Podium debut for Jaguar
27th May, 2001
Monaco GP race day was a happy one for the Jaguar team. Last year the team scored
their first three
championship points of the season in Monaco with Eddie Irvine finishing 4th. This year the
Ulsterman made it onto the podium and collected four points for third place. Starting the
race from 6th position on the grid, he managed to stay out of trouble and drove a very
controlled and clean race. Despite one minor contact with the tyre wall at Ste. Devote on
lap 66, he fortunately did not damage the car and could drive the race home.
"That was more like it wasn't it? That's a great result for everybody at Jaguar
Racing," enthused Irvine. "We still have a way to go but I'm delighted for
everybody who has worked relentlessly towards this major step forward. The car felt good
all afternoon and I had a feeling on the grid that this race could result in a podium. I
made an OK start and Ralf Schumacher managed to squeeze past me on the inside of the first
corner. He actually pushed me right over towards the Armco and I had no choice but to back
off and let him through.
"I drove a hard race and the team performed brilliantly all weekend. Our new
aerodynamic package is by far the biggest development I have ever experienced in F1. We
now need to see whether this works from Canada onwards and if so, we will have cracked a
major nut. Many people have been quick to criticise us in recent weeks and some quarters
of the media have not exactly been understanding towards the challenge we face. All I can
say is that these individuals do not understand the enormous task we face and I take great
pride in having done our talking on the track today. Let's now focus our efforts towards
Canada and see whether our new development is consistent on other tracks."
Pedro de la Rosa was quite disappointed about not
finishing after he had to park his car owing to hydraulic problems. "This was
obviously a very disappointing race for me and a continuation of the bad luck that has
plagued me so far this season. Come to think of it I've never had any luck around Monaco
anyway so I guess that's consistency! My start was ok and I actually overtook Frentzen,
but I then had to let Raikkonen past to avoid an unnecessary first corner accident. I was
able to hold my position comfortably from there on and the car felt very well balanced. On
lap 18 at the left-hander before Casino I had to let Frentzen through to avoid another
accident and then I just lost the gearshift and throttle so I guess it must have been the
hydraulics. Even though I'm disappointed it's been a good weekend for the team and we have
shown that we can be competitive."
Team Principal Bobby Rahal was overjoyed with the result in a race so challenging.
"This was a real morale booster for the team and I'd like to pass on my heartfelt
thanks to everyone involved with Jaguar Racing. We have faced many critics in the past few
weeks and I hope today's result proves that we are making progress. The magnitude of the
task ahead of us cannot be overstated enough and the challenge now is to turn this maiden
podium into consistency. Jaguar Racing is not here to make up the numbers and our
long-term goal is to win the World Championship. That takes time, resources, stability and
consistency. Taking third place alongside the Ferraris at Monaco is one small step in a
very long road ahead of us. Nevertheless, it's just reward for the work everybody has put
in and I'm delighted with our achievement today."