Formula One is rightly regarded as one of the most spectacular sports, and today's Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park, in Melbourne, offered an outstanding mixture of incident and drama - and Jaguar Racing driver Eddie Irvine made it a day to ...
Formula One is rightly regarded as one of the most spectacular sports, and today's Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park, in Melbourne, offered an outstanding mixture of incident and drama - and Jaguar Racing driver Eddie Irvine made it a day to remember for the team with an outstanding fourth place finish.
Following a qualifying session in which Irvine lined up 19th quickest with Pedro de la Rosa alongside in 20th place, any thoughts of scoring points this afternoon could not have been furthest from the minds of the Jaguar Racing team as the drivers formed up on the starting grid. However, a frightening first corner accident - from which the drivers involved were fortunate to emerge unharmed - transformed pre-race predictions and saw the Jaguars leap in to fifth and sixth places on the first lap.
Both drivers fought hard until lap seventeen when Pedro reported an engine problem. On lap 21, Pedro was ordered into the garage where the problem was identified as an electrical misfire. The team immediately changed an electronic component and re-started the system. He re-joined the race two laps down and in 10th place. Meanwhile, Eddie drove a determined race and moved up to 4th place, where he stayed until the chequered flag.
Niki Lauda, Team Principal
"We are obviously very pleased with the result and to have scored three points from 19th on the grid is great news for everybody at Jaguar Racing. Nonetheless, we have a lot of work to do on this car when we get back to England. We were a little unsure as to how reliable we would be today and I am happy that Eddie finished the race with no reliability issues. Pedro, however, was not so lucky. He probably would have scored points too had it not been for an electrical misfire. We witnessed a highly unusual race today and while we were lucky, we must credit ourselves with having taken the opportunity presented to us. The attrition rate was high by any standards and to have both cars finish is just reward for what had been up to now a very bad weekend for us."
"What an incredible race! We were certainly very lucky today, but we finished and the others didn't. I had to be very careful out there because the car was not handling very well at all. It was extremely difficult to drive and today's result doesn't change the fact that we have an enormous amount of work ahead of us. After the weekend we've had, these three points mean an awful lot to everybody in the team. As I entered the first corner after the start, I couldn't believe my eyes! There were cars lying all over the place and having weaved through the carnage, I found myself in 5th place. My thoughts immediately turned to who was behind me and I just kept pushing and pushing until the end. It's not everyday that eleven or so cars go out at the first corner and there can't be any illusions about how we got this result today. Nonetheless, the team did a great job today and three points is a brilliant start to the season."
Pedro de la Rosa
"That was a great result for the team and had my car not suffered from an electrical fault, we would have scored points with both cars. We were obviously lucky today, but my car didn't feel too bad during the race. It proves that keeping your focus and head down pays dividends. When I first reported my problem to the team, it became clear that even though the corrective measures may take some time in the garage, it was still worth re-joining a race which was far from over. We must, however, extract more speed from this car. There is no doubt about the lack of pace we suffer from and while the team's three points have been very well received, it doesn't change the mountain of work ahead of us. Overall, I am disappointed not to have scored points but, at the same time, I am delighted for Eddie and everybody at Jaguar Racing."
Position: 4th (1 lap down)
T-car (spare) chassis: R3-01
Pedro de la Rosa
Position: 8th (5 laps down)
Weather: Overcast and dry.
Air temperature 18 degrees; Track temperature 21 degrees