April 19 - motorsport.com - Prost GP has announced the signing of Jaguar number two driver Luciano Burti for the remainder of the 2001 Formula One season, replacing Argentinian Gaston Mazzacane. "As soon as it was clear Gaston was no longer ...
April 19 - motorsport.com -
Prost GP has announced the signing of Jaguar number two driver Luciano Burti for the remainder of the 2001 Formula One season, replacing Argentinian Gaston Mazzacane.
"As soon as it was clear Gaston was no longer driving for us, it was evident to us that Luciano Burti would be a good replacement," said Alain Prost. "Luciano has already shown good potential so far this season, and he will be given all the means to prove himself and to be a competitive team mate with Jean Alesi."
Burti is currently driving for the former Stewart GP, now Jaguar, but the British team released him to allow him to drive for Prost. The team then announced the signing of test driver Pedro de la Rosa to take over the team's second race seat.
"This lays to rest the speculation that has surrounded my recent moves in F1," said de la Rosa. "I came to Jaguar Racing because the long term potential for the team is obvious, and I believe that (Jaguar team manager) Bobby Rahal and the team are fully focused on the job at hand."
"Since joining the team I have had an excellent relationship with Luciano," de la Rosa added. "I would like to extend to him my very best wishes for the future."
In the four races for Jaguar this season, Burti has a best finish of 8th in Australia, and the top grid position of 14th, in Brazil. While Burti was clearly slower than #1 driver, Eddie Irvine, his performance has been significantly better than Mazzacane's, whose best start for the season was a 19th position.
According to Burti, the contract is for the remaining 13 races in the 2001 season only. However, the Formula One insiders believe that Prost offered Burti a long-term deal in order to get him to switch teams.
Burti will make his first start for Prost at next weekend's Spanish Grand Prix, and de la Rosa will take over for Jaguar at the same time.
With contributions from Marc Zimmerman -- http://www.pitstop.com.br/