Exploring Pedro de la Rosa’s transition from Arrows to a tumultuous tenure at Jaguar, we delve into the challenges and missteps that hindered the team’s success in Formula 1 racing.
After his mixed experience with Arrows, Pedro de la Rosa was chosen by Jaguar to be its lead driver in 2001 and 2002.
However, despite significant investment, Jaguar never really took off. The team was later sold to Red Bull and became Red Bull Racing…
In 2001, the Spaniard only scored points twice, and none in 2002.
Speaking to Motorsport Week, he analyzed the failure of the green team (formerly Stewart GP): what was the reason? Was it the money, the people, the equipment, the factory… or the drivers?
“I look back on that time with sadness because the overall project was fantastic.”
“It seemed like we had the budget, we had the opportunity.”
“But the team wasn’t ready to have the green car. I always think the biggest problem was painting the whole team green with the Jaguar logo, because the team didn’t have the structure, didn’t have the wind tunnel, didn’t really have the tools to be that kind of team. And that cost us the opportunity.”
“We didn’t have a fast car. We were growing, we needed more time, and I always look back with sadness because I always thought there were strategic errors that made us lose the opportunity to develop the huge potential the team had.”
“I felt it was the right team. We were so close to signing Adrian Newey, and he came [shortly after to Red Bull]. We were so close to doing something special, but Adrian didn’t come, and we didn’t have time to invest in the wind tunnel. We had to use a wind tunnel in the United States, and every two weeks, our aerodynamicists would go work there and then come back.”
“The potential was huge, but we never had the time to meet those expectations. But as I said, the biggest problem was painting the car green when we weren’t prepared for it…”
De la Rosa also points out the minimal contribution of Eddie Irvine: the world vice-champion and former Ferrari driver was supposed to elevate the green team, but his certain laziness or temperamental nature didn’t help the structure…
“In a way, I was too immature for Jaguar because there were things that, with my experience at McLaren, would have helped me more.”
“That’s what I expected from Eddie because he came from Ferrari. He was second in the world championship, and I didn’t understand after that why he didn’t point out what we were not doing, what we were missing. It was so obvious to me, after being at McLaren, to see it.. there was no chance Jaguar was going to win.”
“So it was sad in a way, but I had some great times afterwards (after Jaguar), at McLaren. I met engineers, people, mechanics, friends, amazing drivers, and I had the opportunity to work with Fernando [Alonso] and Lewis [Hamilton], two of the best drivers in F1 history in the same team…”
Can Aston Martin F1 avoid a fate like Jaguar’s?
Now, De la Rosa is an ambassador for Aston Martin F1. Two teams that invest a lot, two green teams, two teams with big ambitions…
So, the Spaniard is well placed to know: Can Aston Martin F1 become the next Red Bull… or the next Jaguar?
“This first year at Aston has been incredible and I’ve enjoyed it much more than I expected, mainly because of the people. The atmosphere in this team is great, but it was already in November 2022, even though the team hadn’t won any podiums yet.”
“It’s very easy when everything goes well, but we’ve had some difficult races and the atmosphere hasn’t changed. We started off well, then we had races where we started from the pit lane, which was very hard for all of us, but the people remained the same.”
“I think Aston has made incredible progress in 2022 and that continued over the winter and the first races of 2023. The progress is steady. It’s steep and I’m not surprised to be honest. I’m happy that we’ve managed to be where we are, but it’s not a surprise given what I’ve seen at the factory and the people on the team.”
“If you go to our campus, you understand why we are where we are. It’s not like at Jaguar, where you think it’s going to take years and years to get there. We have everything we need.”
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