Marketing chiefs at the Jaguar and Jordan Formula One teams have admitted they are worried about the state of the sport following the removal of the British Grand Prix from next year’s schedule and the high-profile withdrawal of Jaguar team-owner Ford.
In particular, there is a question mark over the future of Jaguar, which was put up for sale last month by Ford. The manufacturer’s withdrawal also throws doubt on the Jordan and Minardi teams, both of which use Ford engines.
Jaguar F1 head of business development Mark Gallagher admits that the team “will definitely lose sponsorship” because of the decision. He says the timing of the Ford announcement was bad “as it coincided with decisions by two existing sponsors to renew and one to sign as a new sponsor – and none of them did”.
He adds: “The other teams are going to pick over the bones of the team, of course, but many sponsors are showing faith. We are very confident there is a future for the team.” Gallagher says Jaguar needs to find an owner by the end of October, as well as a new engine supplier, although he is hopeful the team will achieve both.
Jordan chief marketing officer Mike Hall-Taylor says the “fluid” state of Formula One means making future plans is difficult. The team is in advanced talks with potential owners, he says, with a decision expected on the future of the team as early as next week.
Sponsorship experts say that British teams are struggling to find domestic sponsorship, with the likelihood that teams and tracks will be moved to the Middle or Far East to find commercial support.