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F1 | March 7, 1999: Australian Grand Prix, Irvine’s first win – HISTORY

After two consecutive seasons in which the event was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Australian Grand Prix Finally ready to be back on the calendar for the 2022 Formula 1 World Championship, once again on the right track Melbourne. The latter, who was chosen as the heir to the Adelaide track from 1996 on, will not be a place for the first round of the upcoming championship, unlike in many other versions. Certainly, the role of baptism has been retained for the world championship 1999a year in which it achieved one of the most positive and exciting results in the recent history of Ferrari In “Kangaroo Land”: On March 7, 1999, Albert Park Circuit rewarded a Northern Irish performance Eddie Irvinewho here achieved the first of his four career successes in Formula 1, unconsciously giving life to the world champion a dream that never came true.

To understand what exactly happened that day, it is necessary to do A step back 23 years, thus going back to the latter part of the twentieth century. The world champion at that time was Finn Mika Hakkinenbehind the wheel, McLaren Also ready to take on the World Championships with the constructors’ world title in her pocket, the first after gaining near-total domination of the Williams in the nineties. The British team, after a disappointing 1998 to say the least, attempted to rise again in 1999 by implementing several innovations: while keeping the Mecachrome engines – renamed Supertec that year – the Grove House made a real revolution in terms of line- Even from their pilots. The couple consists of Jacques Villeneuve And Heinz Harald Frenzen – with the Canadian who won the last driver’s title in Williams history in 1997 – left the team to go to two different destinations: while the German went to Jordan, exchanging seats with Ralf Schumacher, the move was even more curious, I reported on the signature of Villeneuve himself, who concluded Agreement with the newborn CafeTerrell’s heir. In his place, Sir Frank Williams called up Bolognese to F1 Alessandro Zanardi.

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By contrast, in a season marked by a one-time supply of Bridgestone tyres, other top teams have not changed, including McLaren and Ferrari. The British national team, from their first free practice, confirmed themselves as the team to beat, as the exciting qualifying result confirmed: Hakkinenauthor first place, in fact, moved Michael Schumacher’s car away from Ferrari, third, by about a second and a half, as Coulthard completed the entire front row of Woking’s home. The second was no better red to Irvine, 6 Behind Barrichello Stewart & Frentzen Jordan.
However, on Sunday March 7, 1999, the race was marked by constant twists, the first of which saw Stuart Barrichello and Herbert as champions: both cars, before the go-ahead, were actually betrayed by their Ford engines, which they went to blaze on the grill. Moreover, in the subsequent reconnaissance cycle, the direction of the race punish Michael Schumacher, with the then two-time world champion because he started late in the same formation cycle. In all of this, Irvine took the opportunity to earn some positions on the grid, and did the same later during the race: two McLaren – He was shot in the head – in fact they were forced to Withdraws For technical reasons, he opened the doors for Irvin to drive and, above all, to achieve his first victory in Formula 1. And behind him, the teams’ new beginnings took advantage of the Frenzen and Ralf Schumacherrespectively second and third.

Earl Warner

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