Irvine: “Schumacher will be number one”

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Michael Schumacher will earn number one status at Mercedes by being quicker than his new team mate – according to his former team mate Eddie Irvine.

Talking to ESPN Irvine said:

Michael won’t walk in there and expect to be number one to Nico. The fastest guy will be the number one and that’s always been the case wherever Michael has been. If Nico goes quicker than him then he can expect to be team leader but I don’t expect that to happen.

When I was at Ferrari with Michael, I did the majority of the testing, the tyre work and the chassis work. But Michael could just get in the car and go fast immediately. He was quicker than me so he was the number one. When I was close to winning the title in 1999, Michael came back after his broken leg and proved he wasn’t just the best number one but also the best number two in Malaysia when he let me past for the race win.
Eddie Irvine

Irvine partnered Schumacher at Ferrari from 1996-1999. During that time Schumacher scored 267 (including his confiscated 1997 total) to Irvine’s 156, despite missing six races with a broken leg.

Irvine also said he doesn’t expect Jenson Button to offer much competition to new McLaren team mate Lewis Hamilton:

Jenson has entered the lion’s den – it was madness of him to move. He thinks he’s going to be able to eat his steak and that’s not going to be the case. I think he’s going to get murdered! It’s the worst decision he could have made. The only reason I can think of is that he didn’t want to stay at Brawn with Rosberg, who’s not as highly rated as Lewis but might be just as quick. Jenson may have thought that it’s better to get beaten by Lewis than get beaten by Nico.
Eddie Irvine

Read the full interview on ESPN.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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65 comments on “Irvine: “Schumacher will be number one””

  1. He brought up a good point about Button and Rosberg ! It may not be true, but what he has to say is very interesting.

  2. Agree 100%.

    1. Agree with everything except the whole, Rosberg would have beaten Button thing.

      I don’t think so, Nico seems to quick but I don’t think he was that quick.

      1. Bigbadderboom
        5th January 2010, 13:28

        Agreed Scribe, to dismiss Buttons talent like that is petty of Irvine, perhaps he still regrets being given race winning equipment but coming up short himself, he just sounds bitter.
        Rosberg is quick but as we have seen many times you still need strength of mind to get the car home, it’s often what the younger drivers lack, Vettel, Hamilton and co all have showed that lack of race winning experience. Jenson has that in his locker and I doubt Rosberg would have got the better of him often. Jenson moved for more fame and fortune……full stop.

      2. Why wouldn’t you think Rosberg was that quick? He annihilated Nakajima this year. He fought close with Hamilton in junior categories. He got the GP2 (or F3000?) title in his first year.

        Rosberg drove a car that, by the teams account, had an engine 3 tenths a lap slower than the others. He still managed to do pretty well with it.

        There are many indications that he is almost as good as Lewis.

  3. I love Irvine’s view on Button going to McLaren. I never looked at it in the way he said the last bit : “Jenson may have thought that it’s better to get beaten by Lewis than get beaten by Nico.”, but hey that does make sense…

    I also agree that it was probably the dumbest move of his career, more dumb than his earlier career seat hopping – which at the time I thought was about as dumb as it gets.

  4. I totaly agree with Irvine.

    My mind has gone blank, can somebody tell me what nationality Eddie Irvine is please.

    1. Irvine is Northern Irish, so he’s technichally British I think

      1. he’s IRISH, period!

        even if he lives one metre from the “border” he’s still Irish. If you live in Eastern Germany you’re still not Polish

        1. yes but East Germany is not part of Poland, whereas Northern Ireland is part of the UK.

          1. So is Wales and Scotland. Tell someone from Wales or a Scot they’re British and see how long you live……

          2. Thats what happened in Northern Ireland. Half say their Irish and The other half say their British,I think they had a big argument over that!

          3. I think they had a big argument over that

            Lenny you are master of the understatement!

          4. Being Scottish and British aren’t mutually exclusive!

          5. you and your acurate geography

        2. Mouse_Nightshirt
          5th January 2010, 8:00

          He’s Northern Irish, period.

          You can be entitled to both British and Irish passports, therefore he can be either.

          I would know!

    2. He’s from Northern Ireland.

    3. so technically British but he prefers being called Irish.

      1. Oh of course he is, thanks Tiomkin, for the life of me I just could’t remember.

      2. Mouse_Nightshirt
        5th January 2010, 7:58

        So best call him Northern Irish in that case. Avoids any hassle.

        1. He refers to himself as Irish and drove under an Irish licence.

  5. sure Scumacher will probably be faster than Nico, but not because he is more talented or faster by nature, but because Ross Brawn will do everything he can to make his old buddy look good, and MS will be faster because it’s good for buissnes.

    Norbert probably knows as well as Brawn does that this year they don’t have a years work lead over others on the car so it will be tough to win the title, so why not be on every headline by making one of your drivers a sensation? They probably can earn more money by making Schumacher look as fast as ever, than by winning the title and it is much cheaper too. MS is a piece of iron, Norbert and Ross heated it up and now have left for the press to strike it, while they count profit from media exposure.

    sure MS got in the car and be fast, because the whole team including Irvine tested the car in the direction MS liked it. (Remember Massa back in 2005 complaining he has to use all his tyre sets on fridays to set up the car, so MS could save his? no wonder he was quicker then)

    And that comment about MS being a good number two in 1999? haha what a bunch of bull…Maybe he helped him in Malaysia, but in Suzuka it was obvius MS rather saw Mika take it than Irvine.

  6. I love Irvine’s honesty. At least he didn’t try to pretend he was better than Schumacher like Barrichello did. Then again, he did declare himself to be the second best driver in the world while he was at Jaguar…

    1. Technically he was. Runner up in WDC would allow you to make that claim.

      1. He said this in 2002, I believe. In which case he thought he was better than Raikkonen, Coulthard, Montoya, Ralf Schumacher, Button, Massa, Barrichello and the rest

    2. The main thing I remember about Irvine is that he was probably the number 1 driver at causing accidents. He used to drive me bloody mad!!!!

    3. if anyone thinks Brawn will let his man be number 2 to Nicko is …just plain silly.

      Do you think MS is on a come back to be wing man for a young hack that has all the praise and no results to back it up.

      Almost as silly as thinking the other Nick ha a shot at the merc seat or that Button wasn’t shown the front door…

  7. Irvine thinks of himself as Irish

    But at the end of the day, I’m Irish. I mean, I’ve got a British passport, but if you’re from Ireland, north or south, you’re Irish. And ‘British’ is. . . such a nondescript thing, isn’t it?

    Can’t say I disagree with him.

  8. He is British and Irish but probably by that identifies himself more as Irish. Like many people in England call themselves English and not British. Long as Irvine is happy doesn’t really matter…I can’t even remember what the article was about now :P

  9. Remind us that that Michael is team player.

  10. Is it a coincidence that the two most outspoken people in F1 are called Eddie and from ireland?!!

    I don’t think JB’s move was so mad at all imho. I think they would have really struggled this year without the power of MS and RB, so from a drivers perspective, why not move to a team where you know will be so much more competitive this year than last.

    At the end of the day, JB has said he’s super happy now, and I dont think he’ll mind if he never wins the title again.

    So it’s down to the thrill of racing ( as it should be for all ), so who cares, meaning us or the drivers themselves, who they do it with. As long as it’s not with a useless team, I don’t care and neither does Button.

    having said all that, Irvine is more or less right though. Shuey will be competitive and loosing against Lewis and ‘his’ team is a mighty good reason not to win in one’s head.

    1. I agree, Jenson has proven to do well in a competitive car, so I don’t expect him to beat Lewis, but at least he’ll grab more constructor points for Mclaren than Heikki ever did

      1. that is providing this years mclaren is not another dog.
        Considering that I cant remember the last time mclaren made a long wheel base car and that the problem with last years car was suppose to be related to the wheel base being to long…even though it was the smallest in the field.
        So there is no real knock on effect for mclaren this year.

        New wheel base-old aero wont work
        No Kers
        More weight
        Never all that great on tyres anyways

        Where some one like RBR had the longest car in the field last year and no kers so ther development for 2010 is more closely related to 2009.

        The mclaren team may go like they did pre- kimi and be mid field runners again for a few years. It happened to williams….

  11. Its probably worse to lose to Rosberg now, but no longer if Rosberg can win a WDC. I don’t think Rosberg is as bad as Irvine seems to put him, but not many people can be better than Hamilton if compared that way.

    I kinda think Rosberg has better chances now and if Mercedes is indeed competitive enough, i fancy him up there too in 2010.

  12. I agree with Irvine,Button moving to Mclaren will whether bring back 2007 in their team as a result of having two world champions or Hamilton will get the better piece of Mclaren.
    About Schumacher we have to wait & see.

  13. Irvine is telling it like it is with the Button, Hamilton rivalry. Hamilton has been totally nutured by those boys!

  14. Who cares about Irvine’s opinion? He is an overrated driver. Blah blah blah…

  15. Hey Guys, this not a nationality discussion!
    Irvine for me doesn´t seen to know much from F1 for the past years!
    MS, number one after 3 years off, it´s a crazy thought, even knowing i was and still appreciate Shumacher driving style, i think media is making is role, but Ferrari and McLaren will have a big say this year.
    Alonso is eager after 2 frustrated seasons and now he´ll have a winning car ( i hope ).

    1. Appreciate his driving style? Like in 94 taking the title by crashing into damon or like 97 trying to take the title from jacques by crashing into him or being given wins such as 02 austria. I’ll say the guys a racer for sure but… that driving style can be left at the door. Lets not forget chopping in front of everybody at the start too. That guy is lucky sir jackie stewart was around to make the sport safer. He would have died in the 99 british gp.

  16. No sense, Irish not Irish, both countries are amazing (UK and Ireland).

  17. Irvine, only wants attention from the media, saying that Shumacher will be number one is just a way to be in the spotlight, something that he doesn´t have by himself, it seens!

  18. I do wonder exactly how Button intends to beat Hamilton. Is he going to go aggressive and try to outpace him? Or stick to a conservative style and try to outthink and outstrategise him?

    1. presumably by going faster. :p

      think Prost and Senna, Senna was faster but didn’t always have the beating of him huh.

  19. The Good Friday Agreement (1998) recognises the birthright of all the people of Northern Ireland to identify themselves and be accepted as Irish or British, or both, as they may so choose.

    Technically speaking though, “Britain” and “Ireland” are geographical terms refering to the 2 seperate islands, Northern ‘Ireland’ is not part of Britain, the clue is in the name. People often confuse the term “Great Britain” (geographical term for the island consisting of England, Scotland, Wales etc) with the political term “United Kingdom (of Great Britain AND Northern Ireland)”

    Anyway how the deuce did this become so far off topic? Glad to have Schumi back, and very sure he will be number 1 in the team, knowing Michael it’ll be written into his contract.

  20. Wow “Better be beaten by a WDC (Lewis) than by Nico….” that is an interesting observation.

    I am also starting to wonder if Button was forced out or traded out to Mclaren as part of the seperation deal between McLaren and Mercedes so that Merc can accomodate Schumi and Button/Mclaren gets a good partner for Lewis.

    JB is intelligent too. I am sure JB would have seen the same thing, If the entire world can see that Lewis is better than JB and taking Lewis in Mclaren is something even Alonso could’nt. I would say if that was the case JB just saved himself rather than being left out by both Mclaren and Mercedes.

    Going by timelines where Kimi-Mclaren rumors were strong followed by Mercedes parting ways with Mclaren and JB visitng MTC, everything is not black and white as seen.

    1. taking Lewis in Mclaren is something even Alonso could’nt.

      Don’t forget that the whole team and car design was actually focussed on Alonso initially and not on the rookie.

      Now Hamilton also has the whole team and car design centered on him.

  21. Oh yeh IMHO F1 next 5 years as I see it is

    Hamilton Vs Vettel !!!!!

    They Are the top 2…. rest of them are bystanders.

    1. Vettle? smeh

      Hamilton vs Alonso more likely, seriously though Vettle? whens he going to overtake?

      The guy is definately talented but he is not a Schumi an Alonso or a Hamilton yet.



      he could make it

  22. Schu will be n. 2 after Alonso

  23. Do you really think Shumi would come back if he was to be a number 2?………. Didn’t think so.

  24. Its funny how this has turned into a nationality debate..all the best

    Gotta love good ol Eddie. Used to love him during his racing days, he didnt give a damn as to what others thought. He was fast and took chances, made some great passes, he was a real racer!

    Its interesting how Eddie sees Jenson’s move to Mclaren, does make a bit of sense. I wonder how Jenson will take Mclaren favouring Lewis, cant wait for that episode.

    Michael will be faster than Nico, no doubt. The cars will be tailored to Michael’s preference.

  25. This kind of honesty is very much missed in F1.

    Irvine has got JB figured out.

  26. Bigbadderboom, you claim that Jenson has the race winning experience in his locker room that the young guns lack. May be it’s time he brought it out of that locker and wore it on hois sleeve ona Sunday afternoon bwecause frankly we haven’t seen much of it. Oh and if you made that point with the 2009 season in mind, better step back and think about all the controversies that almost made any F1 fan want to switch off the TV.

  27. Bigbadderboom, you claim that Jenson has the race winning experience in his locker room that the young guns lack. May be it’s time he brought it out of that locker and wore it on his sleeve ona Sunday afternoon bwecause frankly we haven’t seen much of it. Oh and if you made that point with the 2009 season in mind, better step back and think about all the controversies that almost made any F1 fan want to switch off the TV.

    1. I’ll just reply to ne of your posts. :)

      It may have escaped your notice that Button won six races, and managed to finish in the points at all except one. He also managed to do this without cheating, lying, throwing teddies, blah blah blahing or demanding to be number one. If the next WDC can do the same without resorting to any of that, then he’ll be a deserving WDC.

  28. Whatever else Irvine is, he’s most certainly opinionated. Not that it’s a bad thing, but he’s not the only opinionated Irishman in F1 that sometimes gets it wrong.

  29. If we can’t decide whether an Irishman is Irish or not, what chance do we stand of deciding whether an F1 driver is any good or not?

    Maybe Irvine’s not Irish enough, maybe there are better Irishmen out there that can do the job of being an Irishman better than Eddie? Maybe he’ll just have to put up with being British until he becomes World Champion Irishman?

  30. Pedel to the Vettel
    5th January 2010, 22:52

    ivine talks out of his backside. He said last season Lewis was going to win and look how that turned out. His opinion is as good as anybodys since nobody knows who will win.

  31. Irvine has always had a habit of talking crap.

  32. What does Irving know? he was rubbish in F1 and i’m glad he has gone

  33. shumi will not be out to toe the line when it comes to a team mate he will be out to be the best driver on the grid so for all of us who love the sport forget about the politics and the rules and look forward to a vintage season hopefully all the teams will have close race winning cars that can perform really evenly across the board cos thats the main thing then we’ll see the diff between boys and men can wait to see ,massa,hammy,alonso,vettle, possible button but not so sure about him as he cant handle pressure like these drivers up againest the {for me at least} greatest f1 driver ever roll on march and i couldn’t be bothered sayin that las year woohoo!!!!!

  34. Much as I hate to say it, Alonso will be hard to beat next year. Ferrari gave up on 2009 and started work on their 2010 car ahead of any of their main rivals. Mercedes may still have an engine advantage and the lack of re-fueling makes this all guess work but I’m still guessing:
    1) Alonso
    2) Hamilton
    3) Massa
    4) Vettel
    5) Schumi
    6) Button
    Britishly yrs:

  35. Spot on predictions, there Eddie! (yeah yeah, I know it’s easy to tease with the benefit of hindsight, but he’s still looking hilariously wrong at the moment)

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