Jaguar's Formula One history has been fairly turbulent, both on the track and off, but 2003 saw the team reap some rewards and show progress from its earlier years. Seventh in the constructors' standings equals Jaguar's previous best, last year,...
Jaguar's Formula One history has been fairly turbulent, both on the track and off, but 2003 saw the team reap some rewards and show progress from its earlier years. Seventh in the constructors' standings equals Jaguar's previous best, last year, but this season the team had double the points: Mark Webber scored all bar one of the Leaping Cat's 18 points total.
"The highlight of the season for me was the way that everyone responded to the changes that we made," he told the Jaguar website. "The changes in management, the big restructuring from the end of last year and the loss of people put everybody down but even with all of the changes, the team has done a fantastic job to develop R4."
"We did suffer from reliability issues because of those changes but we didn't have the same reliability issues more than once and learned about the car and moved forward. So that's the highlight -- the attitude, the team spirit and the fight that we've ended up with."
However, it's not all been plain sailing. While the R4 was undoubtedly an improvement on the previous chassis, and progress was made in winter testing, unreliability was a problem in the early season. Pitchforth admits that things could have been done better if there had been more time.
"I suppose the big lows were some of the early season reliability issues," he said. "I take that quite personally because I was part of the R4 project and it wasn't for a lack of trying on anyone's part, it was just that we started the car too late."
"Though we thought we were doing a good pre-season test programme, in hindsight we put to much emphasis on certain tests and then those tests didn't go as planned because of other issues and we just ran out of time."
Jaguar lost its fight for fifth in the standings this season after a late resurgence by BAR and Sauber, finishing one behind the Swiss squad and eight behind BAR after a double points finish for the Brackley team in Japan. Mark Webber is contracted to Jaguar for 2004 but the other race seat has yet to be confirmed.