Thursday February 22nd, 2001
Jaguar boss Bobby Rahal has criticised Eddie Irvine for recent comments suggesting the Formula One team's new car was "too slow".
"There may be some question as to the overall performance level but we're probably not as bad as we've been portrayed," The Guardian newspaper quoted Rahal as saying on Thursday.
"I don't know whether these [criticisms] are Eddie's ways of motivating people. I've seen other drivers do that. But I have never felt it was a very positive way of motivating people," added the American.
The Times newspaper said Rahal had delivered a rebuke behind closed doors to the Northern Irishman.
Irvine had said last week that the car was too slow and his technical team understaffed.
"We have done a lot of work but we have not done some things that needed to be done," he said.
His comments led to a rumour, promptly denied by the team, that he might be replaced, but Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa was hired this week as an additional test driver with the promise of racing for Jaguar in the future.
The signing of De la Rosa cast doubt over the future beyond 2001 of both Irvine, at 35 the second-oldest driver in Formula One, and Brazilian novice Luciano Burti.