||[26 Nov 2002|04:46pm]
Niki Lauda has been dismissed as team principal of the Jaguar Formula One team. The 53-year-old three-times world champion took over from American Bobby Rahal in August 2001.Despite hefty backing from US car giant Ford, Jaguar have continued to underperform, finishing seventh overall this year. They have also announced plans to axe between 40 and 60 staff.
"Niki Lauda is relinquishing his role as head of Premier Performance Division and Jaguar Racing," said Richard Parry-Jones, head of Ford's Formula One programme. "I have asked Niki to fulfil the role of special advisor to me and I very much hope he will accept the post. "I would not agree that Niki has failed in any way. "The most important thing (in Formula One) is technical depth and Niki Lauda, for whom I have enormous respect, does not have it." Tony Parnell will take over at PPD but a decision is still to be made on who will become Jaguar's fifth team principal since January 2000. Lauda admitted he was surprised by the decision.
"There was no criticism of the way I work, or whatever," Lauda told Austrian radio.
"But what you've got to know is that in England things work differently. Britons do have their unique way of solving problems. "They saw away at the legs of a chair - nobody talks about anything because they of course all stick together - until they get what they want. "I am neither an engineer nor an Englishman and that's why it's easy for me to accept (being replaced). "I've now got to consider whether to accept their offer of continuing to work for Ford."