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FEBRUARY 20, 2001

Scheckter surprised by De la Rosa appointment

JAGUAR test driver Tomas Scheckter said on Tuesday that the appointment of Pedro de la Rosa alongside him as an official tester had come as a surprise.

South African Scheckter, speaking from Spain where he is currently working towards a Formula Nissan Championship deal, indicated that he knew nothing of the deal to bring in De la Rosa and said he expected to be the team's only test driver this year.

"As far as I thought, I was the only Jaguar test driver," said Scheckter, the son of Ferrari's 1979 world champion Jody. "Jaguar have not been in contact with me and I was not aware of it at all."

Scheckter took over from Luciano Burti as test driver when the latter stepped up for a full drive after Johnny Herbert left the team at the end of last season.

Scheckter, who competed for Stewart Racing in the British Formula Three Championship last year, has said in the past that he will leave at the end of the current season if he is not offered a Formula One seat.

But he said on Tuesday that he is hoping to secure a deal in the Formula Nissan Championship to work in conjunction with his Jaguar test-drives in 2001.

"I haven't signed anything in Formula Nissan yet," he added. "It is a good series and I'm keen to keep racing. It can also work around the tests, which is good.

"Hopefully, I'll be doing quite a bit of testing this year. There is no set plan, but I think I'll do around 15 or more tests."