JANUARY 11, 2001

Irvine searching for success, but not hopeful

EDDIE IRVINE believes he will find it hard to win another grand prix as he prepares himself for a second year of turmoil at Jaguar Racing.

Jaguar Racing had an unimpressive debut season in 2000 as Irvine scored all of the team's four championship points and the former Ferrari driver is afraid that results will not improve this season.

"I had a lot of things to complain about last season as number one driver and I hope I got a lot of my complaints right," Irvine said. "But I think it could be the same this year."

Irvine has criticized Jaguar Racing's performance in his first year with the team and said he is not convinced the problems of 2000 have been fully fixed before the 2001 season.

"I'm never confident," said Irvine, who was a world championship runner-up with Ferrari in 1999. "We feel we have sorted things out but you never know until you drive the car.

"We are a little team and when you aren't a big team it takes a lot longer to sort things out. It is completely different to being at Ferrari."

New Jaguar Racing team chief Bobby Rahal has given Irvine a vote of confidence and backed the driver to help the Milton Keynes-based team to challenge for points on a regular basis.

Irvine is aware that the arrival of American Rahal will help the team but the 35-year-old driver will not make any predictions on the year ahead. "It is difficult to say what we need to aim at, particularly after last year," Irvine added. "We've done some good work over the winter and we'll keep improving the car.

"But it is all comparative because what other people do also affects how we will look in the first race in Australia.

"We could win races if other people go out but it will be no better than what we were doing before. We definitely have the ability to go a lot further than we did last year.

"Bobby Rahal has brought a new focus to the team and there will be a lot of subtle changes, not so much a switch. To the ordinary observer there won't be many changes but in actual fact there will be."

Irvine indicated that both he and team-mate Luciano Burti will be working hard to improve the Jaguar team over the season but he refused to set any targets for the team to reach.

"We'll be doing a lot of work between now and the first race but over the course of the year I'm sure we will get stronger," he said.

"But who knows how many points we will get - it could be 10, 20, 30 or 60 - but we won't be making promises.

"We made too many promises last year and didn't deliver. This year will be different and we will get better, but that will be in performances. We'll wait for results."