media Services, Inc..
Pitchforth effectively became project leader of Jaguar Racing's 2003 challenger, R4, last July. One of the first things he did was to write a comprehensive dossier in which every detail of R4's technical specification was set down. The opening sentence of Pitchforth's Q&A in this dossier is emblematic of Jaguar Racing's new engineering-orientated culture: "All aspects of the R4 car must exhibit conventional, low-risk, robust design and show lineage to successful modifications of the R3 car [i.e. Jaguar Racing's 2002 car] and best practice."

Jaguar Racing knows it is unlikely to win races in 2003 -- and R4 is unlikely to be a race-winning car. What it will be is a solid and soundly engineered platform that can be developed and evolved in the months and years ahead in order that, in time, Jaguar Racing is in a position to challenge for ultimate F1 honours. But those honours are still some way off.

There is a safety aspect to all this engineering rigour, too. Over the past few weeks, R4 has been assiduously rig-tested and straight-line-tested, in order to make absolutely sure that it is entirely track-worthy by the time it is tested in anger on a proper race track by a racing driver. It is this kind of testing -- testing that includes the kind of failure mode analysis more commonly seen in the less frenetic (but more rigorous) outside world -- that will make R4 and all Jaguar Racing cars to come amongst the most soundly engineered in all of F1.

The R3 was not the race car that Jaguar Racing had hoped for. Although its results towards the end of the season were somewhat more encouraging than at the beginning of the year (especially at Monza, where it finished third behind the two Ferraris). Clearly, improvements were made during the shelf life of R3 -- and, as Pitchforth's opening sentence makes clear, these improvements will not be junked. Successful F1 teams -- teams like Ferrari -- do not rip everything up at the end of the year and start again from scratch, and Jaguar Racing will be no different. The key to success is building a reliable base upon which to develop.

The same applies to the hardware with which the car is designed, built and tested. Jaguar Racing's Milton Keynes factory is being updated all the time, as is the team's wind tunnel at nearby Bicester. With the assistance of Pi Research (part of the Premier Performance Division, alongside Jaguar Racing and Cosworth Racing), the control systems within the tunnel are state-of-the-art, while the rolling road itself and various other ancillary facilities connected to its operation will be updated steadily throughout 2003 and beyond.

Cosworth Racing has been creating state-of-the-art engines for F1 for many years -- both for Jaguar Racing and for its customer teams -- and the all-new 90-degree V10 that will power R4 is a class-leading design. Other rival manufacturers reputedly have bigger operational budgets than Cosworth Racing, but in terms of 'bangs per buck', Cosworth Racing is surely at the top of the league. The new CR-5 engine is more powerful and lighter than last year's CR-4, and boasts a significantly lower centre of gravity.

In terms of the human structure of an F1 team's technical operation, Jaguar Racing has been equally radical -- again, in the interests of optimising its new engineering-based philosophy. You will notice that the more conventional job titles -- from technical director down -- have not been adopted here. Instead of a technical director, Jaguar Racing has appointed an engineering director and a chief engineer. The technical operation of an F1 team has over the past five-to-10 years become so involved, so complex, so multifarious; each year, more areas of technical activity -- controls, electronics, composites and so on -- are being added to the way an F1 car is designed, built and tested. As a result, the traditional technical director's role is rapidly becoming untenable -- and therefore undoable by any one individual, however expert, experienced or hard-working he or she might be.

At Jaguar Racing, therefore, two people will henceforth fulfil the technical director's role: Ian Pocock (engineering director) and Malcolm Oastler (chief engineer). Ian will look after all the management, administrative, personnel-related, financial, budgetary, marketing and strategic aspects of the role, while Malcolm will concentrate on the technical operation. Again, the engineering director's job description might appear decidedly unglitzy, certainly not particularly glamorous. Again, no one at Jaguar Racing is about to apologise for that. Technical management is every bit as vital as those apocryphal 'eureka moments' via which engineers can apparently conceive the 'magic bullets' that make good racing cars great. Central to this culture of good, solid technical management at Jaguar Racing will be an accent on responsibility culture rather than blame culture.

Everyone involved in the technical operation at Jaguar Racing now knows precisely what they are responsible for. But, more than that, they have been made aware that, although mistakes are always regrettable, they are also inevitable; the important thing, when a mistake is made, is to honestly and rigorously establish how and why it was made, and then to put in place soundly tested systems designed to prevent it ever being made again.

Last but not least, Jaguar Racing will field two new drivers in 2003 -- Mark Webber (26) and Antonio Pizzonia (22). Both are young; both are quick; both are keen. But, more than that, they are absolutely cognisant and supportive of the engineering-based cultural shift described above. They have made it their business, to use a bit of marketing-speak, to 'get with the programme'. They understand that they are employees, and their jobs involve a lot more than doing the heroic bit in the cockpit. They are willing to work hard -- in terms of marketing, in terms of PR, but most important of all, in terms of the technical input they are expected to provide. They have been selected with this in mind.

-jaguar-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Antonio Pizzonia , Richard Parry-Jones
Teams Ferrari , Jaguar Racing