Purnell explains Wilson decision

Premier Performance CEO Tony Purnell gives his reasoning behind hiring Justin Wilson for Jaguar Q: When did it become obvious to you that you wanted Justin? Justin Wilson poses with the Jaguar F1 car after his transfer to Jaguar Racing...

Premier Performance CEO Tony Purnell gives his reasoning behind hiring Justin Wilson for Jaguar

Q: When did it become obvious to you that you wanted Justin?

Justin Wilson poses with the Jaguar F1 car after his transfer to Jaguar Racing from Minardi at the Jaguar Racing factory in Milton Keynes.
Photo by Jaguar Cars and Wieck Media Services, Inc..
TP: "One of the key things that made us side towards a decision like this was realising that 5th spot in the championship was achievable. We set our target this year very modestly that 7th was a realistic target and we didn't see going much beyond that. Then we had a string of good performances and 5th looked entirely achievable if we held it together for the rest of the year and everybody likes to look at the last race but the way to look at things objectively is over time and look at the sort of statistics we're getting. And we thought that our chances of getting points would be improved by this change and that's why we made the decision."

Q: How long are you going to give Justin to make an impression?

TP: "Certainly we wouldn't have great expectations for Justin's first race in that it's a bit brutal when you haven't had any real opportunity to integrate with the team. Dave (Pitchforth) came up with the analogy that Hockenheim would be winter testing for Justin and Hungary would be Australia and I think it's an awful lot to ask for anyone to perform in those circumstances but he did pretty well with Minardi and he wouldn't be here if he hadn't impressed with the Minardi team.So there is a degree of expectation for him to show his ability in the races before the end of the year.

Jos is a pretty good driver, well established, no slouch and a very good racer. In fact, Jos had the reputation of being a poor qualifier and a very good racer and the press has written a handful of articles about how well Justin has raced this year and his qualifying has been neck and neck with Jos, so I have to say that has impressed me. Paul Stoddart is also a pretty helpful chap and is no fool when it comes to drivers and he actually went to great lengths to tell me how Justin was every bit as good as Mark. He didn't set out any mega deals on this one and really wanted the best for Justin, so I think Justin owes him a debt of gratitude."

Q: How strong are Justin's chances of securing a full time drive for 2004?

TP: "I would say they're equal, if not better than most. If you're sitting in the seat you're always in a good position. Certainly I think we'll have made the decision before the end of the season."

Q: How have you been able to establish that Justin will be able to handle the step up in competitiveness from Minardi?

TP: "I did do a little asking around. Often I find the best way of asking what a driver's like is asking the mechanics and the chances are that Justin hasn't changed as a person since he was racing F3000 and there are lots of F3000 mechanics still around with the teams so you spend some time chatting to these people and you get a flavour for their personalities. The only negative I ever heard about Justin was that he was to tall and that's pretty good as motor racing is such a critical thing.

People like to point out strengths and weaknesses but I didn't really get anything negative about Justin at all. If you have a driver that is in control of the vehicle and in control of themselves you've got a driver that's good for this team and from what I gather, Justin fits this mould in the same way that Mark does and Mark is really first rate in all these things. I'm very much hoping that Justin will be the same."

-jaguar-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Justin Wilson , Paul Stoddart
Teams Minardi , Jaguar Racing