Motor Racing: Irvine spearheads Jaguar's grand prix return

JAGUAR, THE most evocative name in British motor racing, formally joined the Formula One fold yesterday and confirmed an appropriately all- UK driver line-up in Eddie Irvine and Johnny Herbert.

Stewart-Ford will become Jaguar Racing at the end of the season and the fabled Big Cat, perhaps the only challenger to the emotional status of Ferrari's Prancing Horse, will be unleashed on grand prix racing in Australia next March.

Jackie Stewart, who sold his team to Ford, parent company of Jaguar, for a reported pounds 60m, will stay on as chairman and his son, Paul, will continue as chief operating officer. The announcement at the Frankfurt motor show marks the end and the beginning of eras. Ford are the most successful engine makers in Formula One history, with 174 grand prix wins and 13 world drivers' championships, and it is a momentous decision to withdraw the blue oval from motor-racing's premier category.

However, the prospect of embarking on the new millennium in the British racing green of Jaguar proved irresistible. Seven times winners of the Le Mans 24-hour classic and twice world sports car champions, the Coventry marque now takes on the likes of McLaren-Mercedes and Ferrari for motor racing's ultimate prize.

Irvine, still embroiled in the championship contest as a Ferrari driver, is considered the forceful leader required for this bold venture. He, in turn, relishes the release from serving as No 2 to Michael Schumacher after four seasons at Maranello. The Ulsterman, who has a three-year contract understood to be worth at least pounds 15m, said: "I'm overjoyed. I've been waiting for this opportunity for the past two years. I'm lucky to be involved in such a fantastic project. Through my experience in the rebuilding of Ferrari, I believe I can make a significant contribution to Jaguar Racing."

That is no less than his new employers expect. Dr Wolfgang Reitzle, chairman of Jaguar, said: "In signing Eddie we have secured services of a dynamic driver for Jaguar's exciting new Formula One programme. Eddie has proven with Ferrari this year that he is a winner and we are delighted to have a driver of his calibre. Eddie and Johnny will be a formidable combination."

Clearly Ford and Jaguar are intent on a serious commitment to a formula that is attracting an ever lengthening list of heavyweight manufacturers. Next season sees also the return of BMW, in tandem with Williams. Mercedes, partners of McLaren, provides the benchmark.

Stewart, associated with Ford for more than 30 years, said of Irvine: "He has come of age. He has matured this season and has driven some exceptional races. Eddie is very adept at setting up a car. He will be a valuable asset to the team."

Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Sport
sportVan Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Life and Style
Martha Stewart wrote an opinion column for Time magazine this week titled “Why I Love My Drone”
lifeLifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot... to take photos of her farm
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
filmReview: Sometimes the immersive experience was so good it blurred the line between fiction and reality
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Environment
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
News
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

VB.Net Developer - £40k - Surrey - WANTED ASAP

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...

Digitakl Business Analyst, Slough

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...

Mechanical Estimator: Nuclear Energy - Sellafield

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Car, Medical, Fuel + More!: Progressive Recruitmen...

Dynamics NAV Techno-Functional Consultant

£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: An absolutely o...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices