Irvine: Jaguar is a satisfying challenge

Eddie Irvine has said leading Jaguar to competitiveness would be more rewarding than any of his Grand Prix wins with Ferrari

Irvine: Jaguar is a satisfying challenge

But he admitted they will have to go through "real hell" to take the famous British marque to the top of Formula 1.

In a frank assessment of Jaguar's chances Irvine said they were unlikely to win a Grand Prix on merit before his contract runs out at the end of 2003.

Irvine returned to action Friday in Germany sporting a dyed blonde crew-cut after missing the Austrian Grand Prix through illness. He says he has been given a clean bill of health but is not yet 100 per cent fit as he tries to shake off a tenacious virus.

"We are building something here. We are building a house - seeing it form - and that gives me great satisfaction. It is a more deeper satisfaction than just winning races," he said.

"If I can help turn this thing around it will be a lot more satisfying that just winning one or two races.

"The team was never in a position to challenge for wins this year.

"And I know it is not going to be easy trying to turn things round - it is going to be hell, real, real hell.

"I was surprised by quite a few things initially. We made a big backward step for this year on the engine. The car is very different to the Ferrari.

"But every race we are coming up with a few things that will make it better to drive, if not quicker.

"It has been difficult but it has been enjoyable.

"You are not seeing it but we are making progress.

"Johnny should have got points in Austria but he had a slow out lap and his pitstop was slow. We have had a lot of races where we could have had points but we didn't.

"I don't think there is a straightforward win in the three years. It is not going to be that easy. "

"There is potential for a win whenever McLaren or Ferrari has problems, but look at what Jordan are doing - and some of these other teams - they are not idiots and they can't touch the top two. "

Irvine ended the day 18th of the 22 runners as heavy rain interrupted the team's schedule as they worked on set-up and braking and he declared the new V10 an improvement on its predecessor.

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