APRIL 22, 2001

Lauda says Prost wanted De la Rosa

NIKI LAUDA, the chief advisor to Jaguar Racing, has said that the Prost team enquired about the availability of test-driver Pedro de la Rosa before signing Luciano Burti.

De la Rosa, who only joined Jaguar as a tester at the start of the season, will now replace Burti, who in turn will take the place of out-of-favor Gaston Mazzacane at Prost. Both drivers will make their race debuts for their respective teams at next weekend's Spanish Grand Prix.

"Just before Imola Alain Prost rang me and asked 'is there a possibility', because he was not happy with (Gaston) Mazzacane," Lauda told BBC radio.

"He asked if he could borrow De La Rosa and let him race for him (Prost) and test for Jaguar.

"I told him very simply this is not possible because we want to use De la Rosa in his full way of testing. I think we have found a deal that is good for everybody."

Brazilian Burti, meanwhile, has said that he has no hard feelings at being ousted from Jaguar after just four races this season as he looks forward to a new challenge at Prost.

"I always had good friends there since I first drove for the Paul Stewart Racing, at 1997, during the F-Vauxhall season," said Burti.

"I had a very good relationship among the team; the mechanics, the engineers, the marketing and PR people, all the staff really. They work really hard and I honestly wish them a very good luck for future."

Regarding Prost, Burti added: "I had a very good impression of the team. The atmosphere in Prost is really amazing and I'm looking forward to my debut for the team at the Spanish GP."