Age is no problem for me says Irvine

JAGUAR RACING team leader Eddie Irvine says that he believes his age is no handicap when it comes to taking on young rising stars such as Kimi Raikkonen and Jenson Button over the next few F1 seasons.

Speaking at the launch of the Jaguar R3, the 36-year old Ulsterman commented; "I don't feel old and experience is an advantage. There are guys eight years younger than me, but that's not a problem. When you are young you might have more bravado, but that's not so much of an advantage in F1 where a cool, clear and analytical head matters even more.

"I see progress and the way ahead and I believe that, with Niki Lauda in charge of the team, we will deliver results."

Lauda admits that he is looking forward to the 2002 season with considerable anticipation after a difficult past season in which the team bagged just nine Championship points. "It is a long way to the top but we will be getting there sooner than some people might think," he predicted.

"The objective is to climb two or three notches this year and be ready for a Championship challenge in 2003. We must improve our aerodynamics substantially in order to catch up with Ferrari and McLaren. As for Williams, the main problem for us is their powerful engine.

"My first year as Jaguar's team boss was one of analysis. It's my job to get us back to the top and 2002 will be the year in which my changes should start to be effective."

However, Lauda added a cautionary note; "Last year we were trailing by about 10 per cent. Even if we improve by seven or eight per cent, the others will improve as well, so we will only catch up a little."

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