Atlas F1 News Service, a Reuters report

Sack Me If I Fail, Says Irvine

Friday March 2nd, 2001

Eddie Irvine, todayJaguar's flamboyant and outspoken Formula One driver Eddie Irvine agreed on Friday that he should be sacked at the end of the year if he failed to perform.

The Northern Irishman was responding to comments by Jaguar official Niki Lauda that the team's Spanish test driver Pedro de la Rosa could be a candidate to replace Irvine or Luciano Burti next year.

"If the guy does the job, he deserves to be a race driver. If me or Luciano aren't doing the job then we don't deserve it," Irvine told reporters at the Australian Grand Prix.

"It's a great job but everyone wants it and if you're not doing it, you know, get out, go home and sit in front of the TV."

Irvine joined Jaguar last year after finishing second in the driver's championship with Ferrari in 1999.

De la Rosa finished equal 15th in the drivers' championship for Arrows last year while Burti was a test driver for Jaguar in 2000, deputising for Irvine in the Austrian Grand Prix.

Pressure from Fans and Jaguar

Irvine, 35, recorded the 13th fastest time in practice on Friday and finished 13th in the drivers' championship last year.

He has been under pressure to perform, not just from team boss Bobby Rahal and Lauda but also from the fans who see him enjoying life in the fast lane on and off the track.

Lauda, a former world champion, is chief executive officer of Jaguar's Premier Performance Division.

While de la Rosa's presence is seen as more of a threat to Burti, Irvine was rebuked by Rahal last week for criticising the new cars as "too slow" and the technical team "understaffed".

Lauda said: "I have no problems with Eddie because I have known him for many years.

"I think it is always normal during the winter that a lot of bullshit goes on. But when the flag drops the bullshit stops.

"We have a perfect relationship with him."

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