Australian to leave Jaguar squad in June
Jaguar's Chief Engineer Malcolm Oastler revealed on Thursday that he is to retire from Formula One later this year to concentrate on setting up a rural venture with his family in his native Australia.
Oastler, who has spent twenty successful years in motorsport, joined Jaguar Racing from BAR in 2002 as a consultant on the teams 2003 machine, the R4. He has since played a critical role in the development and rollout of the their 2004 challenger, the R5. He will work out his notice period and leave the team in June.
"I've had a fantastic 20 year stint playing racing cars, but I don't think it's something you should do forever. As much as I love the technical aspects and the people, the lure of the southern sun and the beach have won the day." said Oastler.
"I owe a huge debt of gratitude to everyone I have had the pleasure of working with throughout my career. In particular, I want to express my sincere appreciation to everyone at Jaguar Racing. This was far from an easy decision for me. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with Jaguar in helping to make the team competitive. My key challenge over the past year has been to ensure we produce a competitive racing car and in the Jaguar R5, I believe we have achieved that result. A comprehensive development programme over the course of this season will ensure that remains the case."
Jaguar Racing's Managing Director, David Pitchforth, commented: "We are sad to see Malcolm leave given his valuable input to our programme and wish him the very best for the future. He has contributed an enormous amount to motorsport over a twenty year period with his designs having graced everything from Formula Ford to F3000, Indycar and Formula One.
"Since joining Jaguar Racing in 2002, we have benefited enormously from Malcolm's input into the R4 upgrade programme and the design and development of our 2004 challenger, Jaguar R5. We had agreed from the onset with Malcolm that his tenure with Jaguar Racing would be relatively short-term and focused upon what were critical short-term objectives aimed at ensuring the competitiveness of the Jaguar R4 and R5," continued Pitchforth.
"Malcolm's role as Chief Engineer allowed him great autonomy and freedom between various departments and it is a role that worked very well indeed for both parties. His engineering experience and acumen have manifested themselves clearly in this year's racing car. I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of everyone at Jaguar Racing in wishing Malcolm all the very best of luck for the future.
Hailing from Sydney, Australia, Oastler has been involved in the design of successful racing cars since the mid 1980s. Interested in cars from an early age, he raced in Australian Formula Ford in 1983 and 1984, finishing second in the National Championship in his rookie year.
He received a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Sydney University prior to settling in England in 1985. Initially, he worked as a mechanic in Formula Ford 1600 and Formula Ford 2000 and for a short time he also drove in the 2000 category.
Soon after retiring from competition, Oastler turned to design and in1986 joined Reynard to design the Formula Ford 1600 and 2000 chassis. In 1988 he collaborated with Adrian Reynard on the first Formula 3000 chassis and his designs subsequently won five International titles.
With the Champ Car concept becoming a reality in 1994, Oastler led the design team from the start. His 95I chassis won eight races, including the Indy 500 and started from pole position no less than thirteen times.
Throughout 1996, 1997 and 1998 CART cars designed by Oastler and the Reynard design team continued to add further successes, with 4 Championships and over 50 race wins in 5 years. While still with Reynard, Oastler was Technical Director at BAR, the team achieving 5th and 6th in the Championship and two podium finishes in 2000 and 2001.
Having started with Jaguar Racing as a consultant on the design of the R4, Oastler was appointed Chief Engineer in 2003.