According to reports in the Sun, Jaguar Racing have dumped Eddie Irvine from their 2003 driver-line-up, the Irishman receiving a phone call from team boss Niki Lauda while relaxing at his Miami home. The report states that Eddie wasn't the only one dumped by the Milton Keynes based squad with this year's teammate Pedro de la Rosa also informed that his future services won't be required.
Irvine, currently the oldest driver in the field and the one that saved the team from being a complete laughing stock by scoring all of their eight points this season, will be replaced by Australian driver Mark Webber while BMW Williams test driver Antonio Pizzonia will take de la Rosa's place. While shocked by the news, especially that the team plan on fielding two inexperienced drivers, Irvine said that it doesn't really affect his future plans.
"This doesn't really affect my plans for the future, but if I were a team boss, I wouldn't be happy fielding two inexperienced drivers,” he told the Sun. “With the new qualifying rules, drivers have just one flying lap to gain grid position and the experienced men will have an advantage."
"To have one of the most famous names in motor racing fielding two inexperienced drivers is a complete joke,” the paper quoted a source close to the team as saying. “Pedro failed to score a single point last season and if it hadn't been for Eddie's skills behind the wheel, Jaguar would have finished rock bottom in the championship. Eddie upset a few people with his straight talking but he proved time and again that his theories on making the car go quicker were right. As soon as the team started listening to him and made the changes he wanted, the car was more competitive and Eddie was immediately battling for points."
Eddie's contract came to a close this year, but Pedro still had one year to run on his, however it was revealed at the penultimate round of the 2002 season that the team were far from impressed with the Spaniard. Eddie will now have to look for a drive with Jordan alongside Giancarlo Fisichella while Pedro's only option left would be with Minardi.