1999 AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX - RACE Irvine strikes hard for Ferrari The first round of the 1999 world championship ended in an unexpected but popular victory for Ferrari and its 33 year old driver Eddie Irvine, who carried off his first Grand...
1999 AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX - RACE
Irvine strikes hard for Ferrari
The first round of the 1999 world championship ended in an unexpected but popular victory for Ferrari and its 33 year old driver Eddie Irvine, who carried off his first Grand Prix success at the 82nd attempt. With every competitor starting on the same brand of tyre, the result of the race was a foregone conclusion as far as Bridgestone was concerned. Nevertheless, it provided excellent entertainment for a large crowd as Irvine fought off the Jordan-Mugen/Honda of Heinz-Harald Frentzen and the Williams-Supertec of Ralf Schumacher in 2nd and 3rd places. Among the spectators was Mr Yoichiro Kaizaki, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the Bridgestone Corporation.
Yoshihiko Ichikawa, Bridgestone Motorsport Technical Manager: "Congratulations, Eddie, on being such a strong contender in the first race of the season, and also on taking a well-deserved first Grand Prix victory. We are satisfied with the performance of our tyres here in Melbourne, especially because they showed their durability under the hot conditions. The puncture in Michael Schumacher's tyre was caused to his Ferrari running over some debris left on the track by incidents involving other cars. Having examined the tyre, we have been able to reassure ourselves that the air loss was the consequence of damage that could not otherwise have been avoided. It is one of the problems that happens in motor racing.
Jackie Stewart, Executive Chairman, Stewart Grand Prix : "I believe that without the problem at the start, Rubens and his car would have been fast enough to have won this race today. Unfortunately, both of our cars had electrical fires on the starting grid, a problem which we as a team have never experienced before. On the basis of Rubens' race in the spare car, we now know that the chassis is very competitive and that it makes an excellent combination with the new Ford engine."
Pedro De La Rosa, Driver, Arrows Grand Prix: "I am delighted today because I could never have expected to pick up a world championship point in my first Grand Prix. Right now, I can hardly wait to see the race on TV, just to convince myself that I really got such a good result! I know I was lucky that so many people retired in front of me, but it was still very difficult to stay on the road. The car was quite consistent and the key point of the race for me was the second pit stop, when I went ahead of Tora, who was on a one stop strategy. From that point it was a matter of pushing as hard as I could on every lap. My pit was keeping me informed by radio about drivers like Michael coming up behind to lap me, but for me the pleasing thing was to see that they didn't go past me as easily as I had expected."
TEMPERATURES AIR TRACK WEATHER Morning 18:-18: 20:-20: Sunny - dry Afternoon 23:-22: 35:-36: Sunny - dry