Jaguar Give Wilson Time to Make his Case

Jaguar have given Briton Justin Wilson the rest of the season to convince the team he is the man to partner Australian Mark Webber next year.

Jaguar Give Wilson Time to Make his Case

Jaguar have given Briton Justin Wilson the rest of the season to convince the team he is the man to partner Australian Mark Webber next year.

"Justin is doing a good job for us and we have another three races left with him before we need to make a decision for 2004," the Formula One team's managing director David Pitchforth said in a preview for Sunday's Italian Grand Prix.

"We need to give him a trouble-free race package for a weekend - something we haven't done given his retirements from the German and Hungarian Grand Prix," he added. "Only then can Justin demonstrate his true potential.

"It is a buyer's market right now and we are under no pressure to announce Mark's teammate for next season," said Pitchforth. "Unlike other teams, we changed our driver line-up mid-season and we need to give Justin a fair opportunity to demonstrate himself prior to any decisions being taken."

Rookie Wilson started the season with Minardi and replaced Brazilian Antonio Pizzonia at Ford-owned Jaguar before last month's German Grand Prix. The US and Japanese races take place after Monza.

Jaguar have a long list of candidates and Wilson was told when he arrived, with five races remaining, that the team expected to make a decision before the last one. Jaguar have also suggested that their second driver may have to bring financial backing but Pitchforth said there were other important factors.

"It is a complex equation that involves looking at experience, the extent to which someone is a team player, adaptability to our growing company and suitability to the challenge that lies ahead of us amongst many other factors," he said.

"Justin was made aware of this right from day one and both sides are clear and comfortable with the matter," he added.

Wilson, who has yet to score a point from his 13 Formula One starts, tested with Jaguar at Monza last week and will have two hours of private testing there on Friday as well.

"I am enjoying my time with the team and we are making steps forward," he said. "I know they had a podium here last year but to be honest, if I can finish the race I will be a happy man."

Briton Eddie Irvine took third place at Monza last year for Jaguar. Two races later, he was out of a job as the team brought in Webber and Pizzonia for 2003.

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