A significant step in the history of Jaguar Racing was made at Monaco when Eddie Irvine gave the team its first World Championship points. Eddie worked his way steadily up to fourth from 10th on the grid, and while others hit mechanical problems...
A significant step in the history of Jaguar Racing was made at Monaco when Eddie Irvine gave the team its first World Championship points. Eddie worked his way steadily up to fourth from 10th on the grid, and while others hit mechanical problems or crunched into barriers, Eddie kept his cool.
It was a tremendous effort from Irvine, whose ability to steer a car round the tight confines of the street circuit - and get it safely to the finish - has gone largely unrecognised in recent years. And yet over the past three years with Ferrari he has finished third, third and second.
"There have been races this year when we deserved points - today we got them," said Irvine. "I’m really pleased for the guys. Together we've all been slogging away and not getting any payback, but the car has been good all weekend and I had a good feeling about the race if I kept it clean.
"It was a big struggle, one of the hardest races of my life. The steering was getting very heavy towards the end. I was suffering from dehydration because my drink bottle wasn't working and my foot is badly blistered, but I’ll worry about that tomorrow! It's great to put Jaguar’s name on the scoreboard. If we continue to put all the jigsaw pieces in place on a regular basis , the points will come our way again for sure."
Eddie got caught up with Giancarlo Fisichella at the start and lost out to team-mate Johnny Herbert. He remained behind until lap 18, when Herbert who was struggling with handling problems, was asked to let Eddie by.
Later Eddie also had trouble with heavy steering, but he continued to press on, and it was smiles all round when he finally crossed the line. The result puts Jaguar into seventh place in the constructors' championship.
"It's a huge relief to everybody," said team director Andy Miller. "It's a little bit similar to the first year with Stewart - we broke our duck here as well. We needed a bit of luck with other people stopping. I just wish we had qualified better and we could have been in the real race."
"Points don't do any harm to anybody," said technical director Gary Anderson. "We were a bit lucky to get them with one thing or another, but then we were unlucky not to qualify a bit better. Eddie's race wasn't easy. We had a hydraulic leak from very early on, which meant that hydraulic capacity was slowly reducing. It didn't cause us any grief. There was a point in time when he complained about the gearshift and I thought 'Oh no!'. And I think the oil consumption was very high, so for the last six laps he had to take it pretty easy.
"It's one of those things that if it's meant to happen it's meant to happen! It's nice to do a good job with a lot of Jaguar people here. Eddie drove well and kept us out of trouble. It improves the team morale, but it doesn't take the pressure off - the day that happens you go backwards. As a team we're working as hard as we can."