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Pizzonia hits out at "inhuman" Jaguar

NEWS STORY
22/07/2004

Ahead of his return to F1, WilliamsF1's Antonio Pizzonia has hit out at his former employers, Jaguar.

The Brazilian returns to the F1 cockpit this weekend, replacing Ralf Schumacher, who was injured in the United States GP, and replaced in the French and British events by Marc Gene.

In the eyes of many, Pizzonia was shamefully treated by Jaguar last year, a team that has a history of badly treating its second drivers.

Shortly after the season began, there were rumours coming out of Milton Keynes, suggesting that the team was unhappy with Pizzonia and in particular his lack of pace compared to teammate Mark Webber. Meanwhile, former driver Eddie Irvine, dumped by the team at the end of 2002, also took every opportunity to demoralise the Brazilian.

A deadline was set, by which team Pizzonia had to improve, or risk losing his seat, only for the team to do a complete about-turn and announce that it was sticking with the former WilliamsF1 test driver.

Then, after the British GP, Jaguar revealed that it had done a deal and secured the services of Minardi's Justin Wilson, who subsequently admitted that talks had been ongoing for some time, and that at the very time the team was saying publicly that it was sticking with Pizzonia, was actually inviting Wilson to late night seat fittings.

On the eve of his return to F1, Pizzonia let rip.

"The treatment is totally different," he said, when asked to compare Jaguar and WilliamsF1. "The way they used to treat me there was like shit, to be honest. Here it is a different world. I feel not only respected as a racing driver but as a human being.

"I think last year was probably putting too much pressure on me and after I left I found out a lot of things that I didn't know about the team and the car," he continued. "I found out things that I didn't have on the car and that the other driver had. We didn't have the same treatment.

"Basically they didn't have a lot of money," he added, "and I think they still don't, and it's a lot easier to develop one car quicker than trying to develop both at the same time. I used to get parts one or two races later."

Looking ahead to his return to racing, Pizzonia said; "I feel quite relaxed and very confident and I'm sure I'll be doing a good job here.

"I know this car really well," he added, "I did a lot of mileage in the car, I know the team really well. I think that's going to be the biggest difference for sure. And the car is obviously better than what I was driving last year."

In good old-fashioned tradition, in recent weeks, Jaguar managing Director Dave Pitchforth, has been making similar noises about Christian Klien, claiming that the Austrian came into F1 "too early".

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