Ford Motor Company to acquire Stewart Grand Prix DEARBORN, Mich., June 10, 1999 -- Ford Motor Company has agreed to purchase Stewart Grand Prix to strengthen its involvement in the world's premier form of auto racing. "Racing provides our ...
Ford Motor Company to acquire Stewart Grand Prix
DEARBORN, Mich., June 10, 1999 -- Ford Motor Company has agreed to purchase Stewart Grand Prix to strengthen its involvement in the world's premier form of auto racing.
"Racing provides our company with a great opportunity to connect with consumers in an exciting atmosphere, pilot new technology, develop engineering talent, and strengthen our brands globally," said Ford's chief executive officer and president Jac Nasser. "Ford Motor Company has a long and very successful record in auto racing. Our latest move will allow us to take our performance to the next level."
Since 1967, Ford-powered cars and drivers have won 174 grand prix victories and 13 world driver championships - a record. In 1996, Ford began a partnership with Stewart Grand Prix, operated by three-times world champion Jackie Stewart and his son Paul. Jackie won all his world titles in Ford-powered cars. The Stewart-Ford Grand Prix team began competing in 1997. So far this season, it has had a top three 'podium' finish (at the San Marino GP in Italy) and has led its first race (in Brazil).
Ford's chief technical officer and vice-president for research and vehicle technology, Neil Ressler, who is also a director of Stewart Grand Prix, said: "Our goal at Ford is to race to win. By buying our own team, and applying the company's comprehensive technical resources to it, I believe the Stewart-Ford team will become increasingly more successful. In addition, Formula One provides hands-on engineering experience for many of our youngest and most talented engineers. It teaches them to be bold, to be imaginative, and to be nimble thinking. It also develops their leadership qualities, because in racing you have to take the initiative. Ultimately, these invaluable skills are passed on to the most important people of all, our customers."
Group vice-president of marketing, sales and service, Bob Rewey, said: "Racing provides a business link, and an emotional link, to consumers worldwide. F1 racing is the world's largest global TV sport, enabling us to connect with customers in just about every country in the world."
Said Jackie Stewart: "Ford's increased commitment to Formula One is great news for the team. To be competitive in Formula One these days, and to win the great benefits available, a team needs strong financial and technical support. Ford can offer that."
Ford has no plans to change the team personnel, and Stewart Grand Prix will continue to be based in Milton Keynes, England. Jackie Stewart will stay on as chairman and chief executive officer and Paul Stewart will remain as deputy chairman.
* Auto racing has played an important role for Ford Motor Company for nearly 100 years. * Today, Ford is more heavily involved in motor sport than any other manufacturer. It is the only auto manufacturer involved in the 'Big Four' racing championships - Formula One, NASCAR, CART and World Rally Championship. This year a Ford Taurus driver leads the NASCAR Winston Cup series, Ford-powered cars have tasted success in the Champ Car/CART series,and a Ford Focus has won two rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship,including the toughest event of all, the Safari Rally in Kenya. * The deal makes Ford one of only two auto makers which run their own Formula One teams. The other is Ferrari, owned by Fiat. * Stewart-Ford driver Rubens Barrichello is currently eighth in the FIA world driver's championship, and the team is sixth in the constructor's championship. * Jackie Stewart won the world driver's championship in 1969, 1971 and 1973. * He drove a Matra-Ford in 1969, and a Tyrrell-Ford in 1971 and 1973. Twenty-five of his 27 F1 victories were won using Ford engines. * Ford's first Formula One race was the 1967 Dutch Grand Prix. Jim Clark drove a Ford Cosworth DFV V8-powered Lotus 49. He won. * The Ford Cosworth DFV engine went on to be the most successful Grand Prix engine of all time. A development of it went on to be equally successful in American Indycar racing. * Ford's most recent world championship victory was in 1994 when Michael Schumacher won the driver's title in a Ford Zetec-R V8-powered Benetton.