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banner Thursday, 31 May, 2001, 12:28 GMT 13:28 UK
F1 faces up to Newey switch
McLaren's David Coulthard
Whose wheel would Coulthard most like to be behind?
BBC Sport Online's Andrew Benson explains why Adrian Newey's potential move to Jaguar could spark a massive team shake-up in Formula One.

The Formula One driver-transfer season will be turned on its head if Jaguar end up signing Adrian Newey for 2002.

Until this week, this summer's "silly season", as it is known, was looking set to be a quiet one.

Michael Schumacher has signed to stay at Ferrari until 2004, and all expectations were that Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard would stay at McLaren.

With Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya committed to Williams until the end of 2002, nothing much of any consequence was expected to happen.

Jaguar's Eddie Irvine:
Jaguar's Eddie Irvine: Eyeing his contract?

Depending on what happens, all that could change.

It is unlikely that Jaguar will keep hold of Newey - as it seems he has gone back on his original decision to leave McLaren.

But if there is another U-turn in the amazing sequence of events, McLaren-Mercedes would not look as attractive a long-term bet as before and Jaguar's appeal would shoot up exponentially.

If Newey goes to Jaguar, all the drivers in F1 would be jealously eyeing the team, well aware that the designer's presence would almost certainly guarantee that Jaguar wouldl soon become a major force.

Jaguar already has two drivers contracted for next season - Eddie Irvine and Pedro de la Rosa.

But, F1 contracts being as leaky as they traditionally are, nothing is even certain for next year any more. And from 2003 everything is up in the air.

For example, both David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen could decide that they do not want to stay at McLaren, while Irvine and De la Rosa would desperately be trying to extend their contracts.

Jaguar's increased appeal

Ralf Schumacher, who is negotiating a new Williams contract, may decide that is not such an attractive place as it was until Wednesday. And Montoya, while still very much a novice, would also have one eye on the situation at McLaren.

The drivers, though, are just the tip of the iceberg. There is also the matter of important team personnel who may decide that Jaguar could further their own ambitions.

And sponsors - of which Jaguar, like any team, is in need - might also think that the Ford-owned outfit was suddenly the place to make their products look very good indeed.

Over the next 18 months, F1 could be in a for a merry-go-round the like of which it has not seen in many a year.

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