Ford has announced that Jaguar will be withdrawn from Formula One at the end of the 2004 season and the F1 business will be put up for sale. It was thought that the team might be rebranded as FordF1 for 2005 but now the parent company has decided...
Ford has announced that Jaguar will be withdrawn from Formula One at the end of the 2004 season and the F1 business will be put up for sale. It was thought that the team might be rebranded as FordF1 for 2005 but now the parent company has decided its F1 interests are no longer viable.
"Jaguar's presence in Formula One has been a valuable marketing and brand awareness platform particularly outside our main markets of the US and the UK," said Chairman and CEO of Jaguar Joe Greenwell. "However it was our collective view that it is time for Jaguar Cars to focus 100% on our core business."
Ford said in a statement: "After a thorough review over many months Ford Motor Company has decided it can no longer make a compelling business case for any of its brands to compete in Formula One."
"Having reached this decision our focus has turned to securing the best future for our Formula One businesses and our employees in these businesses going forward. We are therefore putting our Formula One businesses up for sale."
If the F1 business is not sold, the team would be forced to fold, although Ford vice president Richard Parry Jones hopes that will not happen. "If it does not (get sold), we would be forced to face a closure scenario but we're not thinking about that at the moment," he said.
Cosworth is also to be sold and in regard to Minardi and Jordan, to whom Cosworth supplies engines, Parry Jones said: "Supplying subsidised engines for teams is no longer possible. We have talked to Jordan and Minardi and we intend to work with them to find a solution."
Jaguar debuted in F1 in 2000 after Ford took over the Stewart team founded by former champion Jackie Stewart. Great success was predicted but Jaguar's best result to date was third -- at Monaco in 2001 with Eddie Irvine, and at Monza in 2002, also Irvine.
Of the current Jaguar drivers, Mark Webber is leaving to join Williams next year and Christian Klien had hoped to be retained -- but with Ford's announcement it remains to be seen if the team will survive in some form.
Parry Jones hinted that there are parties interested in buying and said Jaguar will keep working hard for the remaining three races. "Our focus now is on finishing the 2004 season and securing the future of the F1 business under new ownership," he commented.
"I think both Jaguar Racing and Cosworth are both very attractive. The Formula One team is very lean and efficient. For those who do want to get into F1, there is no better opportunity than a blue chip team like this."