Lauda: Pedro Will Drive
April 17, 2001 | 9:00 A.M. EST
De la Rosa’s role in Jaguar’s future was muddled in the beginning, but Lauda confirmed that the former Arrows driver will be in the hot seat next year, bumping Burti either back down to his testing role, or perhaps with another team.
"We had to commit to him (de la Rosa) as he would not agree to sign as a test driver if he didn't have a full drive next year," Lauda said. "My urgent need was for us to have a proper test driver. He is doing a perfect job in testing. The information he is giving us is perfect. The combination of him and Irvine seems ideal to me."
Jaguar Racing CEO Bobby Rahal has said de la Rosa will drive in races next year but it was unclear who he would replace. Lauda’s confirmation also dispels rumors of Jaguar’s interest in CART Series driver Dario Franchitti.
Lauda also ruled out the possibility of de la Rosa moving up into the racing seat before next season.
"Under the circumstances Burti is doing a perfect job," Lauda said. "The Spanish media keep asking me is de la Rosa will drive at Barcelona, but I keep telling them he will only race if either of our regular drivers gets ill."