MARCH 13, 2001
Irvine on heat in Malaysia
THE decision not to test since the Australian Grand Prix has left Eddie Irvine in perfect shape for the Malaysian Grand Prix this weekend, the Jaguar driver believes.
Briton Irvine feels he made the right decision to skip Jaguar's Silverstone test last week and he is confident he is ready for the demands of the heat in the Sepang race.
"I haven't been testing since Australia, so I've had plenty of time to concentrate on keeping fit," said Irvine. "This is going to be a particularly important year as I understand it could be even hotter than when we have been there in the past.
"At every stage in the year, hot weather is not what you need for the cars either, but at least Melbourne confirmed our feeling that our cars would be reliable, so hopefully we can build on that start from now and start stepping up the pace."
CEO Bobby Rahal has reiterated Irvine's optimism over the car's performance ahead of the race.
"As we have said from the beginning of the year, our aim for the season is respectability and that means on track reliability," said Rahal.
"Given that both cars crossed the finishing line in Melbourne, I feel that we have started the season on target, especially when you consider the fact that both cars retired from last year's Australian Grand Prix by lap six.
"To have both our cars finish the race was fair reward for the hard work achieved over the winter period and had Eddie not suffered from the over exuberance of another driver during the opening laps, we may have even finished in the points."