Motor Racing: Irvine puts frustration behind him and looks to Jaguar
Monday 01 November 1999
"I've gotta see Irvine's face!" one observer gloated in the moment of his defeat, but anyone who wished to see the inherent insouciance wiped off Irvine's countenance was to be sadly disappointed. The grin when he congratulated Hakkinen was as genuine as any of his outspoken comments. He'd given it his best shot, and it hadn't been enough. No big deal.
"I always said," he reiterated, "that if we didn't win the championship it would be because we weren't fast enough. And when it came to it, for whatever reason, we weren't. But hey, life goes on, doesn't it?"
Indeed, it does. Perhaps, in his heart of hearts, Irvine knew that he had only an insider's chance after all, that only misfortune for both Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher had propelled him into championship contention. But Irvine had done what he always has done, what he did the day he finished sixth on his debut in this very race six years ago: he took his main chance and made the best of it.
So where does he go now? Onwards, for sure, and maybe upwards, for he is not the sort to be cowed by defeat. When he first came into Formula One in 1993 he was doing very nicely racing F3000 cars in Japan, and he played hardball with Eddie Jordan, who wanted him for 1994.
By December he should be sufficiently free of Ferrari to start testing for the Jaguar team which will be born out of the Stewart-Ford team. And there he will prosper, for a lot of Ford bucks will change bank accounts to ensure that he is happy and feels wanted. He will make the most of that opportunity. After all, this is the man who, when asked how to cope as team-mate to Schumacher, the man with the reputation for destroying psyches, simply replied: "Be clever, nothing more. Clever and unemotional."
Earlier this year he said of his life: "I'm having a blast. I'm leading the World Championship. The worse way out, I shouldn't finish worse than second, which is another step forward. Every year I've gone dunk, dunk, dunk. I've won four races. Should I be worrying?"
His rational for F1 survival is equally simple. "You've got to be the boss. You need to be on the ball, finger on the pulse, making telephone calls. To find out what's going on. I'll play hardball, but I'd never really argue over something like $250,000.
"So far in my career," he says, "I don't think I've ever made a wrong decision." With Jaguar he should have a car capable of winning by the end of 2000, maybe before. Should the world worry about Eddie? Probably not.
Latest in Sport
Diego Costa injury: Chelsea striker a doubt for Everton match due to muscle injury
Arsenal transfer news: Arsene Wenger says he will be 'actively involved' on deadline day... but may not buy a striker despite Giroud injury
Angel Di Maria: Manchester United winger to wear iconic No 7 shirt
England manager Roy Hodgson lectures Luke Shaw over fitness issues
Champions League draw: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City learn group stage fate
- 1 Students heading off to 'charity challenge' grounded at Gatwick after travel firm goes bust
- 3 Daily Show's Jon Stewart destroys Fox News for its Ferguson coverage
- 5 Like Jennifer Aniston, I am no less of a woman because I am childless
Exclusive: We share blame for creating 'jihad generation', says Muslim strategist
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage
£350 - £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Cent...
£17000 - £20000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...
£450 - £500 per day: Orgtel: SAS Business Analyst, London, Banking, Credit Ris...
£32000 - £38000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...