Irvine's departure a sad loss

Irvine's departure a sad loss

Eddie Irvine announcing he would no longer be competing in Formula One has provoked a sense of sadness in the sport. Never slow to express an opinion, Irvine became notorious for his outspoken attitude and sharp one-liners that have often been ...

Eddie Irvine announcing he would no longer be competing in Formula One has provoked a sense of sadness in the sport. Never slow to express an opinion, Irvine became notorious for his outspoken attitude and sharp one-liners that have often been quoted. His irreverence and humour will be missed by many; love him or hate him, Irvine was never boring.

Driving for Ferrari, Irvine took over the championship bid in 1999 when Michael Schumacher broke his leg and fought McLaren's Mika Hakkinen to the final race of the season before being defeated -- but his efforts did help bring Ferrari the Constructors' championship. Although Irvine and Schumacher seemed unlikely friends, the current champion has fond memories of their partnership.

Eddie Irvine.
Photo by Jaguar Racing.
"That's really a shame," Michael said of his former team mate's retirement. "When Eddie and I were driving together at Ferrari we got along very well and had a lot of fun, very unlikely because we are so different. I think it is not only me who will miss him -- there will be a piece of glamour disappearing from Formula One."

Irvine started his career at Jordan in 1993 and had hoped to finish it with the team, but negotiations broke down and the Irishman lost his final hope of competing in this year's championship.

"It's a sad day for F1 that Eddie can't continue," said team principal Eddie Jordan. "He started his F1 career with Jordan and scored points on his debut. Since then, with Jordan, Ferrari especially and Jaguar, he has shown great style and lots of character. He's done well out of F1 and the sport has been richer for his colourful and intelligent presence."

Renault boss Flavio Briatore voiced an opinion of many, that the sport is losing its characters: "It is a big loss," he commented of Irvine's departure. "It is like when Nelson Piquet went or Nigel Mansell. In F1 you need people with character -- the public doesn't like robots. If I see some of these young kids without their overalls on, I don't recognise them."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Eddie Irvine , Michael Schumacher , Mika Hakkinen , Nigel Mansell , Nelson Piquet , Flavio Briatore
Teams Ferrari , McLaren , Jaguar Racing , Jordan