Tuesday February 13th, 2001
Ulsterman Eddie Irvine has responded to Ford's new Premier Performance Division CEO Niki Lauda, who accused the Jaguar driver of needing help to get motivated and who said he was quick when "he is in the right mood".
Triple world champion Lauda was recently appointed by Ford, owners of the Jaguar Racing team, and will be involved to some extent in the running of the outfit. Irvine admitted he finds it hard to understand why someone in the team would criticise him.
"I find it odd that Niki Lauda, who will be involved with my Jaguar Racing team this season, should suggest I occasionally need a kick up the backside to keep motivated," Irvine told the Sun newspaper.
"I hope Niki assesses any problems we may have in the team more accurately than he has assessed my motivation.
"No one is more self-critical and I certainly don't need anyone – not even a three-time world champion – telling me otherwise."
Irvine, whose team has been less than impressive during the pre-season testing sessions, also defended his choice not to do more tests for Jaguar.
"I could have done some more testing if I had wanted but often there's no point," he added. "I get bored going round in circles if the only thing we are concentrating on is reliability.
"We have a test driver to do that sort of thing and I am no longer at the stage of my career where I have to do the donkey work."