F1 1999 season review


1999 Formula One World Championship
The 1999 FIA Formula One World Championship was the 53rd season of Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) Formula One motor racing. It commenced on 7 March and ended on 31 October after sixteen races.

The Drivers' Championship was won for a second consecutive time by Mika Häkkinen, although Eddie Irvine, David Coulthard and Heinz-Harald Frentzen all had a chance of winning the title at various stages. Ferrari won their ninth Constructors' title, and their first since the 1983 season, paving the way for the Michael Schumacher era of Ferrari dominance beginning in 2000. However, Schumacher's participation in the 1999 championship was cut short due to 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 were disqualified for a breach of the technical regulations. They were reinstated on appeal, ensuring that Irvine had the title lead before the final race in Japan. If Schumacher won, fourth or higher would seal the title for Irvine. Schumacher took pole but lost the start to Häkkinen who then drove away at the front, never being troubled for position by Schumacher in spite of him running close all race. Had Ferrari switched their cars Irvine would have still lost the title on countback due to Häkkinen's five wins compared with Irvine's four. In the end Irvine finished a distant third and fell short in his championship title bid.

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 winning 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 Champ Car winner Alex Zanardi finishing the season without scoring points. 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 12 of the 16 races.

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