A Throwback to the 1999 F1 Season
Written by Cameron Gale, Edited by Nakul Naik
The 1999 F1 season was an interesting one to say the least. Three drivers had a chance of winning the title at various points in the season, but the victorious one was Mika Hakkinnen who won his second consecutive title. Runner up Eddie Irvine lost out by two points and Heinz-Harald Frentzen finished third for Jordan.
Ferrari won their ninth constructors' title and their first since 1983. This paved the way for the Schumacher era of Ferrari dominance beginning in 2000. However, Schumacher’s season was cut short by an injury at the British Grand Prix, where he suffered a broken leg in a crash. He returned for the last two races of the season in order to assist Irvine in his championship run.
The championship finale was set up in controversial circumstances: at the inaugural Malaysian Grand Prix, Ferrari took first and second places, but got disqualified for a breach of technical regulations. They were reinstated on appeal, ensuring Irvine had the title lead before Japan. If Schumacher won, fourth or higher would seal the title for Irvine. Schumacher took pole but lost the start to Hakkinnen who then drove away at the front. Schumacher managed to run close to him all race but was never close enough to make a move for first place. If Ferrari had switched the cars, Irvine would've still lost on countback as Hakkinnen had five wins to Irvine's four. In the end, Irvine fell short of his title bid by three points.
The season saw successes for the Jordan and Stewart teams with Heinz-Harald Frentzen finishing third in the title race for Jordan, and Johnny Herbert achieving Stewart's first and only Grand Prix victory at the Nürburgring. The season also saw former dominant team Williams run a second season in a row without victories in spite of a few podiums from breakthrough youngster Ralf Schumacher, with two-time car champion Alessandro Zanardi finishing the season without a point. Former Williams driver and 1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve had joined the new British American Racing team, and also finished the season with no points, having retired from twelve of the sixteen races.