Ford revealed last Tuesday that Niki Lauda would no longer be leading Jaguar Racing and we at Crash.net wanted to know, what you the reader thought of the decision...

Well most of you thought that yet another change at the top was a bad decision. Indeed, in answer to our poll question: ''Were Ford / Jaguar Racing right to fire Niki Lauda?'' - a clear majority, 80.1 per cent said 'No', disagreeing with Ford's decision to get rid of yet another team boss, the fourth to go since the outfit was formed at the beginning of 2002.

Here is what some of you who replied to our story - ''Jaguar axe Lauda - have your say...'' had to exclaim...

''I don't think it was a very clever move to fire Niki Lauda because he had the two things that a team principal must have: 1: Huge Formula One experience and 2: Management skills. Neither Neil Ressler nor Bobby Rahal had both attributes, but Lauda did. The failure of R3 had nothing to do with him, because he could do nothing but carry over the work of Rahal. Not even if R4 is a failure, will we know if it was the right decision to fire Lauda, because he had just started his work.

''Look how long time it took Jean Todt to make Ferrari competitive. What would have happened if Ferrari had fired him after the '94 season? Making an F1 team successful requires stability but the Ford-bosses have not recognized this yet. Until they do that, Jaguar will not move forward. I don't know Tony Purnell, but he will without doubt need to work fast, because patience is not one of the Ford-bosses strengths! It is going to be interesting to see what he can do and who he will appoint as new team principal.''
Frederik Kaae (19) - Denmark.

''I've been quite busy the last few days, and I couldn't keep up with the news, so it took me by surprise, that they sacked Lauda. Jaguar started the 2002 season with a flawed car. That is a fact, not an opinion. If I remember right, the car was sent back to the factory after the first track-test. Among a lot of things the main problem was the aerodynamics and grip. After Silverstone they got them sorted (as well as they could). Then came Italy and a podium for Jag. Of course it was a result of a bit of luck, having DNF's for three of the top six cars, but they were still on the podium. Which other team (beside the top three of course) could do the same? Right none.

''OK, on the technical side clearly changes had to be made. Jaguar's (and therefore the mighty Ford company's) image fell, like a shooting star this year. Even the non-factory Honda powered Jordan was ahead of them.

''In my view it's a good thing to have a good technical director, or whatever you want to call him. I don't know this Tony Purnell guy well, but from what I've read about him, he sure looks to be promising. But to sack poor Niki, who worked so hard, so honestly (unlike some other team principals, who have nothing to do with mechanics) and who did the best he could to improve a team - that's silly.

''The best solution would have been to keep Lauda as team boss, and hire Purnell as the head of the technical department, and then give them at least 2 years, and you would have seen the results. But please don't sack a team boss (or two) every year!! That's not the solution.

''Ford has just destroyed Lauda's work. Why did they mess up things just when they were about to work? Now they got to start it all over. (Am I right when I think they want to make Jaguar an all-British team? Just because all the members speak the same language, or are the same nationality, it won't make them better. For god's sake: Ferrari never fired Michael Schumacher just because he's not an Italian!)

''Look at what will happen know: The new principal can do whatever he wants, but the changes won't come until a year or so latter. During that time, whatever the new guy does, won't affect the current state of the things. So when the first results are not so good as hoped, he'll just say: Sorry, it's not my fault. I'm new here... (By the way: in one interview Niki said: "The smallest man in the team is the most important, because if he wobbles the whole thing wobbles. Knowing your team takes time. A lot of it'') But if the result are good (let's be honest, there isn't a big chance for that), he'll say: You see? That's what a good team principal can do with a team!

''Talking about that: who will be the new boss? They haven't got a clue. But the first thing they think: Jaguar isn't doing so great, so let's fire the boss!!! That will solve everything. Not quite.

''To sum things up: Did Davis Richards make the BAR a race winning car? No. And whoever they will find to fill the post of team principal at Jag won't either! And yet Honda didn't fire DR. Why? Because they realized: good results need continuity, and a firm background. All right, blood pressure falling, I'm calming now. Continue your great work keeping us informed about F1.''
Istvan Jaloveczki (21) - Hungary.

''I became a Jaguar Racing fan on the day that Ford announced that the Stewart team would be renamed and the cars would carry British Racing Green livery. The last 3 years have been very trying as the team consistently progressed down the grid the wrong way. I have always had a belief that there was something very right in a Jaguar F1 team, something to be proud of (one day). I believe that this view was also held by Eddie Irvine, why else would he have ditched his old racing helmet for a new design which just shouted ''Jaguar!''?

''The two biggest problems that Jaguar have faced all along have been the wrong people running the show and continual upheaval, all caused, I suspect, by Ford's political infighting. This looked like it may have come to an end when Niki Lauda took over but as we (especially Ferrari) all know, success in F1 does not come quickly.

''The decline in the team's performance reached a low for me in the 2002 season with the Jaguars ''competing'' right at the back of the grid with the Minardis. I decided to hang up my racing greens and suspended my support for the team. I know gestures like this have absolutely no effect on the team, but I simply could take no more. Silverstone was promised as being the place where the R3 would get better. The team had totally redesigned huge parts of the car but they simply had not had time to learn how to use the new package. Then the car started to show signs of progress culminating in a spectacular third place finish at Monza. The boys were back in town and Eddie had something to smile about at long last.

''Now we are in the situation where, sadly, Eddie has gone (after all his hard work and loyalty). Pedro de la Rosa has also gone, although rather more deserved in my opinion, and Jaguar have two totally unproven, if rather promising, young drivers. Niki too has now been sacked, even after giving Jaguar its first and only period of stability as well as dramatically improving an absolute dog of a car.

''Whilst I totally understand that Ford desperately need Jaguar to be successful, they haven't yet shown that they are capable providing the right type of support before pulling the rug out from under the team. I sincerely hope that Niki will accept Richard Parry-Jones' offer to stay with the team, although I wouldn't blame him for leaving. I really do hope that whoever takes over from Niki does a great job and that Jaguar go on to be a huge success in F1, but I have a sinking feeling every time that Ford does this. Only time will tell.''
Andy Hardy - England


''The sacking of Lauda is unbelievably stupid. Have they not learned from their own mistakes? Eddie Irvine had nothing but praise for the way that Lauda was going about the job, and fixing the many mistakes that had been made. I think they were really improving as a team by the end of this year, and to get rid of Lauda so soon is just ridiculous.''
Gerard O'Rourke (30) - Ireland.

''In response to your news item about Niki Lauda's quick exit at PPD/Jaguar, I submit the following:

''1. Great racing driver's don't necessarily make the best team leaders. While it is true that Jack Brabham and some others are exceptions to this, a look at more recent events seems illustrative. My all time favourite racing car driver, Alain Prost, quickly comes to mind in this regard. His narrowly focussed, exacting manner of only having things done one way likely put off some of those in his employ, Niki Lauda likely suffered from much the same problem.

''2. Specifically, technical knowledge, or better yet, technological knowledge may be the most important aspect of the qualifications needed to successfully guide an F1 team now and in the future. Identification, development, and employment of new technological ideas is certainly at the centre of Ferrari's over-whelming success in the past two seasons; and...

''3. Specifically, Niki Lauda doesn't impress as one with the kind of organizational and communication skills to rally and spur on the troops at Jaguar. As a person, the leader of such an effort should be an engaging sort whose energy drive, persona, indeed whose mere presence lends itself to such a monumental task.

''For the above reasons, I find the appointment of Tony Purnell to his new position at PPD to be a positive move.''
Michael Kuhl (39) - US.

''The worst thing Jaguar has done since it became the ''Jaguar'' team, was to sack Bobby Rahal, I'm glad Lauda has been seen for his deficiencies.''
Lawrence Raeburn (46) - British.

''Dropping Lauda was definitely the way forward for Jaguar. The man does not fit well into a corporate world and even his own Airline got rid of him. Lauda is certainly an interesting character to have around, but if he couldn't match his strong character, the jeans and the swearing every time he was interviewed on TV, with results he was clearly going to be for the high-jump.

''The pity is it would be great to see Lauda there with a well functioning team as he'd provide a welcome respite from the political correct responses of many in the pitlane. But the R3, was fundamentally, embarrassingly, a mediocre car to have been developed. It must be embarrassing when someone realises 'oops we forgot to calibrate the wind tunnel'.

''Lauda is certainly a determined person, and when you look at him as a driver and his strength in getting back into a race-car [after his accident], you cannot feel anything but admiration. That does not make him a good team manager. Ferrari didn't keep him too long when they employed him, there has to be some questioning of Ford's decision to bring him in originally.

''Equally much blame lays at the feet of the Ford management. 'Herr Lauda we'll make you boss of Jaguar racing, no how about the premier performance division as well...' Had he stayed longer Lauda might have found himself designing rear light clusters for Lincoln Continentals...

''Jaguar is more and more emulating a football club with its changes in the key players. There must be a locksmith in Milton Keynes who enjoys rather a lot of foreign holidays such is the number of times he has to change the locks to the Jaguar racing factory.

''The thing is that they are now locked into a cycle. For 2003 they have two new drivers and are looking for a new boss. It will take time for these elements to gel and begin to work properly, but, as we've seen, time is not something that participants in the Jaguar farce are given. Unless the results come quick there's sure to be problems.

''Solutions? Buy Arrows, let Tom Walkinshaw run the show. The Arrows machinery has always looked good and the problem has been a lack of money. Run two cars as Jaguars, two as Arrows-Ford. Twice the amount of cars, double the feedback. And give him a guaranteed minimum of two and a half years for things to start to happen.''
Keith AS Best (23) - England.

''I worked for Pi Reseach for four years, at times working closely with Tony Purnell. I know from first hand experience that he is a great business manager and an even better 'people' manager. He puts himself on the same level as the people he is talking to and is very highly respected by all the people he has worked with. Should Lauda have been axed? We will have to wait and see but it won't be long before we find out. Lauda made too many decisions governed by his heart and not his head in my opinion, but I can guarantee that Tony will do a very good job and a lot of people will be pleasantly surprised.''
Ben (27) - England.

''I can't decide whether Niki Lauda's surprise departure from Jaguar is for better or worse.... Granted, the team's 2002 season wasn't much cop until Eddie Irvine turned up on the podium in Italy, and quickly turned back to mush when the team rocked up at Indy, but did Lauda get a fair crack of the whip? Jaguar is naturally hungry for success, but it appears that its insatiable appetite is leading it to chew up and spit out team leaders at a fairly rapid rate - first Ressler, then Rahal, now Lauda - which can't be good for morale or continuity.

''Ford claimed that Lauda didn't have the necessary technical background to take the team forward - but then what has changed since he was appointed last season? And if he isn't the right man for the job, surely it would have been better to stick with him at least until a replacement could be found.... What use is a void with no technical expertise?

''I know next to nothing about Tony Purnell, Lauda's replacement at PPD, but don't expect Ford to make the same mistake of giving him the job of running Jaguar at the same time. Until I read of his cancer op, knowing that Jackie Stewart was at the press conference that announced Lauda's departure filled me with hope that he may be the man to take up the reins - if he wanted to...

''To my eyes, the team, despite its much publicised line-up change, remains in turmoil. Gunther Steiner went there as technical director, but has ended up fighting fires as MD, now Lauda has been axed... what sort of signal is this giving to Mark Webber and, to a lesser extent, Antonio Pizzonia, who will be looking for a degree of continuity and guidance as they make their way, hopefully, up the F1 grid. I only hope that Webber isn't left looking, ruefully, at the rear wing of the Minardi ahead of him this coming season....''
Carlton Loup - USA.


Finally Crash.net would like to thank all those people that replied to our story ''Jaguar axe Lauda - have your say...'' - regretfully we cannot publish every letter, but we would like to a say a 'BIG thanks' to ALL those who sent in comments.