F1 Preview. Malaysian Grand Prix. 1999 – Politics and Tactics

Ferrari takes victory at the inaugural Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix in 1999, but would it be championship favourite Eddie Irvine or team favourite Michael Schumacher on the top step?

Formula One World Championship

Ignoring a best of fourth in Australia and with every Scarlet finger crossed, Ferrari could extend a streak at the Malaysian Grand Prix. The Italian marque is the most successful F1 team to have competed in Kuala Lumpur courtesy of six victories at the Sepang International Circuit (three more than nearest rivals Red Bull Racing). It’s a streak that began way back at the venue’s debut in 1999 when Briton’s Eddie Irvine was vying for his first F1 championship.

Yes, correct. Not Michael Schumacher. Irvine. The then two-time World Champion had suffered a broken leg in a hefty racing incident at Silverstone in July, missing six Grand Prix as a result. Ordered back into the car as the season neared its finale (or so it’s believed), Schumacher proved a dominant force even with the cobwebs, beating teammate Irvine to pole position by nearly a full second. The big question on everyone’s lips though was, would the German sacrifice victory for the good of his teammate’s championship cause?

Little did anybody know that – briefly – the 1999 title was sealed in McLaren driver Mika Hakkinen’s favour following Irvine and Schumacher’s disqualification for illegal barge boards on the Ferrari 048s (though a Ferrari appeal soon took care of that). The 1999 Malaysian Grand Prix would also mark the last points scored by three-time Grand Prix winner Johnny Herbert – including the unbelievable 1999 European Grand Prix – during his 11-year F1 career.


Source – Venesia FM! and grandprix247

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