Speaking at the Jaguar Launch in Milton Keynes, UK, on January 4th, Pedro de la Rosa was confident that Niki Lauda could steer Jaguar Racing to success. Asked if Lauda would take Jaguar where it wanted to be, de la Rosa commented: "I have no ...
Speaking at the Jaguar Launch in Milton Keynes, UK, on January 4th, Pedro de la Rosa was confident that Niki Lauda could steer Jaguar Racing to success. Asked if Lauda would take Jaguar where it wanted to be, de la Rosa commented:
"I have no doubts that Niki is the man for the job. He is a very competitive guy and the most important thing is that he will take Jaguar Racing forward, he will do everything possible and that’s why I’m comfortable with the situation. We will get there, the only question is when, but Niki is the right guy."
The new Jagaur R3 certainly looked the part and has been made much lighter than last year’s car. Designer John Russel and Cheif Aerodynamicist Mark Handford have focused on reducing weight and improving aerodynamic performance and the R3 has a higher nose angle than the R2, which is intended to cut through the air more efficiently.
De la Rosa was cautious about the future performance of the car. "I’m optimistic but you have to realistic, I think the team has done a good job. All the parts of the car, the rear suspension, the monocoque, everything is so much lighter. It’s good in theory but at the end of the day what matters is the stopwatch, and I’m not sure how quick it ( the car ) is, but it will be quick."
Since Fernando Alonso took up testing duties for Renault this season, de la Rosa is now the only Spanish driver on the grid. "I don’t feel much pressure from my country," he said, "the pressure mainly comes from the media. But I have a very quiet life in Spain."
With Williams joining Ferrari and McLaren at the top of the pack, how far off the mark will Jaguar be this season? Undoubtedly they have improved since their debut, but are the team strong enough to challenge the front runners? De la Rosa thinks not, at least not yet.
"For me the most important thing is not where we finish, but how far behind we finish. The top three teams are so far ahead, especially in qualifying, something like 1.5 seconds, so we have to close that gap", de la Rosa said.
Niki Lauda is due to test the R3 in Valencia next month, to see for himself how different F1 cars are nowerdays from when he last drove one in 1985. Asked whether he thought Lauda would be competitive behind the wheel, de la Rosa replied, "I don’t know to be honest, because he’s not the youngest guy there and because his stomach is quite big!"
See Irvine comments.