Friday February 16th, 2001
By Simon Evans
Jaguar's Formula One driver Eddie Irvine said on Thursday his car was "too slow", his technical team was "understaffed" and he believed the introduction of traction control was bad for the sport.
Irvine said there had been some positives from the recent testing but felt the preparations had not been complete and he was far from satisfied with his car.
"We have done a lot of work but we have not done some things that needed to be done," Irvine said.
Asked about his car he said "it is a bit too slow" and he acknowledged Jaguar had been hit by defections from their technical staff.
"We are a bit under-staffed. We have lost some mechanics and engineers, some good people. We have brought some people in but we need to attract some more good people," said Irvine.
Like many in the sport he expects the championship to again be dominated by McLaren and Ferrari.
"Without a doubt they will be the top two again. Those guys have been building for five or six years to get to the level they are now.
"Then comes Williams who are ahead of the rest of us. We are down the bottom among those who need to improve," said the Northern Irishman.
Jaguar made a high-profile return to F1 last year but had a disappointing season, winning just four points.
In a bid to get that improvement underway Jaguar have brought in Niki Lauda as chief advisor.
Irvine said he welcomed the appointment of the Austrian who won world titles with Ferrari in 1975 and 1977 and McLaren in 1984.
"He can bring a lot to the team. He is a clever guy with a good brain and we need to use that for the best. I have to use him and the whole team has to use him.
"He will also have the ear of the big bosses and can make them realise what we need," said Irvine.
Irvine was scathing about the introduction of traction control to the sport.
"I like Formula One, it is my passion but traction control is not Formula One, it takes too much away. The fans want to hear the engine roar, that's what they come for, not to hear the sound of misfires as you come out of a corner."
He said some of the electronic functions which would now be permitted could be beneficial but said the sport's governing body had effectively admitted defeat in their bid to regulate the use of electronic aids.
"It's like the Interantional Olympic Committee saying it's okay to use drugs because we can't stop people using them. It's a bit defeatist," said the former Ferrari driver.
Irvine has chosen to stay in Italy despite leaving Ferrari for Jaguar in 1999. He continues to live in Milan where he is a well-known figure.
"It is a great city to live in. The people here know how to live," he said.