Eddie Irvine on getting personal with rivals: "I see Formula 1 as war"

10-06-2021 13:27 | Updated: 10-06-2021 13:54
F1 News
Eddie Irvine on getting personal with rivals: I see Formula 1 as war

Formula 1 in 2021 is looking likely to become one of the best seasons in recent memory. Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton are battling it out to become World Champion as a mix of youth and experience combine together. Four-time Grand Prix winner Eddie Irvine looks back at some of his rivalries, similar to Hamilton and Verstappen's duel. 

1999 season

Irvine achieved his best result in the 1999 season when he finished second in the World Championship. He lost the battle to Mika Hakkinen despite leading going into the final round of the season in Japan. Looking back to that duel, Irvine explains his thoughts on getting personal with rivals following Hamilton and Verstappen's press conferences in recent weeks. 

"It’s become more professional, as every sport has. But it doesn’t look as much fun as it used to be, that’s for sure. I never had a problem with getting personal. For me, it was all in one, the professional and personal situation. All’s fair in love and war and I see Formula 1 as war so I really had no problem with criticising or saying anything that I felt would help me. I was there for me and my team, and I didn’t care about anyone else," Irvine told Betway.com.

Under pressure

The current battle isn't just for the Drivers' Championship. Red Bull Racing and Mercedes are fighting to win the Constructors trophy as well. In the 1999 season, Irvine was successful in the Constructors' Championship when he combined with Michael Schumacher and Mika Salo. Irvine knows all too well about the pressures the current drivers are under. 

"The pressures of Formula 1 are immense. You’ve got 500 or 600 people working at the factory, and you’re the guy who’s responsible for getting the results at the end. So you have all that pressure on you, plus you want to do a good job because, if you’re in the sport, you take it very seriously. You want to perform at your best. Sometimes a lot of it is out of your control, but you’ve got to give 100 per cent all the time," he added.

"It was very difficult in ’99 because it was my one chance at the World Championship and we got close, but we didn’t quite pull it off. The fact it was my one shot was an added pressure – it wasn’t like I was in a Williams for three years and had three years to win the championship. It was a lot of pressure, but that’s what we’re paid for."

Ferrari won the championship by four points in 1999. A high points tally from the Malaysian Grand Prix helped them come from behind against McLaren. In the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Mercedes and Verstappen failed to score points. But Sergio Perez took home the victory, supplying the Austrian team with 25 points and extending their lead over Mercedes. 

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