Atlas F1 News Service

De la Rosa Decision Takes Stewart by Surprise

Saturday March 3rd, 2001

By Roger Horton, Melbourne

Yesterday's announcement by Niki Lauda, that one of Jaguar's current drivers - Eddie Irvine or Lucian Burti - would have to make way for new test driver Pedro de La Rosa next season, has surprised Jaguar's former boss Jackie Stewart.

Speaking after Saturday's first free practice session, the three-time World Champion said: "I don't know about that. I mean, they made their own decision, but it would be difficult for me to understand that decision correctly, because they haven't seen him in the car.

"They haven't seen Burti, for example, do many races, or any races this season, so they don't know how he is going to adapt. They don't know how Eddie Irvine's going to go this year. I myself probable wouldn't make a decision of that kind unless it was a driver like Michael Schumacher coming in."

Eddie Irvine managed to break into the top ten in the morning practice session, finishing with ninth fastest time. Burti was seventeenth.

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