The Jaguar team has shown serious interest in taking on the Brazilian driver Helio Castroneves for 2003, it has been revealed.
According to the ESPN network, Castroneves’ current employer Roger Penske, the US racing magnate, spoke to Jaguar on his behalf last weekend during the US Grand Prix.
‘I didn't know anything about it until Roger told me he was talking to them for me and he wanted me to talk with a certain person from Jaguar but I wasn't able to find him,’ Castroneves said yesterday.
‘I finally found (Jaguar boardmember) Jackie Stewart and he said he would pass on the message to the right person. I'm going to call England (Tuesday) because all those people are flying back today.
‘I want to know what's going on and I don't have any offer yet but if it's serious I'm going to go after this.’
Castroneves was previously a candidate to join Toyota after testing for the Cologne team at Paul Ricard recently but it was thought contractual issues with Penske prevented the a move.
However given that Penske made the enquiry to Jaguar and has said he would be happy to see Castroneves further his career beyond US motorsport, the path could be cleared for him to sign for Jaguar.
‘I have no intention to leave that guy (Penske) but, what a man, to do something like this,’ Castroneves added. ‘Everything he does is with a handshake and he has been the best thing ever for my career.
‘I'm very happy racing here in America for Roger and I don't want to give up what I have here to pursue a dream unless it's worthwhile.
‘I'd just stay where I'm welcome but I must say I enjoyed my first experience with a Formula One car. A ride in F1 is something I grew up wanting to have.’
Jaguar has confirmed that Pedro de la Rosa will be one of its drivers next year but there have been several drivers mentioned in connection with the second seat including Minardi’s Mark Webber, Sauber’s Felipe Massa, and it is still not clear whether Eddie Irvine will leave the team even though there is strong claims he will re-join Jordan.