Newey May Join Jaguar

McLaren chief designer Adrian Newey may jump ship to join old friend Bobby Rahal at Jaguar Racing in 2002, though neither team will confirm the reports.

Reports run throughout the British press, Autosport Magazine, and Reuters news service call the deal “imminent,” but official word is closer to “maybe.”

“For Jaguar Racing to be truly contenders for the world championship, we need the best people and that includes the best designers,” said Jaguar spokesperson Nav Sidhu.

Newey’s contract with McLaren expires in August, 2002.

“Adrian has got more than a year to run on his contract with McLaren,” said a McLaren spokesperson. “We are currently negotiating with Adrian in good faith - and, based upon what he has told us, we don't believe he has signed for Jaguar Racing.”

Newey was the chief designer for TrueSports Racing in the CART FedEx Series the late 1980s, a team with which Rahal won three CART Series Championships. Rumors initially began circulating that Rahal would approach Newey, soon after he took the job at Jaguar Racing.

"Finding good people is difficult wherever you are,” he told RacingOne last September.

When asked specifically about Newey last September, Rahal smiled and said, “that would include designers, certainly, it includes a lot of people. I don't have any easy solutions.”

Newey, 42, has been with McLaren since 1998, when the team won back-to-back world championships with driver Mika Hakkinen. Prior to that, Newey was also Williams technical director from 1990 to 1997, a period when that team was dominant and won four drivers titles and five constructors crowns.

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