JANUARY 9, 2004
Jaguar's plans for 2004
Jaguar Racing will unveil its new R5 next week and the team is confident that the new car is going to be a step forward for the team, which showed great promise with Mark Webber in 2003. The team boasts a much stronger engineering staff than a year ago with the aerodynamic department having increased from a staff of 22 to 43 and a new vehicle dynamics department now boasting 18 engineers.
The team actually finished building the prototype R5 on December 19 and since then the new car has been undergoing a series of rig tests at Jaguar Racing to make sure that it is solid before it takes to the race tracks. The design of the new car was not as rushed as the R4, starting in April 2003, two months earlier than the R4 project. The R6 incidentally is already being designed with the design team now working on the basic architecture of the car which will be raced in 2005.
Work has recently begun on the upgrading of the team's Bedford windtunnel, which was acquired last summer. The facility needs considerable work to make it a state-of-the-art piece of equipment and it is expected that this will take around 18 months. This will require a big investment from Ford, despite the fact that the company has frozen all discretionary spending around the world in an effort to cut costs. Aerodynamics are, however, the most important aspect in F1 these days and the team seems to have argued successfully that without the new facility the F1 programme cannot hope to be a success in the long-term. In addition the team's Bicester windtunnel is undergoing a refit this month in order to upgrade its instrumentation systems.
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