Suzuka Japan, October 31, 1999 - British American Racing concluded the 1999 season on a satisfactory note today with a double-finish in a surprisingly uneventful Japanese Grand Prix. Neither car missed a beat throughout the race, and although the...
Suzuka Japan, October 31, 1999 - British American Racing concluded the 1999 season on a satisfactory note today with a double-finish in a surprisingly uneventful Japanese Grand Prix. Neither car missed a beat throughout the race, and although the result did not yield any points, the team was satisfied with the reliability and overall performance demonstrated on the Suzuka circuit.
At race end, Jacques Villeneuve was ninth and Ricardo Zonta twelfth in a smooth ride for both drivers.
If millions of Formula One fans were expecting a lap-by-lap showdown between McLaren and Ferrari with two championships in play, they had to be disappointed in a race where the only changes in position took place in pit stops or due to equipment malfunction. The only event of any impact on the race was a shunt by McLaren's David Coulthard on lap 36. Coulthard's nose assembly was replaced in an emergency pit stop, but he had to withdraw three laps later, effectively ending his team's chance to repeat as the Constructors' champion.
Mika Hakkinen avoided mistakes and took the chequered flag to win his fifth race of 1999 and his second consecutive Drivers' World Championship title with the 10 points obtained, edging out Eddie Irvine,76-74, on the season. Heinz-Harald Frentzen of Jordan finished fourth on the day and third on the year with 54 points, six better than Coulthard.
Hakkinen was followed home by Michael Schumacher and Irvine in the two Ferraris, and the 10 points amassed (six for second, four for third) was enough for Ferrari to maintain its pre-race lead of four points and win the Constructors' title over McLaren, 128-124. The Scuderia last won the title in 1983.
JACQUES VILLENEUVE - 9th "It has been a difficult year and today again was hard. I attacked during the whole race, same as in qualifying, but it wasn't enough - the car was at its limit. Now we can look forward to next year without looking back."
RICARDO ZONTA - 12th "It was not a very exciting race for me. I had some understeer at the start and then we changed the front wing at the first pit stop. The balance was good after that but I still had no grip. I'm pleased for my mechanics and everyone the team that we finished the race, and now we have to look forward to next year."
CRAIG POLLOCK, Chairman & CEO, British American Racing "Both drivers ran a good race here at the last Grand Prix of the season, and the whole team did a great job all year. Today's achievement, thanks to the efforts of everyone back at Brackley and here, was to see both cars cross the finish line for the first time this season, and I hope that this is a good starting point and sign for the season to come. I would like to thank everyone who has believed in, and supported us throughout our first season, especially British American Tobacco, Teleglobe, and our engine partner Supertec."