Should Tata bring Jaguar back to F1?

2005 Jaguar R5 logo, 470150

Ford have sold Jaguar (and Land Rover) to Indian company Tata for ?ť?ķ1.15bn ($2.3bn). The blue oval ran Jaguar Racing in F1 for five years before selling it to Red Bull in 2004.

As a luxury car manufacturer two of Jaguar’s biggest rivals compete in Formula 1 – BMW and Mercedes. So should Tata bring the leaping cat back to the F1 grid?

Jaguar’s brief time in F1 was not a happy one. Formed from the Stewart Grand Prix outfit that won the 1999 European Grand Prix the green team conspicuously failed to build on that promise.

In 85 races they made it onto the podium just twice, at Monaco in 2001 and Italy in 2002, both with Eddie Irvine.

The team finally looked like making serious progress in 2003 with Mark Webber at the wheel of one of its’ cars who gave them their best qualifying performances – including their only front row start at Malaysia in 2004.

But just as Jaguar were beginning to show promise, Ford cut its funding. They farmed out the second seat in 2004 to Christian Klien for $20m of Red Bull’s cash, before flogging the whole outfit to Dietrich Mateschitz’s company at the end of the year.

Ford’s stewardship of the Jaguar F1 team was shoddy at best and did no justice to a marque of such heritage. But for me it hasn’t diminished the appeal of seeing such a prestigious name in the sport.

And with Red Bull looking to offload Toro Rosso in the near future it could still happen.

Red Bull team information
Scuderia Toro Rosso team information

Jaguar, Shanghai, 2004, 470313

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31 comments on Should Tata bring Jaguar back to F1?

  1. I can’t see it to be honest. The opportunity for tata to get into F1 would have been with Force India .. still, I guess you never know.

    Personally I’d like to see VW/Porsche/Audi take a crack. BMW, Mercedes, Porsche … now that would be a cracking trio to challenge the Ferraris

  2. I’ve written a little about this over the last week.¬† Great minds think alike Keith – my first response was to wonder whether Tata might be interested in an F1 presence.¬† The increase in investment from the Indian sub-continent, having a premium car brand to promote and the Toro Rosso opportunity might come together at the same time.¬† I’ve also had some other thoughts on the Toro Rosso sale, which you can read here: http://talkformula1.blogspot.com/2008/03/toro-rosso-up-for-sale.html

  3. What about a Land Rover F1 team?

  4. Tata are a far more likely buyer of Toro Rosso than the other possibilities suggested.¬† Private buyers do not have the funding to convert STR to a genuine constructor (which is why Mateschitz is getting out – even Red Bull’s finances make running two constructor teams ludicrously non-cost-effective) and so a manufacturer is the only sensible outcome.¬† Tata may be more interested in setting up their own effort than in supporting Mallya’s – in fact, it may suit them very nicely to compete with him.

    I just can’t see VW/Audi being interested anyway – they don’t need F1.

    • peterjarai said on 23rd March 2013, 13:22

      I wood Welcome jaguar Racing TEAM back to F1 With the new Engine factory at the I54 in Wolverhampton so moving Jaguar racing To The I54 Wolverhampton wood be the Best idea for the team. from peter jarai Bushbury

  5. I think VW/Audi is a longshot for sure — BMW didn’t really need f1 either but they ploughed ahead.

  6. Tata already had some presence in F1 through one of their companies, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). They used to write TC and some other software for Ferrari. I think they still do some work for them. So i guess they understand some of the complexities involved in F1 already.

    I fully agree with Clive, that Tata, if and when enters F1 by itself, they will enter as a manufacturer. However, i do not think it to be a very likely proposition for a couple of reasons.
    a) Huge investements will be required even to start in F1. Cost of which may not seem justifiable.
    b) Jaguar already is a winning marque in Le Mans(i know that it was years ago but still). Investment is smaller compared to F1. Plus, it is already a familiar domain, i would tend to think, this would tip the scale in the favour of Le Mans.

    Then again, i have been wrong before and Tata is known to surprise. :D

  7. Andy Wolf said on 27th March 2008, 12:20

    god no

  8. I recognize the Shanghai grandstand seats on that photo :-) I remember being in the taxi on the way to the track¬†in 2004 and reading in the newspaper the announcement of Ford’s F1 exit, leaving Jaguar, Jordan (engines) and Minardi (engines) in trouble …

    Back to Tata – well they would make Bernie happy, he is keen on more manufacturers entering … And Mr. Karthikeyan too, they did sponsor him in Jordan and later in Williams … But in the end it will come down to money. They will need to make Jaguar profitable and if they see the presence in F1 as¬†a¬†good tool to achieve that will go for it.

    When Red Bull bought Jaguar, the bought a constructor. The problem with buying Toro Rosso though is that there is not much there¬†other then F1 presence …¬†no¬†car.¬†

  9. VW/Audi have been rumoured to have prototype F1 programmes on the back burner for years – Joe Saward has written a number of articles on it over the years on grandprix.com.¬† It’s entirely possible that they just like the specualation.¬† However, it’s also conceivable that now that they have gotten Le Mans out of their system they are looking for a fresh challenge – especially now that there seems to be some kind of stability in the technical regs.¬† Although, I have to say, as a company that is interested in technological development, I’m not sure I’d be keen on the engine freeze formula.

    I’m not so sure that the investment needed to turn STR into a fully fledged constructor would be so enormous – it’s not a start-up.¬† Red Bull purchased Minardi lock, stock and barrel and that includes the facilities at Faenza where the team remains based.¬† Those facilities would enable any owner of the team to design and build their own car.¬† Gerhard Berger says as much in this interview on the official F1 website – http://www.formula1.com/news/interviews/2008/3/7527.html – ‘when the cooperation with Red Bull Technologies ends we are capable in our own right of building a car. We still have all the facilities in Faenza – and they are much more advanced than at the time of the Minardi team. The key question here is not whether we can do it, but how well can we do it’.¬†

  10. If this did happen, it means they could actually legitimately use the Jaguar team’s original slogan, "The cat is back"!

  11. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 27th March 2008, 15:35

    Thankyou Vee! I’ve been trying to remember what that slogan was, it’s been driving me crazy.

  12. It would be great to see jaguar back as a racing team – but not in F1 – they will always be associated with le mans and saloon car racing and when the silkcut livery (there’s colours for you) was applied they looked outrageous but still delivered the goods – that may bethe better opportunity for tata to promote through racing within a lower budget – maybe DTM?. Also I will never will forget seeing an ecurie eccosse d-type in the window of a garage in blairgowrie – what curves and narrow tyres and so short!!
    The saying looked fast standing still springs to mind

  13. "The cat is back" was legitimate the first time round. Jaguar did one race as an engine supplier in 1950. Jaguar supplied Clemente Bionedetti’s privately-entered Ferrari; he qualified 25th and retired on lap 17 with… …engine failure.

    The trouble was that they never explained this (possibly because the only Grand Prix engine they’d previously supplied had failed prematurely), so everyone missed the reference.

  14. Wesley said on 27th March 2008, 23:00

    Jaguar…no

    Nissan…yes

  15. If Toyota does not serve as an example to Tata as the prime reason NOT to get into F1, than they will deserve all the pain they get.

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