Eddie Irvine's sixth place in Belgium came as a welcome bonus for Jaguar Racing team boss Niki Lauda, not least because it has been a long time since the team last scored points in Australia. Eddie did the hard work in qualifying, and after...
Eddie Irvine's sixth place in Belgium came as a welcome bonus for Jaguar Racing team boss Niki Lauda, not least because it has been a long time since the team last scored points in Australia. Eddie did the hard work in qualifying, and after starting eighth gained from the retirements of Kimi Raikkonen and Jarno Trulli as he edged into the top six. Pedro de la Rosa would have been two places behind but for a suspension failure that pitched him off the road.
"It's good," said Niki. "Eddie did a perfect job. I'm only upset that Pedro's car didn't finish because of a suspension failure, but all the rest is perfect -- for our level. No question, we were in good shape today."
After a frustrating drought a point is very useful, especially as the battle in the constructors' championship is so tight. "It's better to produce results, even if it's a sixth place, than nothing. From that point of view I'm happy. Today we were sixth because of our performance."
In the last Monza test the R3 was very competitive, and the team has some hopes that the same form can be reproduced at the Italian circuit. "Let's wait and see. It could be another good weekend for us, but let's qualify properly, and then we're going to see."
Meanwhile today marks the arrival at Jaguar of Malcolm Oastler, the former BAR technical director. A close friend of Irvine, he brings useful experience to the team. "He's an advisor to us," says Lauda. "We'll see what his role is. He starts on Monday at work, and he's only available three days a week, so we can't use him for a full time job."
Lauda insists that "no decision" has been made on next year's driver line-up.