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
Pedro to Manchester United: Transfer news live - Angel Di Maria to PSG, John Stones to Chelsea, £100m Gareth Bale bid
Watch Petr Cech, Francis Coquelin, Olivier Giroud and Mathieu Debuchy photobomb Arsenal fans
Premier League 2015/16 preview: Club-by-club guide to the new season
Can Arsenal win the Premier League? Is Raheem Sterling the answer to Man City's problems? Can anything stop Chelsea?
Rowdy Roddy Piper dies: Watch the entire WWE locker room pay tribute to wrestling legend in touching 10-bell salute on Raw
- 2 Porn block in India: hundreds of sexual websites banned, internet outraged
- 3 Natalia Molchanova: World's most successful free-diver missing and feared dead after disappearing in Mediterranean
- 4 Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
- 5 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Chris Leslie: Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity agenda will harm the poor, says Labour shadow Chancellor
Landlords renting properties to illegal immigrants to face up to five years in prison
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Labour leadership race: Jeremy Corbyn could be the next Prime Minister, says Ken Clarke
£35 - 38k + Benefits & Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Account Manager ...
£16000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This position will in the main ...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the top Cosmeceutical br...
£350 p/d (Contract): Guru Careers: A Software Developer / Web Developer (PHP /...