Monday, October 25, 2004

F1 -- Buh-Bye Jaguar

Jaguar's final F1 race could not have ended in a more fitting fashion, with the two team cars coming together, ending the day for one (Webber) and ruining it for the other (Klien). In the end, Jaguar just couldn't get out of its own way. Jaguar entered F1 in 1999, when it purchased the remains of Stewart Grand Prix, the legendary Jackie Stewart's short-lived foray into team ownership. I thought Jaguar was going to come into its own in 2000 when it lured one of my racing heros, Bobby Rahal, across the pond to manage its racing operations. Alas, Bobby was the victim of the bickering that is the only constant in F1. All told, Jaguar managed to secure a mere two podium finishes in its 84 Grands Prix (Monaco 2001, Monza 2002), zero pole positions, and zero fastlaps. Indeed, Jaguar never managed to lead so much as a single lap of the World Championship -- something of an (ignoble) accomplishment in its own right. Jaguar is now hopeful that it will sell its racing operations in time for its legacy to hit the grid in Melbourne, March 3-6, 2005. Rumor is that an American investment operation is interested, but Red Bull looks to be the most likely buyer. We'll see.