Dennis and Irvine in war of words

Formula One wildboy Eddie Irvine fired another salvo in his war of words with rival team boss Ron Dennis

Dennis and Irvine in war of words

The Jaguar ace says Dennis told him he was better than current driver David Coulthard.

"I don't care about his feelings," said the unrepentant race ace, who moved to Jaguar in a $50 million three-year deal.

"Ron does a great job and if he was my boss I would care but he's not. I work against him.

"I told them I wasn't going to drive for the sort of figures Couthard is supposed to earn.

"It is not as if Ron can't afford it.

"You have got to pay people what they think they are worth. You can't get people cheap.

"He told me I was better than Coulthard but not better enough to take the risk," said the Ulsterman after yesterday's race.

Dennis had been left fuming by reports that Irvine had said he had turned down the drive because he had not been offered enough money.

Irvine has denied talking about his secret talks with McLaren until it became the talk of the paddock.

"Everyone was talking about it except me. I was the only one there except several people from McLaren and it certainly didn't come from me."

Dennis claims the Ulsterman was never offered the chance to drive for the Formula 1 pacesetters.

"It is wrong for Eddie to say he chose not to drive for McLaren because of financial discussions. They never took place," said Dennis.

"He may be a colourful character but he shouldn't re-write history."

The team says Irvine made it plain at the start he would be demanding a considerable pay cheque but Dennis says talks never got that far.

But he did admit that the team had met with the four-time winner and they had also talked over the telephone.

"Every year we do a very detailed analysis of all the available drivers," said Dennis.

"Yes we met Eddie and yes we talked on the telephone but at no stage whatsoever was money discussed.

"I am extremely uncomfortable to see Eddie's view that he was the one dictating the circumstances under which he would take the drive.

"He was understandably very, very keen to drive for us, but we chose to stay exactly as we are because we thought David and Mika were the best drivers.

"We have the ability to pay what we want to who we want but we have never taken a decision based on money.

"We chose the drivers and they are both very highly paid and very happy.

"Both our drivers earn exceedingly good money. The decison not to offer Eddie the drive was based on nothing else but who we felt was best for the job.

"As much as he continually snipes the facts speak for themselves.

"Our discussions were very amiable and friendly but now I am disappointed in him."

Dennis said that despite his reputation as an out-spoken wild boy he was impressed with the Ulsterman's approach to racing.

"I was very positively surprised at the meetings we had with him."

But he was less that pleased at the Irishman's belief that the team only wants drab, subservient drivers in the cockpit.

"His concept that we clone our drivers and we do not like colourful drivers, personalities, those who paint their hair, wear weird baggy clothes, swear or like fast girls is all ludicrous.

"We will put the two drivers in whether they are poor communicators, ugly or have no dress sense. Its after we have decided who we want, its then that we discuss the money.

"Money was not an issue. It was only an issue with Damon.

"Having such discussions is not a case of being disloyal to Mika or David we are a professional organisation.

"We are very very comfortable with our decision and David is doing a very good job.

"We all have the same problem and most stem from fundamental insecurities. We are all insecure and if you are thrust into public life your insecurities become more relevant.

"The way Eddie behaves stems from that fundamental weakness. The more you are in the spotlight the more the weakness shows."

The pits most colourful character was in headlines again over the weekend over his fear of being attacked.

Speaking to a British newspaper Jaguar's new £6.5 million signing said he was always on the alert when out partying - which is a lot of the time.

His concerns have increased since Beatles legend George Harrison, who is a regualr visitor to the Formula 1 paddock, who was stabbed in his home by a crazed fan.

Irvine cited one incident where friends had to restrain a fellow reveller who was about to hit him.

"I was in a bar, sat down and immediately saw a guy lift a bottle. I could see he was making his way to come and wack me," Irvine is quoted as saying.

"My mates stopped him but I had already seen him.

"I am very conscious of people around looking at me. Look what happened to George Harrison.

"I am very careful where I go when I go out at night."

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