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  Thursday, 21 March, 2002, 17:23 GMT
BAR axe technical chiefs
David Richards is bidding to move the team up the grid in F1
Richards is already under pressure at BAR
The troubled British American Racing team have axed their top two technical directors in a bid to drag themselves off the bottom of the Formula One grid.

BAR have failed to deliver in the opening two races of the season, with no points and a best finish of eighth by Jacques Villeneuve at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

And on Thursday, new BAR boss David Richards announced that engineering director Malcolm Oastler and chief designer Andy Green would leave the team with immediate effect.

He also confirmed that a total of 15% of all staff at the team's Brackley headquarters would lose their jobs.

BAR have many talented people and what we are now doing is giving them the framework within which they can fulfil their potential
BAR boss David Richards

Richards said: "I have the greatest respect for the people who created this team and the dedication they have shown to the task.

"But, at the end of the day, the organisation has not delivered.

"I know that Malcolm and Andy recognise that the results have been below their expectations and I appreciate their disappointment and thank them for their efforts."

The announcement marks the latest setback in an already tumultuous season for BAR.

Just days before the launch of its 2002 contender, the BAR 004, team boss Craig Pollock stepped down from the team and was replaced by Richards.

Malcolm Oastler
Oastler is already tipped with a move to Jaguar
And reports have continued to circulate that Villeneuve, a long-time friend of Pollock's, is considering leaving the team.

Despite the latest changes, Richards remained positive that BAR can bounce back.

He added: "We need to build a team with a very clear structure, with the very best people and give them the responsibility to deliver against precisely determined goals.

"BAR has many extremely talented people and what we are now doing is giving them the framework within which they can fulfil their true potential."

Oastler has already been linked with a move to Jaguar.

However, no decision has been made yet as to who will replace both Oastler and Green.

See also:

21 Mar 02 |  Formula One
Irvine warns of 'manufactured' F1
20 Mar 02 |  Formula One
Radical F1 changes given go-ahead
09 Jan 02 |  Formula One
Villeneuve happy at BAR
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