Eddie Irvine

Full Name:
Edmund Irvine jr
Born:
10th November 1965 (Age 54)
Newtownards, County Down, Northern Ireland
Nationality:
British
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

Always outspoken and at times confrontational, Eddie Irvine’s abrasiveness was matched by his speed in the junior formulae. He started racing in Irish Formula Ford during the early 1980s and emerged as a future star when named as the Duckhams Van Diemen driver for the 1987 season in England. Irvine coped with being pre-season favourite with ease and won both British titles and the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch.

Formula 3 and F3000

He graduated to British Formula 3 in 1988 with Marlboro backing and three-time champions West Surrey Racing. His Ralt RT32-Alfa Romeo was no match for Toyota- and Volkswagen-powered rivals but Irvine finished fifth in the championship nonetheless. Without a victory in Britain, he qualified on pole position at Macau. He then won the first heat before crashing at the start of the second.

Marlboro placed Irvine with Formula 3000 newcomers Pacific Racing for 1989 but he was a disappointing ninth in the championship with third at Enna-Pergusa his only podium. He defected to Camel and Eddie Jordan Racing for 1990 and a title challenge was expected. His Reynard 90D-Mugen did win at Hockenheim but the Ulsterman finished a distant third in the standings.

Racing in Japan

The next three years were spent in Japan and he won national F3000 races each season. That period culminated in a strong 1993 campaign when Irvine’s Cerumo Lola T92/50-Mugen tied with Kazuyoshi Hoshino on points and only lost the title because the Japanese veteran had won more races.

Formula 1 with Jordan

Eddie Jordan invited Irvine to race in the final two Grands Prix of the year and his debut in the Japanese GP was controversial, impudent and impressive. He had the audacity to re-pass Ayrton Senna after being lapped while battling Damon Hill to finish in a fine sixth position. Senna was not impressed by Irvine’s tactics and confronted him after the race. Tempers frayed and the Brazilian landed a punch with the whole episode captured on an English journalist’s tape recorder.

Irvine also raced at Le Mans on three occasions and finished second in 1994 after late mechanical problems on his SARD Toyota 94CV denied him victory. But controversy dogged his early Formula 1 career and Irvine was banned for three races when adjudged to have caused Jos Verstappen to crash spectacularly in the 1994 Brazilian GP. He returned to finish sixth in Spain and was a points scorer twice more that year.

His Jordan 195-Peugeot was third in the 1995 Canadian GP and fourth in Japan but his next move was a complete surprise.

Irvine's move to Ferrari

Irvine joined Ferrari in 1996 as number two to Michael Schumacher with the German no doubt happy for a competent but compliant team-mate. Third on his debut in Australia, Irvine was initially circumspect with the Italian press despite mechanical failures and the team’s obvious preferential treatment of Schumacher.

Second in the 1997 Argentine GP was the first of three top-three finishes in a row. He continued to be a regular on the podium and was second again in France, Italy and Japan during 1998. Irvine then won the opening race of 1999 in Australia when Schumacher was delayed and Mika Häkkinen retired.

It was a popular breakthrough success and the season was turned on its head when Schumacher broke his leg at Silverstone. Suddenly, Irvine was Ferrari’s team leader and when Schumacher returned he was supporting Irvine’s title fight with Häkkinen. Irvine entered the final round in Japan four points ahead of the Finn but he ultimately lost out when beaten into third position.

Frustrating final years with Jaguar

At the height of his fame and recognition, Irvine was considered by McLaren but accepted a lucrative offer from Jaguar to lead its new F1 team in 2000. He remained with the marque for the final three years of his F1 career and provided its limited highlights. He finished third in the 2001 Monaco GP and matched that result at Monza a year later.

Irvine left Jaguar and GP racing at the end of 2002 as an F1 winner, world championship runner-up and millionaire. Irvine now concentrates on business affairs that include property, a sports complex and work in the media.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
2002 F1 World Championship
Jaguar Racing
17 0 1 0
0% win rate
9th 8
2001 F1 World Championship
Jaguar Racing
17 0 1 0
0% win rate
12th 6
2000 F1 World Championship
Jaguar Racing
16 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
13th 4
1999 F1 World Championship
Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro
16 0 9 4
25% win rate
2nd 74
1998 F1 World Championship
Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro
16 0 8 0
0% win rate
4th 47
1997 F1 World Championship
Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro
17 0 5 0
0% win rate
7th 24
1996 F1 World Championship
Scuderia Ferrari
16 0 1 0
0% win rate
10th 11
1995 F1 World Championship
Total Jordan Peugeot
17 0 1 0
0% win rate
12th 10
1994 F1 World Championship
Sasol Jordan
12 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
14th 6
1993 F1 World Championship
Sasol Jordan
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
20th 1
1992 World Sportscar Championship
Toyota Team SARD
1 0 0 0 0
1990 FIA International F3000 Championship
Eddie Jordan Racing
10 (1) 1 4 1
10% win rate
3rd 27
1989 FIA International F3000 Championship
Pacific Racing
9 (1) 0 1 0
0% win rate
9th 11