LONDON: Formula One driver Eddie Irvine looks set to retire from the sport after talks with the Jordan Grand Prix team broke down, a British newspaper reported yesterday.
“It’s a sad day. I have decided not to drive in Formula One this year – or at least the moment,” Irvine told the Sun newspaper from his home in Miami.
Championship runner-up with Ferrari in the 1999 season, Irvine was released by Jaguar at the end of his contract in October but had hoped to secure a drive with Jordan for this year.
The 37-year-old was looking for a return to the Irish team where he stated his career in 1993.
“In July last year I made my mind up to drive for Jordan.
“I had very strong feelings about returning to the team but due to the economic downturn, Jordan are forced to look for a driver who brings extra funds to the team whilst I can only bring speed reliability and greater experience,” he said.
Irvine would have been a strong asset to the struggling team but despite offering to take a huge cut in the £6 million (US$9.67 million) salary Jaguar Racing paid him each year, an agreement could not be reached.
“It’s a shame because I really would have enjoyed the rule changes, specifically single-lap qualifying,” Irvine added.
Jordan are looking for a second driver to team up with Italian Giancarlo Fisichella and now that Irvine has been ruled out, Brazilian pair Felipe Massa and Enrique Bernoldi are expected to vie for the vacant position.
Unsurprisingly, Irvine has refused to rule out a return to the sport at some stage.
“You never know what can happen,” he said. – Reuters