Jaguar signs Webber and Pizzonia

Jaguar has confirmed that it will drop experienced duo Eddie Irvine and Pedro de la Rosa for 2003 in favour of rising stars Mark Webber and Antonio Pizzonia

Jaguar signs Webber and Pizzonia

The pair have long been tipped as the favourites for the drives, but the double-signing rested on Jaguar reaching a settlement with de la Rosa, who still had a season to run on his contract. Irvine's deal had already run out.

Team boss Niki Lauda said: "I am thrilled to be welcoming Antonio and Mark to Jaguar Racing for what promises to be an exciting new partnership in Formula 1.

"In Antonio, or 'Jungle Boy' as he has been nicknamed, we have a very gifted raw racer who will undoubtedly inject a new lease of life into F1. His speed and racing instinct are what attracted us to him and I have little doubt in his ability to shake up the establishment in a big way.

"Mark on the other hand has solid F1 experience and now's his chance to prove exactly what he is capable of. We have two very different characters and I have every intention of revving them up in an effort to extract the maximum from them."

Next year will be former Williams test driver Pizzonia's maiden season as a grand prix driver. "Having spent a year testing solidly for BMW WilliamsF1, the logical next step was to secure a race drive for 2003 and to have been given that opportunity by Niki Lauda is simply fantastic," he said.

Former Minardi racer Webber said: "I'm truly excited about racing for Jaguar next season. It is one of the most emotive and successful names in motor racing and one that has a wealth of motorsport heritage.

"It is critical that Antonio and I help accelerate the team's progress over the winter so as to be ready for what promises to be a very exciting season given the revised format of the race weekend."

Both drivers tested for Jaguar earlier this year as part of the team's evaluation of up and coming new talent.

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