RACE REPORT: MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX Hakkinen wins race, World Championship after Ferrari 1-2 finish disqualified KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Oct. 17, 1999 -- The outcome of the World Championship is in limbo following Ferrari's victory, ...
RACE REPORT: MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX Hakkinen wins race, World Championship after Ferrari 1-2 finish disqualified
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Oct. 17, 1999 -- The outcome of the World
Championship is in limbo following Ferrari's victory, disqualification and subsequent appeal of the results of the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Ferrari teammates Eddie Irvine and Michael Schumacher drove a brilliantly tactical race that gave Irvine the victory, pushed him into the lead of the World Drivers Championship and give Ferrari the lead in the Constructors Championship. All this came at the expense of Mika Hakkinen, who finished third in his West McLaren-Mercedes.
Three hours after the race was over, however, race officials disqualified both Ferraris -- Irvine the winner and the second-placed Schumacher -- because the bodywork on both cars did not meet regulations.
According to the official report, "parts of the deflector panels do not lie on either reference or step planes in accordance with Article 3.12.1 of the FIA Formula One Technical Regulations."
The result was that Hakkinen was elevated to first place and, as of now, he is the new World Champion and McLaren-Mercedes has won the Constructors Championship. Hakkinen now has 72 points, Irvine 60. McLaren has 120 points in the Constructors standings, Ferrari 102.
Ferrari, however, has appealed. It has not yet been determined when the appeal will be heard, but an outcome will likely be determined before the Grand Prix season finale Oct. 31 at Suzuka, Japan.
Pending the appeal, Hakkinen won the 56-lap, 192.843-mile (310.352-km) race at an average speed of 119.526 mph (192.359 kph) in a time of one hour, 36 minutes and 48.237 seconds. His margin of victory over Johnny Herbert's Stewart-Ford was 7.795 seconds. Herbert's teammate, Rubens Barrichello, finished third.
Jordan's Heinz-Harald Frentzen was fourth, Sauber's Jean Alesi fifth and Benetton's Alexander Wurz took the final point in sixth.
Regardless of the outcome of the appeal, Stewart-Ford has moved ahead of Winfield Williams-Supertec to take fourth place in the Constructors Championship.
Pole sitter Michael Schumacher took the lead at the start of the race and then dropped back to let his teammate Irvine take over first place while he, Schumacher, held off Irvine's main title challenger Hakkinen, who was in third place.
David Coulthard, one of the four championship contenders -- along with Irvine, Hakkinen and Frentzen -- going into the race, dropped out with fuel-pump failure on his McLaren-Mercedes. Frentzen fought his way from 14th to sixth in his B&H Jordan Mugen-Honda and was then moved up to fourth when the two Ferraris were disqualified. Either way, however, Frentzen and Coulthard are eliminated from the championship battle.
Schumacher led in the late stages of the race with Hakkinen second and Irvine third, but when Hakkinen made a second planned pit stop late in the race, Irvine moved into second. With four laps to go, Schumacher let Irvine into the lead so that Irvine could score maximum points. Irvine went on to score his fourth victory of the season only to lose it because of a technical infringement.
ROSS BRAWN (Ferrari technical director): "There was no performance gain. The design (of the deflector panels) was correct, but there was an error in production. They are the same (panels) we used at the last race."
MIKA HAKKINEN (West McLaren-Mercedes, winner): "This is the hardest race I have done in my life, a race where you had to go absolutely flat out. These guys (Irvine and Schumacher) played some brilliant tactics. I cannot blame them, they did a good job and they won the race, with Michael second. Obviously for me, it was (a matter) of pushing as hard as I could and trying to overtake Michael. His car was very slow, actually, in the high-speed corners, and when we came on to the straight it was quite easy (for him) to accelerate at the exit from the corners, so it was impossible to overtake him."
JOHNNY HERBERT (Stewart-Ford, second): "I've got a lot more confidence after my win at the European Grand Prix, and that allowed me to prove to myself that I could win again and that I could be quick. I felt much better in my driving, which was much smoother and much more together."
RUBENS BARRICHELLO (Stewart-Ford, third): "I had a brake-pedal problem after my second stop, so I backed off a little but I had to be mindful that Frentzen was closing so I had to push again at the end. It was hard work out there. I'm absolutely exhausted."
HEINZ-HARALD FRENTZEN (B&H Jordan-Mugen-Honda, fourth): "I made it to sixth from 14th. The car just got better and better, and I kept pushing. This was the hardest point I've scored in F1."
ALEX ZANARDI (Winfield Williams-Supertec, eighth): "Somebody ran into my car from behind just after the start. I wasn't able to go straight anymore, so I went into the pits thinking I had a puncture, but actually it was the rim that had been damaged. Then, with about 10 laps to go, I had an excursion off the track and some grass filled the radiators, which caused cooling problems, so I had to pit again to clear them."
JACQUES VILLENEUVE (British American Racing-Supertec, retired lap 49): "Just after my second stop, (Alexander) Wurz got it wrong in a fast corner and didn't see me arriving and put me off. Not his fault, and he apologized after the race. I was able to keep going after a wild spin but eventually retired with hydraulic problems."
DAVID COULTHARD (West McLaren-Mercedes, retired lap 15): "I had got past Michael (Schumacher) and felt that I was in an excellent position to challenge Eddie (Irvine) for the lead. Suddenly the car cut out for no apparent reason."
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Results Sunday from the Malaysian Grand Prix, with driver, country, make of car, laps completed, time and reasons out, if any, over the 3.443-mile Sepang course:
1. Mika Hakkinen, Finland, McLaren, 1 hour, 36 minutes, 48.237 seconds 2. Johnny Herbert, Britain, Stewart, 1:36:56.032 3. Rubens Barrichello, Brazil, Stewart, 1:37:10.790 4. Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Germany, Jordan, 1:37:13.378 5. Jean Alesi, France, Sauber, 1:37:32.902 6. Alexander Wurz, Austria, Benetton, 1:37:39.428 7. Marc Gene, Spain, Minardi, 1:37.10.056 8. Alex Zanardi, Italy, Williams, 1:37:36.473 9. Giancarlo Fisichella, Italy, Benetton, 1:38:14.562
Not classified: Jacques Villeneuve, Canada, BAR, 48, hydraulics Pedro Diniz, Brazil, Sauber, 44, spin Pedro de la Rosa, Spain, Arrows, 30, engine Luca Badoer, Italy, Minardi, 15, overheating David Coulthard, Britain, McLaren, 14, fuel pump Ralf Schumacher, Germany, Williams, 7, spin Tora Takagi, Japan, Arrows, 7, driveshaft Ricardo Zonta, Brazil, BAR, 6, engine Olivier Panis, France, Prost, 5, engine Damon Hill, Britain, Jordan, 0, accident Jarno Trulli, Italy, Prost, did not start, engine Eddie Irvine, Britain, Ferrari, disqualified Michael Schumacher, Germany, Ferrari, disqualified Average speed: 119.526 mph Lap leaders: M. Schumacher 1-3; Irvine 4-25; M. Schumacher 26-28; Irvine 29-41; M. Schumacher 42-52; Irvine 53-56
Drivers: Mika Hakkinen 72, Eddie Irvine 60, Heinz-Harald Frentzen 53, David Coulthard 48, Ralf Schumacher 33, Michael Schumacher 32, Rubens Barrichello 23, Johnny Herbert 18, Giancarlo Fisichella 13, Mika Salo 10. Constructors: McLaren-Mercedes 120, Ferrari 102, Jordan-Mugen-Honda 60, Stewart-Ford 41, Williams-Supertec 33, Benetton-Playlife 17.
NEWS and NOTES:
New standard: The new state-of-the-art Sepang circuit has set new and very high standards for tracks around the rest of the world to follow. "This is a circuit for the new millennium," said team owner Eddie Jordan. The government-funded circuit was designed by Germany's Hermann Tilke, and the 15-turn, 3.4-mile (5.542-km) track is 16 meters (52.5 feet) wide (and even wider in some bends) and provides a variety of challenging corners. The longest straight is 927 meters (.6 of a mile) long.
"It is a beautiful circuit," said Ferrari's sporting director Jean Todt, "and we were very interested to see how much has been able to be done, from scratch."
The drivers found the track to be a challenging one. "It's a very difficult track," said 1995 Indianapolis 500 winner Jacques Villeneuve, "and there are many corners where you have to really think about it before you get the right line and can drive it properly."
Damon Hill, 1996 World Champion, said: "None of the corners has a straight entry. Many of them are blind corners, and you are always trying to pick your turn-in points. It's very wide, which means there are plenty of overtaking points. The facility and track are nothing short of magnificent." The garages, press room, hospitality suites and other team facilities are spacious and well planned, as are the grandstands and other spectator amenities.
"It has obviously required a considerable investment," McLaren director Ron Dennis said. "The promoters have obviously made the best of the advice they' ve had from other circuits, because the facilities here are second to none. It makes life much easier for a team when you have good facilities."
Schumacher quick: Back in action after three months off and missing six races because of a broken leg, Michael Schumacher won the pole with a time nearly a second faster than anybody else. That didn't surprise rival Jacques Villeneuve.
"The two Ferraris are very quick this weekend," Villeneuve said, "so he chose the right race to come back. Anybody who has been off from driving for a couple of months, whenever they come back, are always a lot quicker because you don't lose your driving skill in three months. You just get fresh ideas, and you relax a little bit when you are away, so when you come back you have a lot more energy than you would have had if you had been testing and racing every week."
Spare spares: Teams normally bring three cars to each race (plus enough parts to build up another car), but with the championship at stake, both Ferrari and McLaren brought four cars to Malaysia. This meant that each of their drivers had use of a spare car.
Southeast Asia visit: On his way to Malaysia, BAR driver Ricardo Zonta toured the Southeast Asian countries of Vietnam and Cambodia where he met more than 100 journalists and selected government officials. "I was really enchanted by the mystique of both countries," Zonta said, "and the overwhelming welcome and interest I received from the local people."