I'm not changing my ways, says Irvine

Jaguar Racing's number one driver Eddie Irvine says he will not be changing his playboy ways to appease his critics and insists he will not be leaving the team until his contract ends in October next year

I'm not changing my ways, says Irvine

Irvine has received a recent barrage of criticism slating the 35-year-old as lazy and selfish and that he was on "cruise-and-collect" for his £6 million salary. In the wake of speculation claiming his place at Jaguar was under threat, Irvine was given the public support of team boss Bobby Rahal earlier this week. Irvine says he will not be changing his attitude to life.

"I like girls and I like having a nice life," said Irvine. "I am guilty of all charges and happy to be so. I have done more testing than probably Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard put together this winter, so these comments are quite incredible."

He undoubtedly lives the playboy life with a boat in the Mediterranean and a Lear jet. Between races he jets between homes in Dublin, Oxford and Milan and has recently brought a new pad in Miami.

Irvine claims that accusations of laziness are misplaced, but admits that some of his critics are within the Milton Keynes-based team.

"It could be from someone within the team, but I know what I am doing," he added. "Maybe some people don't like it, but that is the only way we are going to get to the top. They can either join us or they don't. It won't be me that is leaving next year, put it like that."

Jaguar is currently languishing near the bottom of the championship standings and has failed to score a single point so far this year. After just five races, Irvine has only finished one race - the opening round in Australia in 11th place.

Irvine also offered his sympathy to former Jaguar test driver Tomas Scheckter, who was sacked from the team last week after pleading guilty to kerb-crawling charges, and believes this is just a minor setback for the 20-year-old son of 1979 Formula 1 World Champion Jody Scheckter

"It is a shame for the boy. It is a big penalty to pay for something that in the 21st century - it's quite ridiculous," said Irvine. "The cream always rises to the top and I think the boy is good enough. If you look at his record in other formulas, you can see that he is obviously a talented guy.

"He is going to make it. This is a set-back, but I don't think in the overall picture it will matter that much. He is obviously upset about it now, but it the long run I don't think it will even be a blip."

Irvine finished by saying Scheckter had not perhaps picked the best circumstances for his misdemeanour: "I think Thomas should live in Milan," he quipped. "It is a lot cheaper and there is more selection as well..."

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