Before the start of last year's Formula One World Championship, Jaguar Racing went back to basics. Several seasons of disappointing results led to a root and branch restructuring of the team and its senior management. With that change came a new, engineering-led philosophy; a new way of working that promised a rigorous reappraisal of the way in which every department operated and also hinted at the manner in which the entire organization would function in the future.
The new structure and processes within the team also allowed the heads of every department - aerodynamics, design, vehicle science and vehicle performance - to begin work much earlier on this year's R5 car. This was a luxury that had rarely been enjoyed at Jaguar Racing, where previous changes in key posts had affected the lead times for building new cars.
Under the guidance of David Pitchforth and Tony Purnell, Chief Executive Officer of the Premier Performance Division (Jaguar Racing, Cosworth Racing and Pi Research) every department is being nurtured and taught to communicate more effectively with the rest of the group. Today the aerodynamics department (under the guidance of Ben Agathangelou) is twice the size it was just two seasons ago. It also enjoys the use of a state-of-the-art wind tunnel in nearby Bicester and a second tunnel has been purchased in Bedford to put even more tools at their disposal.
Jaguar Racing's newest department, under the leading of Chris Hammond is using the resources of the entire Ford Motor Company (Jaguar Racing's parent company) to assist with development in the future. His ambition is to be able to simulate every single system on a racing car before it is ever built for real, an aim that should dramatically improve reliability and performance.
The other Premier Performance Division companies are also seeing the benefits of last year's changes. Cosworth Racing has recently appointed experienced new senior managers to help deal with the major rule changes for this year's championship that permit teams to use only one engine per car for an entire race weekend. Cosworth Racing's record in Formula One is simply unparalleled and the all-new CR-6 90-degree V10 engine is another wonderful example of their craft. This season the engine will be used by Jaguar Racing as well as Cosworth Racing's customer teams and early signs in testing show that despite the tough new rules the CR-6 will live up to the highest expectations.
Pi Research's role cannot be underplayed either. As the world's leading manufacturer of racing telemetry and wind tunnel control systems, Pi Research has provided state-of-the-art components for the aerodynamics department to further update the Bicester wind tunnel.
Jaguar Racing also has two of the most exciting drivers in the Formula One World Championship for 2004. Australian Mark Webber joined the team last year and was one of the revelations of the season. His professionalism, maturity and blinding speed in qualifying had people comparing him with Michael Schumacher but it was his phenomenal work ethic that won the hearts of everyone within Jaguar Racing.
Mark's new teammate is Austrian Christian Klien. A Formula One rookie in 2004, Klien is already turning heads thanks to the ease with which he appears to have adapted to the top level of motorsport. While expectations of both drivers are naturally high, Jaguar Racing's early requirements of Klien are simply that he comes to terms with the engineering-based culture that now exists within the team and provides valuable technical input to help further improve the car.
With a new driver, new rules and on-going restructuring programme, Jaguar Racing does not suddenly expect to make the leap onto the podium in 2004. The new R5 should be a successful evolution of last year's car and as such we expect it to indicate clearly that the team is moving in the right direction. Engineering excellence and best practice will remain the buzzwords as we continue to build for future success.
Slowly but surely all the pieces of the jigsaw are falling into place. But there will be no complacency within Jaguar Racing. CEO Tony Purnell believes that the race team is only 30 percent of the way there, while the hard work at Cosworth Racing and Pi Research is only just beginning. What can be said is that the process that began before the start of last season was correct and it will continue. Only then will Jaguar Racing see its fortunes continue to improve as it moves towards its ultimate aim.