Formula 1
Formula 1
R
Emilia Romagna GP
18 Apr
Race in
42 days
R
Portuguese GP
02 May
Race in
56 days
09 May
Next event in
59 days
23 May
Race in
77 days
R
Azerbaijan GP
06 Jun
Race in
91 days
13 Jun
Race in
98 days
27 Jun
Race in
112 days
04 Jul
Next event in
115 days
18 Jul
Race in
133 days
R
Hungarian GP
01 Aug
Race in
147 days
29 Aug
Race in
175 days
05 Sep
Race in
182 days
12 Sep
Race in
189 days
26 Sep
Race in
203 days
R
Singapore GP
03 Oct
Next event in
206 days
10 Oct
Race in
216 days
R
United States GP
24 Oct
Race in
231 days
31 Oct
Race in
238 days
R
Australian GP
21 Nov
Race in
258 days
R
Saudi Arabia GP
05 Dec
Race in
273 days
R
Abu Dhabi GP
12 Dec
Race in
280 days

Australian GP Race Report

RACE REPORT: AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX Ferrari's Irvine breaks through for first career victory By Dan Knutson Indyf1.com Special Contributor MELBOURNE, Australia, March 7, 1999 -- Eddie Irvine avoided the spins, accidents, bad luck and mechanical ...

Australian GP Race Report

RACE REPORT: AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX Ferrari's Irvine breaks through for first career victory

By Dan Knutson Indyf1.com Special Contributor

MELBOURNE, Australia, March 7, 1999 -- Eddie Irvine avoided the spins, accidents, bad luck and mechanical failures that stranded 14 of the 22 starters, and went on to win the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in his Ferrari.

This was the first Grand Prix victory for the popular Irishman, in his 82nd start, and it also marked the 120th Grand Prix win for Ferrari. Heinz-Harald Frentzen was second in a Benson & Hedges Jordan-Mugen-Honda, and Ralf Schumacher was third in a Winfield Williams-Supertec. Irvine averaged 118.589 mph (190.852 km/h) to complete the 57-lap, 187.822-mile (302.271-km) race in one hour, 35 minutes and 1.659 seconds. His margin of victory was 1.026 seconds over Frentzen.

This was the first time a Ferrari won the opening race of the season since Nigel Mansell's victory in 1989 and the first time a Ferrari has won the Australian Grand Prix since Gerhard Berger's 1987 triumph. Pole-sitter Mika Hakkinen led from the start until Lap 18 when he began to experience gear selection problems in his West McLaren-Mercedes. Hakkinen's teammate, David Coulthard, ran second until retiring with hydraulic troubles.

Former Indy 500 winner Jacques Villeneuve brought out the pace car on Lap 15 when the rear wing fell off his British American Racing-Supertec, and he spun into the wall. As Hakkinen faltered on the restart, Irvine grabbed the lead that he would never relinquish.

The pace car had to come out for a second time when two-time CART champion Alex Zanardi made a mistake and hit the wall in his Winfield Williams-Supertec.

The start of the race was aborted because both Stewart-Fords had engine fires caused by oil leaking onto the exhaust pipes. Rubens Barrichello started the race from the pits in the backup Stewart-Ford, but teammate Johnny Herbert had to watch from the sidelines. Michael Schumacher stalled his Ferrari on the restart of the second formation lap and had to move to the back of the grid.

Michael Schumacher had clawed his way from last to fourth only to have a rear tire blow out. He limped back to the pits for repairs and dropped back in the field again. Later he had to pit again to have his steering wheel and all its electronics replaced.

Barrichello also charged to the front only to be issued a 10-second stop-and-go penalty when he passed a car before the start-finish line after the pace car pulled off.

QUOTEBOOK:

EDDIE IRVINE (Ferrari, winner): "To do this with Ferrari is amazing, incredible. All weekend my engineer and I have been working away at our own thing. We made different choices from what other people were doing, and we were convinced we were going the right way. Apart from the two McLarens (being faster), we proved that we were doing the right thing. After such a long time, this is fantastic. There are so many people who have helped me all the way up, starting in Formula Ford. They know who they are, and I want to send them my thanks, but there are so many of them that I would have to be here for a few hours to mention their names. I needed a lot of help to get here, believe me!"

HEINZ-HARALD FRENTZEN (B&H Jordan-Mugen-Honda, second): "The key point was the Safety Car situation. All of a sudden Mika Hakkinen went slow, which caused a bit of confusion. I hadn't seen any green flags at the end of the previous lap (before the restart), and I wasn't sure the Safety Car period was over. Then I saw Ralf coming up alongside, and I thought, 'Gee, he's going to overtake me before the line.' He didn't go past, luckily for him, but he passed me at the end of the straight. I was able to pass him back at the second corner, and that was a key point."

RALF SCHUMACHER (Winfield Williams-Supertec, third): "I lost one of the barge boards. A few things on my car fell apart in this race, and I had to slow down toward the end. Apart from that, everything went really well for us in this race. I had a good start; I gained a few positions thanks to the Safety Car, and I even got past Heinz for a short time before he took the place back--which I promise you is the last time it will happen to me."

MIKA HAKKINEN (West McLaren-Mercedes, led laps 1-17): "I'm very disappointed because all the effort the team has put into making the car so competitive has not been rewarded. We showed the potential of the car in practice, qualifying and in the first phase of the race. Shortly before the Safety Car came out I felt that the car didn't accelerate properly. We tried some adjustments during my pit stop but without success, so I had to retire five laps later."

DAVID COULTHARD (West McLaren-Mercedes): "My car was running perfectly in the first part of the race when all of a sudden I couldn't down-change at the fast chicane and got stuck in sixth gear. So I had to retire."

GIANCARLO FISICHELLA (Mild Seven Benetton-Supertec, fourth): "This was a great but very hard race for me. On the first corner I locked my wheels and got a flat spot on the tire. This caused vibrations on the car, which I had to fight for 17 laps. When the Safety Car went back in I collided with Trulli and lost my front wing. I had to take an unprogrammed pit stop to change the nose, and then with new tires the car ran really well."

ALEX ZANARDI (Winfield Williams-Supertec, crashed on Lap 21): "I don't really know what happened. I was having quite a few problems, and I was a few seconds off the pace. I just turned into a corner and lost the back. I certainly had more problems this weekend than I thought I'd have."

JACQUES VILLENEUVE (British American Racing-Supertec, crashed on Lap 14): "The crash probably looked worse than it was because I headed straight for the wall after the rear wing failed, but I am fine. It is disappointing because the car was going well, and I was making good progress catching the cars in front of me. This is not the way I would have liked my first race of the season to end. It was looking promising in the second half of the race."

RETIREMENT REPORT:

Reasons for retirement from the 1999 Australian Grand Prix: Ricardo Zonta -- gearbox overheating Luca Badoer -- gearbox Alexander Wurz -- suspension Pedro Diniz -- transmission Marc Gene -- accident Jarno Trulli -- accident Olivier Panis -- jammed wheel nut Mika Hakkinen -- throttle linkage Alex Zanardi -- accident David Coulthard -- hydraulics Jacques Villeneuve -- rear-wing failure Damon Hill -- accident Jean Alesi -- gearbox Johnny Herbert -- did not start

NEWS and NOTES:

First out: Just a few seconds after 11 a.m. on Friday, March 5, Heinz-Harald Frentzen steered his B&H Jordan Mugen-Honda out onto the Albert Park circuit. Alex Zanardi was directly behind Frentzen in his Winfield Williams Supertec. The 1999 Formula 1 season was underway.

***

The incredible stopping power...and speed...of a F1 car: Last year, Mika Hakkinen was clocked at 307.7 km/h (191 mph) at the end of the pit straight on the Albert Park circuit. At that point he was only 134 meters (146.5 yards) from Turn 1, which is taken at 110 km/h (68 mph).

***

The Arrows shuffle: Arrows waited until just four days before practice began to nominate its second driver, and it was Japan's Tora Takagi rather than Finland's Mika Salo who teams up with Spanish rookie Pedro de la Rosa this season. de la Rosa finished a strong sixth in the race, earning the final championship point.

***

Zanardi's return: This race marked Alex Zanardi's return to F1 after three years and two championships in CART. "I wouldn't be here if I hadn't wanted to come back," Zanardi said. "I am pleased about it, and I am anxious to start. F1 has changed a lot since I left it in 1995, and it would be quicker to say what has remained the same since then than to list all the changes. "I would say the champ cars I have driven for the last three years were closer to the F1 that I used to drive than to the Williams I will be racing here, so it's a big switch. Nevertheless, it's an enjoyable car to drive, with more power than any kind of road car you can imagine."

***

Schumacher not done: Michael Schumacher has denied published reports that he will retire when his Ferrari contract expires at the end of 2002.

***

Borrowing the bubbly: McLaren provided the champagne for the Ferrari victory celebration in the paddock.

***

Surf's up, Damon: Damon Hill spent the week prior to the race learning to surf on the beaches south of Melbourne. He also fitted in some water skiing.

***

No problems here: British-American Racing's dual tobacco livery did not draw objections from the Australian government, which has strict laws governing tobacco advertising in sports. Still, BAR must appear before F1's governing body, the FIA, on March 12 to answer charges that it might have brought the sport into disrepute during its attempt to run its cars in separate paint schemes.

***

United Nations on wheels: This year's international F1 driver lineup consists of four drivers from Italy, three each from Brazil and Germany, two each from France, Great Britain and Spain, and one each from Finland, Ireland, Scotland, Austria, Japan and Canada.

***

Weighing in: As usual, the drivers, wearing their driving suit and helmet, weighed in for the start of the season. Alexander Wurz is the heaviest of the 22 at 82.5 kilos (181.5 pounds) while Luca Badoer was at the other end of the scales at 58.5 kilos (128.7 pounds).

Source: IMS/IRL

shares
comments
Australian GP Saturday Stewart notes

Previous article

Australian GP Saturday Stewart notes

Next article

Bridgestone March Test Schedule

Bridgestone March Test Schedule
Load comments
The updates Williams hopes will lead to a point-scoring return Prime

The updates Williams hopes will lead to a point-scoring return

After producing a car which demonstrated progress but lacked the points to prove it last year, Williams starts its new era of team ownership with the FW43B, its bid to continue the climb up the Formula 1 grid in 2021

Formula 1
Mar 5, 2021
How Ferrari plans to recover from its 2020 F1 nightmare Prime

How Ferrari plans to recover from its 2020 F1 nightmare

The 2020 Formula 1 season was Ferrari's worst for 40 years as it slumped to sixth in the standings. A repeat performance will not be acceptable for the proud Italian team, which has adopted a notably pragmatic approach to forging its path back to the top

Formula 1
Mar 4, 2021
Why Aston Martin’s arrival is more than just new green livery Prime

Why Aston Martin’s arrival is more than just new green livery

In the most eagerly anticipated Formula 1 team launch of the season, the rebranded Aston Martin squad’s changes go much further than the striking paint job. But rather than a restart, the team hopes to build on top of solid foundations.

Formula 1
Mar 3, 2021
The car Aston Martin begins its new F1 journey with Prime

The car Aston Martin begins its new F1 journey with

The team formerly known as Racing Point gambled successfully on a Mercedes look-alike in 2020 as it mounted a strong challenge for third in the constructors' race and won the Sakhir GP. Now clothed in British racing green, Aston Martin's first Formula 1 challenger since 1960 provides the clearest indicator yet of what to expect from the new-for-2021 regulations

Formula 1
Mar 3, 2021
The tricky driver conundrums facing Mercedes in F1 2021 Prime

The tricky driver conundrums facing Mercedes in F1 2021

Ahead of the new Formula 1 season, reigning world champions Mercedes will take on challenges both old and new. This also can be said for its driver conundrum which could become key to sustaining its ongoing success...

Formula 1
Mar 2, 2021
How Alpine's cure to 2021 F1 rules starts at the front Prime

How Alpine's cure to 2021 F1 rules starts at the front

A new name, new faces and new colours pulls the rebranded Alpine Formula 1 team into a new era while carrying over core elements of its 2020 car. But under the surface there's more than meets the eye with the A521 which hints at how the team will tackle 2021...

Formula 1
Mar 2, 2021
Can Mercedes' W12 retain the team's crown? Prime

Can Mercedes' W12 retain the team's crown?

Replacing Formula 1's fastest car was never going to be an easy feat for Mercedes. Amid the technical rule tweaks to peg back the W12 and its 2021 rivals, the new Mercedes challenger will remain the target to beat

Formula 1
Mar 2, 2021
The pointed note that starts Ferrari's Leclerc vs Sainz era Prime

The pointed note that starts Ferrari's Leclerc vs Sainz era

Ferrari is starting its post-Sebastian Vettel age by welcoming Carlos Sainz in alongside Charles Leclerc. But while Sainz has a tough challenge to match his new teammate, Ferrari is also sending a message that previous intra-team spats must end

Formula 1
Mar 2, 2021