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CR>R5 into L3- 100 Finish
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Ford announced that 2004 is their last season in Formula 1.
Jaguar and Cosworth are up for sale.
Will Ford drop the Rallye program next?
We know that there has been cuts. Duval will be (as for now) unemployed, next to Webber and Klien.

Whiplash RallyeSport
 

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Jaguar and Ford pull out of Formula One


Reuters / September 17, 2004






LONDON (Reuters) -- Jaguar will pull out of Formula One at the end of 2004, with parent company Ford's engine maker Cosworth also up for sale.

Ford's bombshell announcement on Friday has huge ramifications for the glamour sport, already facing an uncertain future with carmakers threatening to establish a rival championship. Cosworth also supplies engines to the struggling Jordan and Minardi teams.

Ford earlier announced a reorganization of its loss-making Jaguar car division, with plans to cut 1,150 jobs from its main plant in Coventry, England.

"We (Ford) are withdrawing from Formula One at the end of the season," Ford vice-president Richard Parry-Jones told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Parry-Jones, in charge of Ford's F1 program, said the U.S. car giant could no longer make a compelling business case for any of its brands to compete in Formula One and had taken the "difficult decision" to quit.

He said Jaguar could not compete dollar-for-dollar with German rivals BMW and Mercedes, partners to Williams and McLaren, and it was not in Jaguar's long-term interests to be at the back end of the grid.

World champions Ferrari, the team of Germany's all-conquering Michael Schumacher, and new arrivals Toyota have estimated budgets in excess of $200 million a year.

"Our focus now is on finishing the 2004 season and securing the future of the F1 business under new ownership," he said, adding that there were a number of interested parties.

He could not guarantee a sale would go ahead. "If it does not, we would be forced to face a closure scenario but we're not thinking about that at the moment," he said.

TOO EXPENSIVE

"I think both Jaguar Racing and Cosworth are both very attractive," said Parry-Jones.

"The Formula One team is very lean and efficient. For those who do want to get into F1, there is no better opportunity than a blue chip team like this."

One of the most evocative names in motorsport but better known as a Le Mans sports car marque, Jaguar entered Formula One in 2000 after Ford took over the Stewart team founded by three times world champion Jackie Stewart.

Parry-Jones would not comment on the future of Ford's world rally championship team or involvement in other branches of motorsport worldwide.

He said the sport, where most of the revenues go to commercial rights holding company SLEC set up by Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone, had simply become too costly.

"It is so expensive to be successful in Formula One," he said. "The money the sport generates is not distributed equitably to the various stakeholders."

Parry-Jones said progress on a fairer share-out had been too slow and Ford's decision was irrevocable, even if Ecclestone were to offer more of the revenues.

"This is a clear decision," he said. "The opportunity for that to happen is behind us."

He said he had spoken to Jordan and Minardi, reassuring them that this year's engine contracts would be respected.

Jaguar putting their team on the market could also reduce the chances of Jordan, the target of much recent takeover speculation, finding a new owner.

EVOCATIVE NAMES

Jaguar have had a turbulent four seasons. They are yet to win a grand prix and going through numerous changes of leadership since Stewart stood down as the first team principal before the start of the 2000 season.

This year the Milton Keynes-based team have operated on a tight budget, bringing in much-needed funds by signing Red Bull-backed Austrian rookie Christian Klien to partner Australian Mark Webber.

They are seventh in the 10-team championship, a point ahead of Toyota, with three races remaining.

Ford's involvement in Formula One spans decades. Their engines powered Lotus to the 1968 constructors' championship and subsequently won titles with teams such as Matra, Tyrrell, McLaren and Williams.

They have won 176 races since 1967 as an engine provider.
 
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