RACE REPORT: GERMAN GRAND PRIX Irvine takes Formula One Drivers Championship Points Lead With Win at Hockenheim HOCKENHEIM, Germany Aug. 1, 1999 - Eddie Irvine took over the lead in the World Drivers Championship, and Ferrari increased its...
RACE REPORT: GERMAN GRAND PRIX Irvine takes Formula One Drivers Championship Points Lead With Win at Hockenheim
HOCKENHEIM, Germany Aug. 1, 1999 - Eddie Irvine took over the lead in the World Drivers Championship, and Ferrari increased its lead in the Constructors Championship after Ferrari teammates Eddie Irvine and Mika Salo scored a one-two finish in the German Grand Prix.
West McLaren-Mercedes teammates Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard, meanwhile, had a disastrous race with Hakkinen crashing because of a tire failure and Coulthard salvaging just two points after an eventful race.
Irvine now has 52 points to Hakkinen's 44. Heinz-Harald Frentzen, who finished third, moved into third place in the points standings with a score of 33. Michael Schumacher, out of action with a broken leg, has 32 points and Coulthard has 30.
Ferrari moved out to a 16 point lead in the Constructors Championship, with a total of 90 to the 74 of McLaren-Mercedes.
Hakkinen led the first 24 laps of the race but had a 24.3 second pitstop when the refueling nozzle jammed. He then spun into the wall less than two laps later when the tread suddenly flew off his left rear tire.
Salo, substituting for Schumacher, led a Grand Prix for the first time in his life, but then he had to let Irvine go by due to team orders from Ferrari, which wanted Irvine to score as many points as possible.
Irvine, sixth on the second lap, had worked his way up to second behind Salo.
"Mika (Salo) was the star today, and he won the race," said Irvine. "He is 'Boy Wonder,' and I'm going to give him my trophy. Now that he is fully on he pace, we can start to think about the Constructors Championship, which we were not sure about before. It has taken me half a season to lead the Drivers Championship again, but I'm not thinking about winning it because I'm a realist."
Irvine scored his third victory of the year. He averaged 139.636 mph (224.723 km/h) to complete the 45-lap, 190.036-mile (307.035-km) race in one hour, 21 minutes and 58.594 seconds.
Salo held formation to finish second - his previous best finish in F1 was fourth in Monaco last year - and crossed the line 1.007 seconds behind Irvine.
At the end of the 45-lap high-speed race, Germany's Frentzen was third in his B&H Jordan Mugen-Honda and only 5.1 seconds behind the winner. Fellow countryman Ralf Schumacher took fourth in his Winfield Williams-Mecachrome.
After running third in the early stages, Coulthard had to pit for repairs after his McLaren broke a front wing when he hit Salo's Ferrari. Later, Coulthard had to serve a 10 second stop-and-go penalty because he had all four wheels off the track when he passed Olivier Panis.
Panis finished in the points for the first time since the second Grand Prix of the season after bringing his Gauloises Prost-Peugeot home sixth.
EDDIE IRVINE (Ferrari, winner): "I got a good start and then David Coulthard sort of boxed me in. Then I took the wrong side to go round Heinz-Harald (Frentzen) going down the straight, so Rubens (Barrichello) got me. Once that happened I knew I would have to let the race come to me, because I was having oil temperature problems and I had to back off a little. And in fact the race came to us."
MIKA SALO (Ferrari, second): "When I saw P1 on my pit board I couldn't believe it. My car ran perfect all day. I did not feel it when Coulthard hit me, but I was glad he was gone. I let Eddie (Irvine) pass me after the pitstop, but then asked the team to tell him to speed up a bit because I had Frentzen right behind me."
HEINZ-HARALD FRENTZEN (B&H Jordan-Mugen-Honda, third): "At the start of the race I didn't make the best getaway, but nor was it the worst. I had to let Mika's Ferrari through, but I was also stuck on the outside, and Rubens (Barrichello) got me two or three laps later. He was very fast at that stage. I could just keep up with the Ferrari guys, but I couldn't attack them."
DAVID COULTHARD (West McLaren-Mercedes, fifth): "I had no intention of passing Mika Salo at the point where we collided, but he braked quite early in front of me. We touched and I lost part of my front wing, which meant that I had to pit for another nose. I was trying to overtake Panis as we went into the chicane. I wanted to avoid another incident, so I cut across the inside of the chicane, for which I was surprised to receive a 10 second stop-and-go penalty."
MIKA HAKKINEN (West McLaren-Mercedes, retired lap 26): "I had pulled out a reasonable lead before my pit stop, but there was a problem engaging the fuel nozzle, which lost me time. My new left rear tire failed one and a half laps later, throwing me into a spin and out of the race."
ALEX ZANARDI (Winfield Williams-Supertec, retired lap 22): "Something was wrong with the car from the very first lap. Something was seizing and I was losing more and more speed. The team thought it was an engine problem, but it was a differential failure."
JACQUES VILLENEUVE (British American Racing-Supertec, retired lap 1): "It was quite chaotic at the first turn. I touched the brakes slightly, and the rear of the car went light as somebody hit me. I just started spinning and, unfortunately, I took Pedro Diniz with me. I'm quite disappointed because this morning the car was quite quick on full tanks."
HOCKENHEIM, Germany - Results of the German Grand Prix, with driver, home country, make of car, laps completed, time and reasons out, if any, over the 4.2-mile Hockenheim course: 1. Eddie Irvine, Britain, Ferrari, 45 laps, 1 hour, 21 minutes, 58.594 seconds. 2. Mika Salo, Finland, Ferrari, 45, 1.007 seconds behind. 3. Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Germany, Jordan, 45, 5.195. 4. Ralf Schumacher, Germany, Williams, 45, 12.809. 5. David Coulthard, Britain, McLaren-Mercedes, 45, 16.823. 6. Olivier Panis, France, Prost-Peugeot, 45, 29.879. 7. Alexander Wurz, Austria, Benetton, 45, 33.333. 8. Jean Alesi, France, Sauber, 45, 71.291. 9. Marc Gene, Spain, Minardi-Ford, 45, 108.318. 10. Luca Badoer, Italy, Minardi, 44. 11. Johnny Herbert, Britain, Stewart-Ford, 40, gearbox. 12. Pedro de la Rosa, Spain, Arrows, 37, accident. 13. Mika Hakkinen, Finland, McLaren-Mercedes, 25, tire failure. 14. Alessandro Zanardi, Italy, Williams, 21, differential. 15. Ricardo Zonta, Brazil, British American Racing, 20, engine. 16. Toranosuke Takagi, Japan, Arrows, 15, engine. 17. Damon Hill, Britain, Jordan, 13, brakes. 18. Jarno Trulli, Italy, Prost-Peugeot, 10, engine. 19. Giancarlo Fisichella, Italy, Benetton, 7, suspension. 20. Rubens Barrichello, Brazil, Stewart-Ford, 6, hydraulics. 21. Jacques Villeneuve, Canada, British American Racing, 0, accident. 22, Pedro Diniz, Brazil, Sauber, 0, accident. Winner's average speed: 140.450 mph. Lap leaders: Hakkinen 1-24; Salo 25; Irvine 26-45.
Drivers: Irvine 52, Hakkinen 44, Frentzen 33, M. Schumacher 32, Coulthard 30, R. Schumacher 22, Fisichella 13, Barrichello 10, Salo 6, Hill 5, Diniz 3, Wurz 3, Herbert 2, Panis 2, Alesi 1, Trulli 1, de la Rosa 1.
Constructors: Ferrari 90, McLaren-Mercedes 74, Jordan-Mugen-Honda 38, Williams-Supertec 22, Benetton-Playlife 16, Stewart-Ford 12, Sauber-Petronas 4, Prost-Peugeot 3, Arrows-TWR 2.
NEWS and NOTES:
McLaren-Mercedes keeps drivers: Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard will drive for West McLaren-Mercedes again in 2000.
"Mika's contract now sees him entering his eighth season with the team, which is the longest period of association between a team and driver in terms of Grands Prix contested," said McLaren director Ron Dennis. "David has also shown great commitment and loyalty to us during the last four seasons. It would be inappropriate to discuss the terms of the contract, but the consistency represents the depth of our relationship with both our drivers."
Said Hakkinen: "I can hardly imagine life with any other team! I now feel a long established member of the family."
An inspired choice: Jac Nasser, CEO and president of the Ford Motor Company, believes that F1's return to the U.S. with the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis on Sept. 24, 2000 is an inspired choice. Nasser was at Hockenheim to watch the Stewart F1 team, which Ford recently purchased.
"It's of immense importance because the U.S. market is such a rich market in terms of the automotive industry," Nasser said of F1's return to the U.S.
"It's hard to imagine any sport that is a global sport not being represented in the U.S. market. The return to the U.S. and the inclusion of Indianapolis is spot on. When we were having a discussion with Bernie (Ecclestone) some years back, he asked me: 'If F1 was going back to the U.S. where would you go?' I said: 'There are only two places you should even think about: Detroit and Indianapolis. They are the two most logical places if you really want to get to the heartstrings of the U.S. audience.'
"Indianapolis was an inspired choice."
Nasser said the U.S. Grand Prix at Indianapolis will help boost F1 TV ratings across the U.S. And he said the U.S. race, along with the F1 races in Europe, South America and the Asia-Pacific region makes F1, "the most global of all sports."
Planet Ferrari: After spending his career with smaller F1 teams, Mika Salo said of Ferrari: "Compared with what I have been used to on other teams, this team is on another planet. It is that different."
McLaren's 100: Mika Hakkinen's eighth pole position of the season was also McLaren's 100th Formula One pole. American Peter Revson won McLaren's first F1 pole in the 1972 Canadian Grand Prix. He also won the 1971 Indianapolis 500 pole driving a McLaren and finished second in the race that year.
Team win: Petrobras teammates Bruno Junqueira and Max Wilson, driving for the Team Williams F1-affiliated Formula 3000 team, finished one-two in Saturday's FIA Formula 3000 race. Polesitter Wilson led the first 19 of the 30 lap race before Junqueira took over first place. Stephane Sarrazin claimed third place. Nick Heidfeld could have clinched the title in Germany but spun off while challenging for the lead.
Irvine on hold: Will Eddie Irvine be back at Ferrari next year?
"Let's wait and see," he said. "I am leaving it in the hands of my manager, who knows what I want to do, so I want him to get on with that while I concentrate on getting the results that are required this year. We will hear the priorities (I wanted) after whatever has been decided has been announced. There is no rush."
Schumacher talks to fans: Michael Schumacher, sitting in his garden at home in Switzerland recuperating from a broken right leg, talked to the media and the fans via the TVs in the press room and the giant TV screens on the circuit just prior to the start of the German Grand Prix.
"Obviously you wish you were at the circuit and not sitting at home," Schumacher said. "But, after what has happened, I'm pretty happy to be sitting here and being able to give interviews. I would like to use this opportunity to say thank you to all my supporters. I have received many nice letters and presents."
Asked when he will be back in the driving seat, Schumacher replied: "Every week we have a meeting with the doctors, and we (review) everything. I have a cut on my heel, and that is basically more of a factor, because of the flexibility of my foot. That is more of a problem than the healing (of the leg) itself. I'm not able to predict when things will be well."
Schumacher said he is in constant contact with the Ferrari team.
"I know every detail about what we change and what we do," he said. "And if I have an opinion, I will give it."
But, he added, it is important for Ferrari to adapt the cars to Eddie Irvine and Mika Salo.
Schumacher predicted that a Ferrari victory would be difficult but not impossible ... and he was right.
Alesi in between: Will Jean Alesi leave the Red Bull Sauber Petronas team or is he staying?
"It is somewhere between," team owner Peter Sauber said. "Both sides are willing to go together in the future, but some points are still open."