Ford Motor Company has agreed to purchase Stewart Grand Prix to strengthen its involvement in the world's premier form of auto racing.
"Racing provides our company with a great opportunity to connect with consumers in an exciting atmosphere, pilot new technology, develop engineering talent, and strengthen our brands globally," said Ford's chief executive officer and president Jac Nasser. "Ford Motor Company has a long and very successful record in auto racing. Our latest move will allow us to take our performance to the next level."
Since 1967, Ford-powered cars and drivers have won 174 grand prix victories and 13 world driver championships - a record. In 1996, Ford began a partnership with Stewart Grand Prix, operated by three-time world champion Jackie Stewart and his son Paul. Jackie won all his world titles in Ford-powered cars. The Stewart-Ford Grand Prix team began competing in 1997. So far this season, it has had a top three 'podium' finish (at the San Marino GP in Italy) and has led its first race (in Brazil).
Ford's chief technical officer and vice-president for research and vehicle technology, Neil Ressler, who is also a director of Stewart Grand Prix, said: "Our goal at Ford is to race to win. By buying our own team, and applying the company's comprehensive technical resources to it, I believe the Stewart-Ford team will become increasingly more successful. In addition, Formula One provides hands-on engineering experience for many of our youngest and most talented engineers. It teaches them to be bold, to be imaginative, and to be nimble thinking. It also develops their leadership qualities, because in racing you have to take the initiative. Ultimately, these invaluable skills are passed on to the most important people of all, our customers."
Group vice-president of marketing, sales and service, Bob Rewey, said: "Racing provides a business link, and an emotional link, to consumers worldwide. F1 racing is the world's largest global TV sport, enabling us to connect with customers in just about every country in the world."
Said Jackie Stewart: "Ford's increased commitment to Formula One is great news for the team. To be competitive in Formula One these days, and to win the great benefits available, a team needs strong financial and technical support. Ford can offer that."
Ford has no plans to change the team personnel, and Stewart Grand Prix will continue to be based in Milton Keynes, England. Jackie Stewart will stay on as chairman and chief executive officer and Paul Stewart will remain as deputy chairman.