After a very strong performance all weekend in Monza, Eddie Irvine today rewarded Jaguar Racing with an impressive podium finish at the Italian Grand Prix. Eddie Irvine and Pedro de la Rosa started the race in 5th and 8th places respectively but Pedro’s race was short-lived after a coming together with Sauber’s Felipe Massa. Eddie, however, drove a very strong and intelligent race and managed to achieve his first podium of the season and Jaguar Racing’s second since the Monaco Grand Prix last year. As was the case in Monaco last year, the Jaguar R3 crossed the finishing line just behind the two Ferraris of Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello. In the process, Jaguar Racing now leaps ahead of British American Racing-Honda and Jordan-Honda to claim sixth place in the overall championship standings.
Niki Lauda – CEO and Team Principal
"An absolutely fantastic result and just reward for the extremely hard work that has produced today’s result. We knew coming into this weekend that we had a good chance of claming a point or two but the car performed extremely competitively and without a doubt, Eddie drove a storming race. This circuit is a killer and as we saw, it claimed the race of both BMW Williams and a McLaren Mercedes. Pedro was unlucky to have his race cut short by Massa but Eddie’s result was well deserved and down to many people who have all worked tirelessly in the pursuit of turning this season around. Cosworth and Castrol have done a great job in generating the required power and Michelin’s work clearly showed today. Add the 360 people back at Milton Keynes who have not let their commitment slip and you now get an understanding of how this turnaround happened. We have all suffered a hard season but we now have a very good baseline for next year’s car. We still have a long way to go in terms of being consistent against the front runners but we must also acknowledge how far we have come since the beginning of the season. There is nothing to prevent us from being as competitive at the next two races and in the meantime, we go to Barcelona for a three-day test."
Eddie Irvine Position: 3rd Best time: 1:25.579 Chassis: R3-05 T-Car: R3-06
"It’s great to back on the podium again after so long and I’m very happy indeed with the reward generated for the team. The Jaguar R3 has been a strong contender here all weekend and without doubt, the team has done an excellent job in getting us here. The longer you’re away, the sweeter it is and this is simply fantastic for everyone at Jaguar. It was a tough race and right from the very beginning, my aim was to aim for the podium. The pace of the car was very good throughout the race and I suffered no problems at all. Once I stretched my lead into third place, I backed off in an effort to preserve the car and in particular, the brakes. About fifteen laps from the end, however, the team told me to begin pushing hard again because of the big chunks of time that Trulli’s Renault was taking out of me. I upped the pace and just kept pushing and pushing towards the end. A podium place is simply fantastic and after Monaco, there is no better place to get it. The relief on everyone’s face is clear to see and more than anything, I owe this result to the workforce at Milton Keynes who have seen very little good news this season. Under Niki and Guenther’s leadership, the team has done an incredible job in transforming the Jaguar R3 into what is now a competitive machine. Apart from the tub I sit in, everything on this car has been re-designed and changed since the beginning of the season – everything from the suspension, floor, engine and of course, the aerodynamics. Formula One needs Jaguar and Jaguar needs Formula One. Today went quite some way towards proving that and let’s now see what we can generate from the last two races."
Pedro de la Rosa Position: DNF Best time: 1:27.600 Chassis: R3-03 "I am delighted for the team but obviously disappointed that I couldn’t contribute towards the result. My race began badly when, at the first chicane, the car switched into neutral. By the time I got up to the correct gear, most of the field had got past me and I found myself in 15th position after the first lap. Nonetheless, I knew the car had the pace to make something out of the race and I began pushing very hard. I managed to get myself into 14th position and then found myself stuck behind Massa who did the most inexplicable things I have seen on a race track for ages. He kept moving all over the place and every time I made an effort to pass him, he blocked me. My patience was running out and I then made a move to pass him at the Ascari chicane when he moved over again and took my front wing off on lap 15. I had no choice to call it a day and take up the matter with the race stewards who are now looking into his behaviour. The real story from today, however, is the team’s giant leap into 6th place in the championship and that’s what matters most. Eddie did a very impressive job today and I am hoping to add to the tally at the last two races."
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