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banner Saturday, 2 June, 2001, 15:48 GMT 16:48 UK
Rahal: Friendship swung Newey deal
Jaguar driver Eddie Irvine in action during the Formula One Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain.
Newey's move to Jaguar will restore an old friendship
If Adrian Newey switches McLaren red for Jaguar green next year, he will be welcomed with open arms by long-time friend Bobby Rahal.

Rahal, Jaguar Racing's chief operating officer and team principal, said friendship was an important factor behind his team's decision to swoop for the highly-regarded car designer.

"We go back many years to our days together in Indy cars and our friendship has certainly played a key role in making this happen," he said in a statement.

It remains to be seen what effect on their friendship Newey's apparent late decision to stay at McLaren will have.


He [Newey] is the man responsible for generating more speed in F1 than any driver or engine out there
  Bobby Rahal

"Six of the F1 cars that have won the Constructors' and the Drivers' World Championship in the last nine years" to Newey-led design teams, Rahal points out, and the American expects him to weave his magic at Jaguar.

"He is, in my opinion, the man responsible for generating more speed in F1 than any driver or engine out there."

If Newey joins Jaguar, he will be given the chance to bring F1 glory to the team Rahal calls "one of the most emotive names in motor racing".

If Newey's suitability for his new job as chief technical officer is beyond doubt, his availability to move from McLaren to Jaguar was and even before his amazing U-turn he confirmed it was a tough choice.

Bobby Rahal
Rahal: Reunited with his old friend
"This has not been an easy decision for me to make."

"I have enjoyed hugely my four years to date at McLaren and take great satisfaction from the success that we as a team have achieved.

He confirmed his complete commitment to the McLaren cause for the rest of the season and - like Rahal - paid tribute to the importance of their friendship.

"In the end, the prospect of working once again with my close friend, Bobby, whom I have known since 1984 at March Racing, combined with the prospect of the exciting challenge that Jaguar Racing offers proved irresistible."

But not irresistable enough, it now seems.

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