Irvine warns against dirty tricks campaign

Eddie Irvine is ready for the race of his life in Japan to seal the world title - and he has warned McLaren's Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard not to try any dirty tricks.

Eddie Irvine is ready for the race of his life in Japan to seal the world title - and he has warned McLaren's Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard not to try any dirty tricks.

Ferrari ace Irvine said today that his chance of winning the title was still open after his points lead over rival Hakkinen was restored in a weekend legal tug-of-war.

But he warned he was ready for any dirty tricks, saying Hakkinen and Coulthard may "play games and push me back into Stewarts and Williams and Jordans" at the season-ending Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday.

"It could cause problems and we have got to be very careful. We cannot afford to relax," said the 33-year-old Ulsterman after a weekend of partying at a Tokyo night club.

"I hope to get the result we want."

But Irvine also said he could rely on his "hometown" advantage stemming from his F-3000 stint in Japan from 1991 to 1993.

"Suzuka is my favourite circuit," he said.

"It's like my home grand prix because I raced in Japan for three years and I had a lot of fun here and I have enjoyed coming back."

On Saturday an independent inquiry in Paris overturned Ferrari's disqualification from the last grand prix in Malaysia where Irvine and double world champion Michael Schumacher finished one-two.

The verdict, which dispelled suspicions Ferrari's red machines carried illegally-sized deflectors, reinstalled Irvine's four-point lead over 1998 champion Hakkinen.

"The situation is still very open," Irvine said, adding it would have been much better if he had a five-point advantage.

If Hakkinen wins at Suzuka, the 31-year-old flying Finn will have his second world title. But if Hakkinen finishes second, Irvine has to finish in the top four to seal the title.

"That will be nice," he said, commenting on the possibility that Schumacher beats Hakkinen into second spot so that Irvine just cruises into fourth spot to sew up his drivers title.

"If Mika (Hakkinen) breaks down at the start then I can really have fun because I really love the circuit," he said.

"And, it will be the greatest way to go into the race and I can go crazy."

Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Bruce Forsyth with Tess Daly in the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special
tvLouis Smith wins with 'Jingle Bells' quickstep on Strictly Come Dancing's Christmas Special
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Sport
sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there