Malcolm Oastler, Jaguar's Chief Engineer, explains why he decided to take on a full time role rather than consultant. Q: You spent most of 2002 as a freelance consultant engineer to Jaguar Racing, working 20 hours a week; what made you decie to...
Malcolm Oastler, Jaguar's Chief Engineer, explains why he decided to take on a full time role rather than consultant.
Q: You spent most of 2002 as a freelance consultant engineer to Jaguar Racing, working 20 hours a week; what made you decie to take on a senior, full-time salaried position for 2003?
"The single most important factor that made me decide to take on this job was that the senior new arrivals at Jaguar Racing are of the right calibre when it comes to engineering best practice. And I guess the chief engineer role I've taken on is very much an engineering-based one. All the other stuff that has traditionally gone into a technical director's role -- the management, the admin, the personnel issues, dealing with sponsors, dealing with media, everything that isn't strictly engineering, in fact -- will be taken care of by Ian Pocock [engineering director, Jaguar Racing] and others."
"Ian is a highly capable engineer, but he's also fabulously competent at all the management-type stuff that I'm not. Now, don't get me wrong: proper management needs doing. It's vitally important. Crucial, in fact. And I'm into people, and I've always tried to make sure that everyone I've ever worked with was as well-managed as possible. But I guess I'm like most blokes in the sense that that side of things isn't the bit I enjoy most, to be honest. The bit I enjoy most is the engineering bit, plain and simple. That's what suits me best. That's what I'm good at."
Q: What is it about Jaguar's new management that makes them "of the right calibre"?
"Because they are! From Richard Parry-Jones [head of Formula One, Ford Motor Company] down, they're all no-nonsense engineers, with no egos, no hidden agendas. Tony Purnell, David Pitchforth... all of them. They just want to get the job done with engineering best practice at the forefront of all development."
Q: How much involvement have you had in the design of the R4?
"Well, the days of one man designing a racing car from tip to toe are long gone -- I last did that in 1987, in Formula Ford 2000! Ever since then, the process of car design has been increasingly a team process. And, besides, I was only a freelance consultant to Jaguar Racing in 2002, so I didn't have that much involvement in the conceptual side of R4 at all. But in terms of making it the soundly engineered racing car it needs to be, I've had a reasonably significant role, certainly, yes. And we're intending that R5, R6 and so on will be soundly engineered derivatives of R4."