Rahal gives Irvine his vote of confidence

Jaguar Racing boss Bobby Rahal has hit back at recent criticism of his lead driver Eddie Irvine by saying the Ulsterman is as committed as ever and not afraid of hard work

Rahal gives Irvine his vote of confidence

Irvine has developed a reputation as the 'bad boy' in Formula 1 over recent years. Since moving to Jaguar last year, after finishing second to Mika Hakkinen in the 1999 title race, the 35 year old has been accused of not taking his role with the struggling team seriously enough.

The criticism culminated in comments from former grand prix driver and fellow Ulsterman John Watson, who said last week that the Jaguar number one was in 'cruise and collect' mode.

"Eddie is still extremely committed," Rahal told Autsport's sister title Autocar. "If you've got to this level, you've got to be pretty confident in your abilities, given the right situation. If he was coasting, his lack of passion would be obvious."

Irvine himself reacted to the criticism while testing at Valencia in Spain last week, and believes his testing workload is proof enough that the comments are misplaced.

"Well, the lazy bastard is in the middle of a four-day test at Valencia," a deadpan Irvine told British national paper The Daily Telegraph. "It's comical. Look how much testing I've done in the last two years - every winter, all winter, since I came to Jaguar."

Despite Rahal's comments in support of his star driver, rumours suggest that the Jaguar management are hoping Pedro de la Rosa, who was promoted into the team's second race seat in place of Luciano Burti before the Spanish Grand Prix, will put more pressure on Irvine.

"In 24 races, I have only been out-qualified by my team mate three times," said Irvine.

Irvine was consistently half a second faster than de la Rosa at Valencia last week and out-qualified the Spaniard by seven places for the Spanish Grand Prix.

shares
comments
Minardi strikes out at Toyota’s Brunner deal
Previous article

Minardi strikes out at Toyota’s Brunner deal

Next article

Williams not stymied by diffuser clarification

Williams not stymied by diffuser clarification
Load comments
How Ferrari gained a new edge over McLaren in the best-of-the-rest F1 2021 battle Plus

How Ferrari gained a new edge over McLaren in the best-of-the-rest F1 2021 battle

Supremacy in the McLaren vs Ferrari fight over third place in the constructors’ championship has ebbed and flowed between the two teams so far in the 2021 Formula 1 season. But for several key reasons, right now it seems the advantage has swung decisively back to the Scuderia and McLaren knows it.

The 70s US superteam that tried and failed to crack F1 Plus

The 70s US superteam that tried and failed to crack F1

Vel’s Parnelli Jones Racing was briefly one of the biggest names on the US motorsports scene, but its ambition outstripped its resources. STUART CODLING relates the story of a Formula 1 campaign cut off in its prime

Formula 1
Oct 26, 2021
The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory Plus

The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory

As the 2021 Formula 1 title battle winds towards its climax, the United States GP added another thrilling act in the Lewis Hamilton-Max Verstappen battle. Although Hamilton aced the start, Verstappen and Red Bull took the initiative with strategy and were richly rewarded, despite Mercedes' best efforts as the race went down to the wire

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
US Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a baking hot afternoon at the returning Circuit of the Americas, Formula 1 drivers were tested to their limits. As the pressure on the title contending squads reaches an ever-greater level of intensity, the foremost challengers again showed their class, but were outshone by a standout drive from the upper midfield

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement Plus

Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement

Three years on from Kimi Raikkonen's last Grand Prix victory at Austin, he is now six races away from ending the longest Formula 1 career in history. His friend and former Ice1 Racing rally team PR man ANTHONY PEACOCK explains why there’s nobody quite like the 2007 world champion and why F1 will miss him (but he won’t miss it)

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Plus

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material Plus

Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull Plus

How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull

Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be another close contest

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021