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banner Sunday, 10 June, 2001, 17:50 GMT 18:50 UK
Newey blames Jaguar for fiasco
Jaguar are battling to prise Newey from McLaren
Newey's flirtation with Jaguar has rocked F1
Adrian Newey, the man at the centre of a bitter legal battle between McLaren and Jaguar Racing, has spoken out for the first time about his dramatic U-turn.

The 42-year-old, regarded as the best racing car designer in Formula One, seems keen to place the blame for the fiasco on Jaguar.

Jaguar announced on the morning of 1 June that Newey had signed a contract to join them in August 2002, only for McLaren to issue a statement hours later saying Newey was staying put.

Newey said on Sunday: "Shortly after agreeing to join Jaguar there was a realisation that changing teams was not the way to go for me.

Bobby Rahal
Rahal is at the heart of the dispute

"I had previously agreed with Jaguar that nothing would come out until 8.30am on Friday morning.

"When I spoke to them and informed them of my decision they agreed to stop the press release being issued. At that point only a few people were affected.

"Despite that, it appears they chose to issue the press release."

Jaguar continue to insist that Newey signed a legally binding agreement to join the team after his contract with McLaren runs out on 31 July next year.

The dispute has now gone to the High Court with a hearing planned for Tuesday.

'Enthused'

Newey claims that he did toy with the idea of leaving McLaren - for a reputed 3.5m a year deal - due primarily to his close friendship with Jaguar boss Bobby Rahal.

Newey worked as Rahal's engineer in Indycar racing in the United States in the mid 1980's and the two have remained good friends.

"One of the reasons I made this decision was because I was enthused about the idea of working with Bobby again," Newey said.

"Maybe that persuaded me to do down a road that I might not have gone down in different circumstances."

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