Erstwhile Jaguar Racing team boss Tony Purnell has warmly welcomed today's confirmation that the Milton Keynes operation is to be sold to drinks magnate Dietrich Mateschitz and rebranded Red Bull Racing for 2005.

News of the deal was first broken by Crash.net late last week, but was officially confirmed today [Monday] at a series of press announcements by both parties. Red Bull had long been tipped as the most likely buyer for Jaguar after parent company Ford put the team, and engine builder Cosworth, up for sale in September, but had to see off a rival bid, understood to have come from Formula One newcomer Midland F1.

While Mateschitz broke news of the deal in his native Austria overnight, Ford officially confirmed that a sale had been agreed at a press conference in London, ending weeks of speculation about the size of next year's F1 grid.

"I am really pleased that Red Bull has bought Jaguar Racing," admitted Ford vice-president Richard Parry-Jones, "Since we made the announcement to sell our F1 businesses in September, we have received outstanding support from the management and employees at Jaguar Racing, and we have worked very hard to secure a sale to a reputable buyer. Red Bull is a very successful business and has been extensively involved in F1, and global motorsport, for over a decade. I am very pleased to announce this outcome."

Purnell welcomed the deal on behalf of the staff at Jaguar Racing, safe in the knowledge that Mateschitz intends to keep him on as team principal of Red Bull Racing in 2005.

"Can you imagine a better outcome for our team at Milton Keynes?" Purnell commented, "Dave Pitchforth and the team have won many admirers over the last two years, and their hard work has earned them this fabulous opportunity. The months of uncertainty are over and this news is terrific!"

Purnell was also full of admiration for the new owners, which became involved with Jaguar in its final season as backer of rookie Christian Klien. Although the Red bull logo didn't appear on the R5s, its sister brand Hangar-7 was a notable addition to the sponsor roster.

"I've got to know the folks at Red Bull over the last year, first as a sponsor and now as our owner," Purnell said, "High energy, high motivation, high commitment - they have it all!

"After a period of uncertainty, this is a great day for the team and for Formula One. Red Bull has been our sponsor for the past year, and the decision to move being sponsor to team owner demonstrates the extent of its commitment to promoting Red Bull through Formula One.

"I am delighted for everyone in the team, and would like to thank them for their loyalty, continued hard work and patience during the sales process. With Red Bull's support, we can now build on the progress already made by the team over the past two seasons, and look forward to a brighter future."

Red Bull owner Mateschitz ranks on the list of the world's 500 richest people, with an estimated net worth in excess of $1billion, and has been a backer of all forms of motorsport - as well as other 'extreme action sports' - for the past decade. Despite being a long-term partner of the Sauber F1 team, he has made no secret of his desire to reintroduce American drivers to the F1 fold, and sees the acquisition of Jaguar as providing the final rung on his scholarship ladder.

"Our move to fully owning a Formula One race team makes good business sense for Red Bull," Mateschitz said, "Add to this the opportunity of being directly involved in a sport and activity from which I derive great personal pleasure, then it is easy to understand how delighted I am to have made this purchase.

"Not only does the ownership of this team represent the high point of our involvement in motor racing, it is also the logical and final step in the process we started with the Red Bull Junior programme, where we identify, advise and promote young talent through the different formula from karting to the very pinnacle - Formula One."

Parry-Jones was able to confirm that, following the coincidental sale of Cosworth to Champ Car owners Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerry Forsythe, both Red Bull Racing and Minardi would continue to use the company's engines in 2005.