Jaguar demise 'inevitable': Ecclestone

Bernie Ecclestone believes that Ford pulling the plug on Jaguar's F1 aspirations was inevitable, as the team didn't have the financial resources to compete at the front of the grid. Ford announced on September 17th that Jaguar would be withdrawn...

Bernie Ecclestone believes that Ford pulling the plug on Jaguar's F1 aspirations was inevitable, as the team didn't have the financial resources to compete at the front of the grid. Ford announced on September 17th that Jaguar would be withdrawn from F1 at the end of the 2004 season and the team will be offered for sale.

"It was inevitable and wasn't really a shock to me," Ecclestone told Reuters. "They couldn't really afford to be running around at the back of the grid with the likes of Jordan. They should have been up front with Ferrari and BMW (Williams), the top teams."

"I don't think they had the necessary financial investment to be competitive and in my opinion they shouldn't have run this year at all."

Ford's move came as part of a shake-up of the Jaguar brand, which will also see production of road cars cease at Coventry in the UK with the loss of many jobs.

"They obviously have problems and they're closing a factory so it would have been a bit cheeky to keep the Formula One factory going in those circumstances," Ecclestone added.

Ford vice president Richard Parry Jones hopes a buyer will be found for the team and Ecclestone thinks that may happen, but the problem of F1 being so expensive to run will still exist.

"You never know, I know there are people interested but I don't know whether they will be able to make the necessary financial investment any more than Ford could," he said.

"Formula One is very expensive business these days and we need to reduce the amount of money it takes to be competitive. Teams could still spend whatever they wanted, but the amount of money needed to compete would be less."

Cosworth is also to be sold as part of Ford's restructuring and this may cause problems for Minardi and Jordan, teams that Cosworth supplies. Minardi has a contract with Cosworth for next season and is confident that a solution will be found. "It may not be a Ford Cosworth engine but it will be a something Cosworth," said team boss Paul Stoddart.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Paul Stoddart , Bernie Ecclestone
Teams Ferrari , Williams , Minardi , Jordan