Eddie Irvine believes that now Jaguar have sorted out their management problems, the team can move forward and keep improving. Speaking at the Jaguar Launch on January 4th, Irvine defended the team, saying that they had worked hard. "To do the...
Eddie Irvine believes that now Jaguar have sorted out their management problems, the team can move forward and keep improving. Speaking at the Jaguar Launch on January 4th, Irvine defended the team, saying that they had worked hard.
"To do the job we did last year was bloody good. We had no wind tunnel, the only team not to have one. We developed the car through the year, trying to get it on the pace, we started last year four seconds off the pace but we came back very strong," Irvine said. You have to take these things into consideration, we have worked well together as a team, we have Michelin on board, Cosworth and Castrol, our trump cards really but we have to wait and see. Some teams have such big budgets, we're still working on it. Really we should have been at this point two years ago, we have had problems but now I think we have all the key people in place to move us forward."
In 2001 Jaguar were fast in practice but qualifying seemed to be a stumbling block, Irvine said at one point that the 13th place on the grid had his name painted on it.
He has more optimism for the new car as he stated, "To be honest we're not 100% sure what the problem was with qualifying, we don't understand it. We've designed this car ( the R3 ) so that it's overall quicker, in qualifying and in the race as well, that's all we can do. This year's car is lighter, there's more down force, more power; with the wind tunnel coming in a couple of months, all the pieces are in place to move forward. We can get a lot more points this year. If we can qualify in the top ten and raise our performance from last year we will do well. We were a bit unlucky ( last year ) because we broke down in races where we would have won points."
There have been rumours that Irvine would retire, a possibility that he has strenuously denied. Since Jean Alesi retired at the end of 2001, Irvine has inherited the dubious honour of being the oldest driver on the grid, but he says his motivation is as high as ever.
"The last two years I've been working to get results, we've got points, we've got a podium. We had problems in qualifying but you have to keep motivated."
Asked if 2002 would be crucial for him, he replied, "Every year is crucial to be honest. I have to keep performing, to work hard, that's Formula One, that's how it works, it's the basic principal of the sport."
Posed the question of what he had been doing all winter, Irvine paused for a very long moment - I wonder what went through his head as he thought for a while. Probably something entirely unprintable, but what he came out with was, "Well, just what everyone else does. Read all the bullshit that you guys write. Read all the quotes that someone makes up for me, some people have a great imagination, I never said half of the things that I've read."
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