For three years, between 1995 and 1998, he assumed the role of technical consultant, advising on all aspects of Formula One car design and development. Appointed head of vehicle engineering in 1996, Nichols took on the additional responsibility for all technical aspects of the F1 operation, before moving on again, as head of future projects, in 1998. Responsible for longer term concepts within the McLaren organisation outside of the annual car design cycle, this is where he remained until the opportunity to join Jaguar satisfied a craving to get back to a hands-on role in grands prix racing.
A keen racer himself, Nichols could be seen regularly competing in one of the historic Formula Ford 2000 categories in Britain, although his track activities have had to take a back seat to work commitments in recent years.
He replaces another former Jordan man - Gary Anderson - at Jaguar, and will team up with new CEO, and fellow American, Bobby Rahal, and a technical team headed up by designer John Russell and aerodynamicist Mark Handford as the team attempts to forget a woeful debut season.