SICK OF IT ALL
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Dallas, TX
Location: Dallas, TX
Sportbike: missing my RC51
Years Riding: 9+
How you found us: drove by Strats one night & stopped in
Big news in F1. Ford is pulling out
LONDON (AFP) - Formula One was thrown into turmoil on Friday after US auto giant Ford announced that it was pulling out of the sport from the end of this season.
The shock announcement came as Ford confirmed it would be ending production of Jaguar cars at a plant in Coventry, central England, with the loss of more than 1,000 jobs because of weak demand for the up-market brand.
The move means Ford will be withdrawing its backing for the Jaguar Racing Formula One team but will also have profound implications for the Jordan and Minardi outfits, who are currently supplied with subsidised engines by Ford's Cosworth unit.
The news came out of the blue. Earlier this week, managing director David Pitchforth had voiced confidence that the team would receive an increased budget for the 2005 season and most pundits had simply expected Jaguar Racing to be rebranded as a Ford team.
Jaguar's chairman and chief executive, Joe Greenwell, said: "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."
Providing Jaguar with the resources required to allow it to compete on a level playing field with leading manufacturer teams like Ferrari and Renault would have required a major cash injection that Ford would have found difficult to justify at a time when it is cutting 1,000 jobs.
Ford's vice president Richard Parry-Jones summed up the company's dilemma.
"There was no compelling business case to continue the operation. We have to be able to win and we just can't justify the spending," he said.
World champions Ferrari spend around 600 million dollars a year while Jaguar's 2004 budget was estimated at around 180 million dollars and their performances reflect their limited funding.
Australian driver Mark Webber secured their best finish this season -- sixth at the German Grand Prix in July.
His future will not be affected by Friday's announcement as he has already agreed a switch to Williams-BMW for next season, where he will race alongside Britain's Jenson Button.
Jaguar Racing has been owned by Ford since 1999, when they took over the struggling team of former Formula One champion Jackie Stewart.
Current Jaguar team boss Tony Purnell is believed to be interested in a buyout of the team and finding someone to take over is not expected to be difficult.
Ensuring Jordan and Minardi's continued viability may however prove more difficult.
"Supplying subsidised engines for teams is no longer possible," Parry-Jones confirmed. "We have talked to Jordan and Minardi and we intend to work with them to find a solution."
Backmarkers Minardi said they will be discussing the future of their engine deal with suppliers Ford-owned Cosworth Racing.
"Minardi has enjoyed a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Cosworth Racing over the years, and in light of todays announcement, we will be working closely with Cosworth representatives to find a workable solution regarding engine supply arrangements for next season," said Minardi boss Paul Stoddart.
"We are confident of being able to arrive at a suitable arrangement."
Jordan chief Eddie Jordan said his team will examine their future options.
"Were saddened by the news as weve enjoyed competing against Jaguar Racing and we have shared the same engine partner for the last two years," said Jordan.
"Jordan will presently analyse its position with regard to engines".
Geez, Ford is so damn short sited. I still don't know if my company, HSBC, will be sponsoring a car in F1 or not.
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