Australian GP Ferrari race report

Australian Grand Prix Irvine wins his first race Melbourne, 7th March Eddie Irvine: first, 1h 35.01.659, 57 laps Michael Schumacher: eighth, 56 laps Jean Todt "It was a strange race. Above all, I am very happy for Eddie. He had a great...

Australian Grand Prix Irvine wins his first race

Melbourne, 7th March

Eddie Irvine: first, 1h 35.01.659, 57 laps Michael Schumacher: eighth, 56 laps

Jean Todt

"It was a strange race. Above all, I am very happy for Eddie. He had a great race and made the most of the situation to take his first win. On the other hand, I am disappointed for Michael as he was unlucky. He had a problem with a control on the steering wheel which prevented him from getting off the line and then he had a puncture. The important thing after this race is that we must calmly strive to understand and develop the car. We must also learn more about the tyres from Bridgestone, who have worked so hard with us at the start of the season. We are optimistic, but realistic. There is a team with a higher performance level than us and even if they are behind us in the points, they are still the team to beat."

Eddie Irvine

"It is amazing and fantastic to do it with Ferrari. All weekend, I have been working with Luca - my engineer - and I knew we were going the right way. After such a long time (to win my first Grand Prix) I want to thank everyone who has helped me since the start of my career. When the safety car pulled in, I saw Hakkinen had a problem and pushed hard to build a lead. Then I had to do it all over again. I was held up by a BAR for a few laps and I was worried I would go off on his oil. This is the best balanced car I have driven and now we must make it quicker. I came here with very little testing in the F399 and I am very happy with all the hard work Michael did to give me a reliable car. At the start I was a bit worried as we have a new starting sequence. I was sure I had made the right choice to pick the soft tyres and after the pit stop I began to tell myself I was going to win as I did not feel under pressure from Heinz Harald. It is great to win with Bridgestone, after being beaten by them so often in Japanese F3000."

Michael Schumacher

"First, I must congratulate Eddie. Like the rest of the team, I am very happy he has won his first race. He really deserves it after so many years of such hard work and such good work. We faced some problems we had not expected this weekend. At the first start, I could not engage first gear because of a problem on the steering wheel. I had problems with it during the race when it caused the gearbox to occasionally slip into neutral, especially in corners which made my life difficult. We changed the wheel and then the car came back to normal. We are not yet sure what happened to the tyre. Bridgestone will now examine the tyre very carefully. Naturally I am not happy with my race today, but at least we both finished. It is a better start than last year."

Chassis: Schumacher no. 190, Irvine no. 191 Temperatures: air 19 C, track 22 C

-- Stephen M Baines http://www.motorsport.org.uk

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Eddie Irvine , Michael Schumacher , Jean Todt
Teams Ferrari