No Jaguar deal yet for Franchitti

Dario Franchitti completed a test drive with Jaguar Racing today but said it was too early to say whether he would join the Formula One team. The 27-year-old Scot, who completed a two-day test at Silverstone, said he had not yet signed a deal to drive for Jaguar next year.

Dario Franchitti completed a test drive with Jaguar Racing today but said it was too early to say whether he would join the Formula One team. The 27-year-old Scot, who completed a two-day test at Silverstone, said he had not yet signed a deal to drive for Jaguar next year.

Franchitti said the test, which comes in the middle of a hectic schedule of three CART series races in successive weeks in North America, was purely so he could fulfill a long-held wish to drive an F1 car.

There has been widespread speculation that Franchitti will be named as a replacement for Johnny Herbert, who appears set to leave the team at the end of the season to forge a new career in the United States.

"I wanted to drive an F1 car to see if I liked it and Jaguar have kindly given me the opportunity to do so," said Franchitti, who was given the opportunity by former Jaguar chairman Jackie Stewart.

"It has gone OK so far. It's been an education. If everything goes well and Jaguar decide I did a good job and like what they see, then we will see what happens next."

Franchitti, second in the FedEx CART Championship with Team KOOL Green last year, said if the opportunity came up he would have to carefully weigh what he enjoys doing most.

"I will have to decide which is the deal I think is the best for me and for my career on either side of the Atlantic," Franchitti said. "Barry Green wants me to stay there and I enjoy Champ Cars. F1 is the pinnacle in some respects, but in other respects Champ Cars is better.

"My ultimate ambition is to win the world championship in F1 and to win the Champ Car championship. My aim is just to win races."

Three-time former world champion Stewart admitted the team could be looking for another driver for next year. "Eddie Irvine is under contract for another two years but Johnny is uncertain what he wants to do," Stewart said. "Johnny says he wants to go to America and I think that would be the right thing for him.

"But Dario has got to find out if he enjoys driving an F1 car. I have known Dario since he was a small boy and he has matured very well as a racing driver. He knows how to win races."

Stewart said Franchitti took his first spins with the F1 car cautiously but he was impressed with the Scottish driver. "He's running with a heavy fuel load here and has not tried to go too quick too soon," he said. "An F1 car and an IndyCar are two very different things. But he has done what I would have liked to have seen him do with the car in the circumstances."

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