Experience beats youngsters says Irvine

Experience beats youngsters says Irvine

Eddie Irvine believes experience in Formula One is much more important than young enthusiasm and his recent improvement proves it. Jaguar has been beset by problems with this year's R3 but there have been better results recently: Irvine managed a...

Eddie Irvine believes experience in Formula One is much more important than young enthusiasm and his recent improvement proves it. Jaguar has been beset by problems with this year's R3 but there have been better results recently: Irvine managed a podium position at Monza and the Irishman thinks it was a result that was a natural progression.

"It's comforting to know that old farts like myself can still blow the pants off Formula One's young guns," Irvine said in the British press. "Earlier this season, there were plenty ready to claim I was past it but they have had to change their tune following my recent upturn in fortunes."

Eddie Irvine.
Photo by Jaguar Racing.
"Everyone has been raving about my third place in Monza two weeks ago but anyone who had been watching closely would have realized that the writing was on the wall. I was going well at Silverstone and Budapest and then finished sixth at Spa. A place on the podium was the natural progression."

Irvine continued the good form in yesterday's free practices for this weekend's US Grand Prix, second to the Ferrari of Michael Schumacher, and would like to equal his finish of last year at Indianapolis: "I was fifth here last season and I'll be disappointed if I don't at least equal that result this time around. My objective is to add at least another couple of points to the scoresheet and again show the old 'uns have what it takes."

Drivers with a few years on track under their belts is what teams need, according to Irvine, not trying to save money by hiring a young inexperienced driver: "For a couple of years now, there has been a trend of bringing in youngsters on the cheap in the hope they will get the job done. It never made sense to me because if you are spending ?100million to go racing, or whatever your budget is, why skimp on the one man who is at the controls of the whole thing? "

"There are places where you can cut budgets but trying to trim back the wages of someone who has a proven track record doesn't make sense. That's why Heinz-Harald Frentzen is replacing young Felipe Massa at Sauber next season. Massa is super quick but he doesn't have the all-round experience needed. Frentzen has won races and worked with a top team such as Williams. You can't put a price on that."

"There are guys who can drive cars quickly, ones who are good at testing and others who can pull out a flying lap. But there are loads more things -- including tyre choice, development, strategy and keeping the car on the circuit -- which all go towards making the complete driver. The more of those things you have, the more of an asset you are to a team who want to go places."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Eddie Irvine , Michael Schumacher , Heinz-Harald Frentzen , Felipe Massa
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , Williams , Jaguar Racing