Second Aussie at Jaguar - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Second Aussie at Jaguar

By Robert Grant 12/12/2002 06:16:44 AM Comments (0)

Mark Webber is set to be joined by another Australian in the quest to make the Jaguar Formula One team a winner.

Malcolm Oastler, the founding technical director of British American Racing, is reportedly joining Jaguar Racing as its new chief engineer.

Oastler has already been working part-time with Jaguar since leaving BAR earlier this year but a report in Auto Action magazine said that he would become full-time in the new year.

The move is part of a massive restructuring of the Ford-owned team, which has made more than 70 employees redundant in the past month - including its chief, triple world champion Niki Lauda.

Jaguar has already postponed the launch of its new model car for the world championship season starting at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 6-9.

The launch had been scheduled for January 13 but no new date has been fixed.

Webber, 26, joined Jaguar after an impressive debut season with Minardi which included fifth place on debut in Melbourne last March.

He has been among the quickest drivers in pre-season testing in Barcelona, Spain.

Oastler, 43, was a racer in the Formula Ford junior category in Australia in the early 1980s, finishing second in the national series and earning the rookie of the year title in 1983.

He gained an engineering degree with first class honours from the NSW University of Technology and moved to Europe in the mid-80s, soon foregoing his driving ambitions to concentrate on design.

Working with the Reynard racing car construction company, he designed cars that won many races in Formula Ford, Formula 3000 and IndyCar.

In 1995 cars he created won the Indianapolis 500 and the CART championship. They were driven by Jacques Villeneuve, the Canadian who was soon to switch to F1 and win the world title with the Williams team in 1997.

When Villeneuve's manager Craig Pollock launched BAR, with Villeneuve as one of its drivers, Oastler was brought in, via Reynard, as the design chief.

However, after only two podium finishes in BAR's first three years, he departed this year following the replacement of Pollock by world rallying supremo and Prodrive performance car chief David Richards.

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