Finland's Mika Hakkinen, the World Champion driver of 1998, retained his title here today by taking an all-the-way victory in the final and deciding round of the FIA series. The 31 year old McLaren-Mercedes driver surged away from the start to...
Finland's Mika Hakkinen, the World Champion driver of 1998, retained his title here today by taking an all-the-way victory in the final and deciding round of the FIA series. The 31 year old McLaren-Mercedes driver surged away from the start to beat the pole position Ferrari of Schumacher into second place, and that was how the two men finished after making their two planned refuelling stops. McLaren's chances of taking the constructors' championship looked good when David Coulthard succeeded in moving past Eddie Irvine's Ferrari into third place at the first pit stops, only to lose control of his car and sustain crash damage which would lead to his later withdrawal. With Schumacher and Irvine completing the race in 2nd and 3rd places, Ferrari thus made sure of the 1999 World Constructors' title, the first world title to come the way of the Scuderia and its drivers since 1983.
Yoshihiko Ichikawa, Bridgestone Motorsport Technical Manager: "Congratulations to both Mika Hakkinen and Ferrari on taking the titles in such a sporting contest. As expected, tyre degradation today was quite severe, but it did not affect the results because the teams were well prepared. Now we must turn to the winter test programme. We will be in Jerez during the first three days of December, moving to Barcelona on December 8, 9 and 10 when we plan to introduce both dry and wet tyres that conform with the 2000 specifications. There will be further tests during the third week of December, on a circuit still to be designated."
Steve Hallam, Chief Engineer, West McLaren Mercedes: "Today's result has brought us the drivers' championship, which has been won as the culmination of a whole year's work. Everybody at McLaren and Bridgestone who has taken part in this programme is to be congratulated. To do this job takes a huge amount of effort and commitment, on both the personal and technical levels. We have had a great day and it was a fabulous race: not only are we overjoyed but we are exhausted, too. I am sorry for David not finishing because without his enforced withdrawal we might have been within sight of the constructors' title."
Jean Todt, Team Principal, Scuderia Ferrari: "After so many years without the ultimate success, we are delighted to have concluded this season by winning the Constructors' World Championship title in collaboration with Bridgestone, a company with which we found a very good working rapport. We look forward to doing even better together next year. "