Motor Racong: Irvine's threat to leave Ferrari
Thursday 12 August 1999
The world championship leader told Famiglia Cristiana magazine, which released an advance copy of the interview yesterday, that his future at Ferrari depended on the status of his team-mate.
"It depends. If Schumacher doesn't come back in the same role, then maybe," he said when asked whether he would be staying on next season. "But if he's the No 1 driver again I'm leaving."
Irvine has emerged from Schumacher's shadow by winning two consecutive grands prix since the German crashed and broke his leg at Silverstone last month. The Ulsterman has now won three races this season and heads the title standings by eight points from the defending champion, Mika Hakkinen of Finland.
Schumacher is not expected to race again until the Italian Grand Prix on 12 September and is virtually out of contention, already 20 points behind Irvine. The German, who is under contract at Ferrari until 2002, has said he will support Irvine in his campaign for the title once he returns, but Ferrari have not said who will be their No 1 driver next season.
Irvine said that Schumacher, the double world champion, was the fastest driver but not necessarily the best. "He's the fastest. With equal cars no one can beat him," Irvine told Italy's biggest circulation weekly magazine in the interview due to be published on Sunday.
"Speed is not enough. You need to avoid mistakes and he makes a lot. Too many," Irvine was quoted as saying. "This year we've... been lucky, the car is reliable and we're in front."
"I'm 33 and I don't plan to retire before I'm 36," Irvine said. "I love my work and I've already won three grands prix, just like John Surtees." Surtees won four races for Ferrari, the Englishman becoming world champion in the final race of 1964 in Mexico.
Latest in Sport
Phil Hughes head injury: Cricket world reels as Australian opener fights for his life
Robin van Persie says it's 'still possible' for Manchester United to win the Premier League title this season, but admits it will be 'very hard'
Sam Wallace: Players of Suarez’s standing just don’t sign for clubs like Liverpool
Lionel Messi transfer news: Manuel Pellegrini dismisses £200m Manchester City move for Barcelona star as 'rumours and only rumours'
Manchester United named Premier League's loudest fans despite late push by Chelsea according to 'Smart Meter' app
- 1 Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Bill Cosby: Isn’t it obvious why his accusers have stayed silent up until now?
- 4 Halle Berry takes ex-boyfriend Gabriel Aubry to court for allegedly trying to make daughter look less African-American
- 5 Isis propaganda image showing 'abuse of Muslim woman by soldiers' is actually taken from Hungarian porn film
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
Exclusive: UK approved £7m Israeli arms sales in six months before Gaza conflict
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CHESHIRE MARKET TOWN - An exciting and rare o...
Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE - SENIOR POSITION - An exciti...
£29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Engineer is required ...
£28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor is req...