Friday August 24th, 2001
The Jaguar Racing team confirmed on Friday Bobby Rahal will leave the Milton Keynes outfit on amicable terms following a meeting with Wolfgang Reitzle, Ford's president of the Premier Automotive Group.
However the American, who joined the team back at the end of the 2000 season after a dismal debut season for the Ford-owned team, will continue to work with the Premier Automotive Group and Ford Motor Company in the U.S.
"It has been a tremendous privilege to play a key role in the formative stages of the development of Jaguar Racing," said Rahal . "I have truly enjoyed the time I have spent with the many talented people at Jaguar Racing and I wish them all the best for the future.
"I would stress this is an amicable parting and I look forward to continuing my other business relationships with the Premier Automotive Group and Ford Motor Company in the U.S."
As announced on Thursday by Atlas F1, Austrian Niki Lauda, CEO of the Premier Performance Division, will assume the position of team principal at Jaguar.
"I would like to thank Bobby for the contribution he has made to Jaguar Racing," Lauda said. "Following this development my focus will now be 100 per cent on the Jaguar F1 project."
Lauda was appointed by Reitzle last February to oversee Jaguar's Formula One activities and there have been regular media reports of disagreements between him and Rahal as they jockeyed for position in the team's complex management structure.
The latest disagreement arose out of newspaper reports that Rahal had offered Jaguar driver Eddie Irvine to the Jordan team after they fired Heinz-Harald Frentzen last month. The American, appointed team principal in December 2000, said he had merely been joking with the Jordan boss Eddie Jordan.
Jaguar have scored only five points so far in 2001, only one more than in their debut season last year.
Published at 08:34:59 GMT