After Eddie Irvine qualified sixth in Italy Gunther Steiner had a big smile on his face, and it grew even bigger when Kimi Raikkonen was penalised, pushing Eddie up another place. But still that was nothing to match Sunday afternoon, where third...
After Eddie Irvine qualified sixth in Italy Gunther Steiner had a big smile on his face, and it grew even bigger when Kimi Raikkonen was penalised, pushing Eddie up another place. But still that was nothing to match Sunday afternoon, where third position for Irvine equalled Jaguar Racing's best performance since its inception three years ago. Like the rest of the team, Steiner was overjoyed by the result.
"It's a fantastic feeling," he said. "The best thing for me is that the team is happy, they've worked hard for it. They deserve it, so it's a good feeling for the whole team and not just me personally."
It was a great result, but Monza is an unusual track, and the R3 won't necessarily be able to repeat it at Indianapolis or Suzuka.
"Yes, that's right. The engine helps a lot here, we know that, and we know we are not going to be World Champions this year, and maybe not even next year! But it helps our car here, like it helps in Spa. Maybe it will help a little bit in Indianapolis. But from where we were, it is a step forward. That is the most important thing for us, that we made steps that improved the performance, and we understood them."
Eddie has scored all eight of Jaguar's points this year, and his performance over the last two races has been exceptional, as Steiner admits.
"I think it's very difficult to say it wasn't good! It was a fantastic performance. He was also very clever and intelligent today, and also in Spa. But that's experience which pays off. He's been in F1 for many seasons, and he knows how to do it."
Nevertheless, a big step needs to be made over the winter. Are the pieces coming together, with the right people in the right jobs?
"I think so," he says. "They're coming together, but as you say, we need to make one more big step. But we are aware of this. But this is a good result, this is what it's possible to achieve with the car we have got. We'll try to do our best for next year."
Of course there was much optimism this time last year, but that was not carried over once the new car tested for the first time. The team knows that it didn't get its sums right, and Steiner is keen to put that right.
"All the mistakes we made we'll try not to repeat them, that is what we learned. I don't want to go into specific problems that we had, but I think everybody knows them."