MARCH 9, 2001
Rahal winds up the pressure on Irvine
JAGUAR RACING team boss Bobby Rahal says that if Dario Franchitti wants to move to Formula 1 in the future, he needs to make the move at the end of this year.
Jaguar Racing's current problem appears to be that it has inherited arrangements over drivers which were made by the previous management of the team and this may not suit the current thinking in the team.
Eddie Irvine's position is probably the least comfortable as he is being paid considerable money by Jaguar and needs to get some decent results if he is to fulfil performance clauses in his contract. If he does not score enough points his contract can be terminated. This would probably suit Jaguar very well as the company wants a name which is well-known in the American market as this is the primary target for the sale of Jaguar cars in the years ahead. The German market is also important, hence the decision to nominate Lotterer to the Jaguar Formula 3 team.
Obviously Jaguar cannot be seen to be doing anything at the moment but we suspect that there may be preliminary conversations going on between the team and Franchitti about a drive next year. Dario is managed by Julian Jakobi, who is also the manager of Pedro de la Rosa, and it may be that he is offering Jaguar a package deal for his drivers in 2002. "I rate Dario very highly," Bobby Rahal told journalists in Australia. "He is one of the few guys who can run wheel-to-wheel with Juan Pablo Montoya. He is still young enough, but if he is going to come here with any team, it has to be this year."