Niki Lauda on his new role

Niki Lauda - Questions And Answers Bobby Rahal has left his position at Jaguar Racing and you have now taken over as Team Principal. Why was this change necessary? "The change was necessary because Bobby realised the big...

Niki Lauda - Questions And Answers

Bobby Rahal has left his position at Jaguar Racing and you have now taken over as Team Principal. Why was this change necessary?

"The change was necessary because Bobby realised the big operational differences between his CART business in America and his commitments to Jaguar Racing. At the end of the day, Bobby and I agreed that it was impossible for him to manage both businesses simultaneously. We concluded that his priorities were in the United States and that's what he has gone back to concentrate on."

Why did you take over the running of the team instead of taking on somebody else?

"In my capacity as CEO of the Premiere Performance Division, I already have control over Cosworth Racing and Pi Research and it therefore made sense to extend the responsibility to include completely the running of Jaguar Racing. Besides, who else was there? I have been involved with this Formula One team since the beginning of this year. This has included attendance at every race this season and some test sessions. In other words, my role as team principal is an extension of the responsibility I already had. Whereas before, I was splitting my time between the three companies, I will now focus 100% of my efforts into Jaguar Racing while at the same time exploiting the available resource from Cosworth Racing and Pi Research."

What are your immediate priorities at Jaguar Racing?

"Very simple - to get hands-on experience quickly of running an F1 team. I know what happens on the race track and from my presence at the races this year, I am not too concerned about that aspect. Instead, I will spend most of my time in the short-term understanding our internal processes and figuring out how best to utilise the resources at my disposal. I must do this first before I am well placed to take critical decisions on the running of this team. It will take a little while but we will get there. I want to understand how this team operates as a unit and how I can help make it function better. We have a very good team of people at Milton Keynes and their commitment is to one goal only and it happens to be the same as mine which is to take Jaguar Racing to the front of the grid. Patience is a virtue in life of course, but it's not something we F1 people have too much of. Jaguar is one of the most emotive names in motorsport and I want to press on quickly with pushing the Jaguar name to the forefront of Formula One where it belongs."

What longer-term priorities have you set yourself?

"For me, the longer-term is next year and the Jaguar R3. I have been involved with this project right from day one, but the nature of my role meant that my involvement with the car itself was at arms-length. As team principal, this accountability now rests with me and the 2002 challenger is by far our most pressing task. Outright pace is what we have been lacking this season and that's obviously where the bulk of our focus is. Mark Handford (Chief Aerodynamicist) and John Russell (Chief Designer) have put a lot of hours into next year's car and I want to provide these guys with whatever I can in an effort to accelerate that path. We have a windtunnel next year that will help with the R3's development over the course of the season, but we've had to suffer the handicap of getting this far without a full-time tunnel at our disposal." .......more/

Are you planning on recruiting any senior personnel in the short term?

"Until I have fully understood the role of every person at Jaguar Racing, it's impossible to answer that question. It's not something that I can rule out though."

At the Hungarian Grand Prix, you said that it was too early to comment on the alleged transfer stories of Eddie Irvine going to Jordan Grand Prix in 2002. Have you investigated this matter and if so, what have you discovered?

"I have looked into this matter and I have learned that the stories were correct as published by some media at the time, namely, that Bobby did make an approach to Jordan Grand Prix about Eddie Irvine. Bobby defended the issue by saying it was nothing more than joke, but unfortunately jokes like this with existing drivers do not work very well. I stepped in and ended whatever discussion was taking place at the time."

Does this mean you will not be selling Eddie Irvine to anybody else for 2002?

"Correct and the same applies to Pedro de la Rosa. Both drivers will line-up for Jaguar Racing next season and nothing will change that I can assure you."


Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Eddie Irvine , Pedro de la Rosa , Bobby Rahal , Niki Lauda
Teams Jaguar Racing , Jordan