Rahal backs drivers as Button rumours intensify

Jaguar Racing chief Bobby Rahal has given his current drivers Eddie Irvine and Pedro de la Rosa a vote of confidence for next season, but hinted his line up could change in 2003 - when Jenson Button is tipped to join the team

Rahal backs drivers as Button rumours intensify

Button is currently in the middle of his first season of a two-year loan spell at Benetton, after which he is supposed to return to Williams. Jaguar, however, is believed to have approached the Grove-based team over his services for the 2003 season.

Rahal confirmed that his current line up will remain next season, but admitted there are no drivers in place for 2003 as yet.

"We've got our two drivers for next year - we've got Eddie and we've got Pedro," Rahal told Autosport. "Our line up is confirmed for next year and, after that, Eddie's contract is up for the end of 2002 [as is de la Rosa's]. It is interesting, really, because who else is there? Ultimately, what our decision will be for 2003 won't happen for some time."

Rahal wouldn't be drawn on any potential changes in line up, and says he is content with the performance of his current drivers.

"This year has shown how good Eddie really is," he said. "I think Pedro drives differently than Eddie, and I think his pace in the race is different. Eddie can go out and put a lap in just like that, and Pedro takes a little bit more time.

"Ultimately, they both go fairly quickly. We have just got to get Pedro and Eddie in a better car. I am happy with both of them."

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