Friday June 1st, 2001
Adrian Newey, arguably the most influential designer in Formula One, was caught in a tug-of-war on Friday as Jaguar said he was joining them next year and McLaren announced he was staying put. A few hours after Ford-owned Jaguar had trumpeted what constituted a major coup for the team, Newey's current employers poured cold water on the claim.
"McLaren International and Adrian Newey wish to confirm that he will continue with the team beyond the term of his existing contract," McLaren said. They promised a fuller statement later. A spokesperson confirmed that Newey's existing contract expires in August 2002.
Jaguar Racing spokesman Nav Sidhu said his team was waiting to see what that statement might say.
"Jaguar Racing has a legally binding contract with Adrian Newey," he said.
Newey is a key member of the McLaren set up and would be considered a prize signing by any team and particularly for ambitious Jaguar who secured their first podium finish with Eddie Irvine's third place in Monaco last weekend.
Jaguar team boss Bobby Rahal, a close friend of Newey, believes the Briton's arrival will make title contenders of Jaguar, now in their second season in Formula One.
"His (Newey's) influence has dominated the last decade," Rahal said in a statement on Friday. "This new chapter with Jaguar Racing will provide Adrian with an opportunity to take one of the most emotive names in motor racing to the status of Formula One world champions."