Luciano Burti has made a shock switch from Jaguar Racing to Prost Grand Prix for the rest of the Formula 1 season. Pedro de la Rosa will take his place with immediate effect.
The Brazilian knew his days were numbered at Jaguar, and was told at Imola last weekend that his services were not required for 2002 as he is being replaced by de la Rosa. But rather than wait around until the end of the season, Burti has switched to Prost with immediate effect, with the Spaniard taking his place in time for his home Grand Prix in Barcelona on April 29.
"I am and always be grateful to Jaguar Racing as they gave me a chance to show my skills in F1 in Austria and this year," said Burti on his website. "But as Niki Lauda recently said, the team already has two drivers for 2002 and even though Jaguar had assured me I would race this entire season, I'd prefer to go to a team where I can develop in the long term.
"It is an honour to have a driver such as Alain, four-time world champion, recognising my job. That's very encouraging and I'm looking forward to reward him with good results in the next races
"I always had a good relationship with Pedro [Diniz]and his presence in the team will motivate me even more. I will do my best to help him make Prost a front running team."
The Brazilian has struggled to make an impact at Jaguar, and has been outqualified in every race this season by team leader Eddie Irvine. De la Rosa was to have been Prost's test driver but made an acrimonious switch to Jaguar just after he signed a deal. With Burti heading in the other direction, Prost's pending legal action is likely to be dropped.
Burti is with the Prost team at Silverstone today (Thursday), and has already completed his first laps behind the wheel of the AP04.
"Today will be the first time I will meet the people whom I'm going to work with this season," Burti added. "The AP04 is another new thing for me and the objective of today's test is for me to adapt my pedals and my seat, which is not ready yet. But I'm sure that, after this period, I will have conditions to get good results.
"Prost is now in a level of competition very close to Jaguar - you can see that in the last races Jean Alesi was always close to me and Eddie during qualifying and the race."
Mazzacane's future in F1 was heavily dependent on Prost's sponsor PSN, the South American TV network, and his outlook now looks bleak.
Abu Dhabi / Results
Standings / After 17 races
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|Emilia Romagna||Imola||18 Apr|
|Monaco||Monte Carlo||23 May|
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Berlin / Results
|2||Nyck de Vries||47m23.447s|
Standings / After 11 races
|1||Antonio Felix da Costa||158|
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|Diriyah||Diriyah||26 Feb 2021|
|Diriyah||Diriyah||27 Feb 2021|
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