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   Tuesday, 26 November, 2002, 12:02 GMT
Lauda sacked by Jaguar
Niki Lauda
Lauda was appointed in August 2001
Niki Lauda has been dismissed as team principal of the Jaguar Formula One team.

The 53-year-old three-times world champion took over from American Bobby Rahal in August 2001.

Despite hefty backing from US car giant Ford, Jaguar have continued to underperform, finishing seventh overall this year.

They have also announced plans to axe between 40 and 60 staff.

Niki Lauda factfile
1974: Signed by Ferrari
1975: Crowned world champion
1976: Suffers serious burns at Nurburgring
1977: Wins second title
1984: Claims third world title with McLaren
1985: Retires from F1 racing.

"Niki Lauda is relinquishing his role as head of Premier Performance Division and Jaguar Racing," said Richard Parry-Jones, head of Ford's Formula One programme.

"I have asked Niki to fulfil the role of special advisor to me and I very much hope he will accept the post.

"I would not agree that Niki has failed in any way.

"The most important thing (in Formula One) is technical depth and Niki Lauda, for whom I have enormous respect, does not have it."

Tony Purnell will take over at PPD but a decision is still to be made on who will become Jaguar's fifth team principal since January 2000.

Lauda admitted he was surprised by the decision.

I am neither an engineer nor an Englishman and that's why it's easy for me to accept

Niki Lauda
"There was no criticism of the way I work, or whatever," Lauda told Austrian radio.

"But what you've got to know is that in England things work differently. Britons do have their unique way of solving problems.

"They saw away at the legs of a chair - nobody talks about anything because they of course all stick together - until they get what they want.

"I am neither an engineer nor an Englishman and that's why it's easy for me to accept (being replaced).

"I've now got to consider whether to accept their offer of continuing to work for Ford."

On Tuesday, Mark Webber's first day for Jaguar proved to be a frustrating one as problems with the engine of next year's car disrupted testing.

The 25-year-old was unable to record a lap time or get any mileage in the car.

Fellow driver Antonio Pizzonia, whose car was fitted with last year's Cosworth engine, fared much better.

He completed 67 laps of the track and posted the second-fastest time behind Luca Badoer in the Ferrari.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
 BBC Sport's Jonathan Legard
"Ford don't want a superstar technical boss"
 Former Jaguar boss Sir Jackie Stewart
"The team want a technological expert"
 Ford vice president Richard Parry-Jones
"Niki Lauda is not technically qualified"
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