Italians not satisfied with constructors' title

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The Independent Online

Ferrari may have won its first Formula One title in 16 years, but there was little joy in Italy on Monday.

Ferrari may have won its first Formula One title in 16 years, but there was little joy in Italy on Monday.

The consensus in the country's newspapers was that the constructors' crown captured on Sunday was not enough to dispel the disappointment of seeing Eddie Irvine fall short in his bid to claim Ferrari's first drivers' title in two decades.

"Ferrari disappoints in Japan," read La Repubblica's front-page headline.

"Ferrari, the dream vanishes," was Corriere della Sera's headline.

Mercedes-McLaren's Mika Hakkinen won Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix to wrap up his second straight world championship. Hakkinen finished with 76 points to 74 for Irvine.

Irvine led Hakkinen by four points in the standings heading into the season's final race, but was never in contention Sunday and wound up third, 95 seconds behind the winner.

It was the third straight year that Ferrari lost the drivers' title in the season-closing race.

"Is this a fiasco, then? An ugly loss like in '97 and in '98? No, we can't say that," La Repubblica's Carlo Marincovich wrote in a column headlined, "Prize that does not console."

"The true objective on (one) with joy, that seems to once again leave the job unfinished.

"And once again, we must look to next year."

The race's broadcast set a record in Italy for ratings share, as 83.9 percent of televisions that were on tuned in to watch Irvine bid to become Ferrari's first individual champion since South Africa's Jody Scheckter triumphed in 1979.

"Now we enter the 21st year of waiting," La Gazzetta dello Sport's Candido Cannavo wrote in a front-page column. "The children have grown, some grandparent have died, the little girls have become brides, the Berlin wall has fallen, they have invented the Internet ... .

"But dreams are faithful: they always rise again and they never get tired."

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