NORTHERN Ireland racing driver Eddie Irvine yesterday threatened to

sue Ayrton Senna for throwing the punch which floored him in the

aftermath of Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix.

Irvine, who finished sixth for the Jordan team on his Formula One

debut, said he was considering taking legal action after the 33-year-old

Brazilian had knocked him down during a row after the Suzuka race.

''I've got to consider it, haven't I?'' he said.

''When I saw he was going to punch me, I thought okay here's a few

quid coming my way. I don't care who he is or what he says. He doesn't

worry me.''

Irvine became an overnight star with his superb drive on Sunday and

his plucky resistance to the three-times world champion on and off the


He said he had no regrets about his driving, or his decision to stand

up to Senna. ''I was just racing hard and battling for fourth place with

Damon Hill,'' said Irvine. ''There was nothing dangerous happening and

there was no need for him to worry.

''The guy is completely out of control. He is a real nutter.

''This is Formula One after all, and that means I am out to screw

everything and everyone I can to get points for the team. That's the way

it is.

''Senna just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and

what he has been saying about me is just water off a duck's back.''

The war of words between Senna and Irvine overshadowed a fine

performance by the

27-year-old Ulsterman, who is little known outside County Down. The

next grand prix is in Australia on November 7, and Irvine added:

''That's going to be quite a race and it will be interesting to see what

happens there.

''All I really want, though, is a quiet life, so maybe I'll stick to

F3000 after all.''

Irvine, who is single but has homes in London, Tokyo, and Macau, said

he believed he earned more money driving for Team Cerumo in Japan than

he could as a back-of-the-grid runner in grand prix racing.

He said: ''It's no big deal for me as I feel I am in a no-lose

situation. I'm happy to stay in F3000 and it will take a good F1 team to

make me change my mind.''