The 1999 Formula One Season was the 50th World Championship Season. It started in Melbourne, Australia on March 7th and ended in Suzuka, Japan on October 31th, after sixteen races. The champion was Mika Häkkinen, and the runner-up was Eddie Irvine. This was the first season of the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang International Circuit.
Mika Häkkinen, who became the second Finn to win a World Championship last year, originally retained his World Championship in Malaysia after both Ferraris were disqualified. After the drivers were reinstated on appeal, Irvine retook the lead going into the final race. But Häkkinen won the race, which gave him the title by two points from Irvine, as he'd have won the title regardless of Irvine's position.
Michael Schumacher missed six races in 1999 after an accident where he smashed into the tyre wall at the British Grand Prix and broke his leg. This meant he had to sit out of both his home races.
Mika Salo, who had replaced Ricardo Zonta for three races at the start of the season, took the German's place, with a best finish of second at Hockenheim, and repeated his podium with third in Italy. Schumacher returned at the Malaysian Grand Prix.
1999 saw the debuts of Spaniards Marc Gené and Pedro de la Rosa, both of whom would score points in their first season. French future WRC driver Stéphane Sarrazin would also make his only F1 appearance at the Brazilian Grand Prix substituting for Luca Badoer at Minardi. This was the final season for 1996 World Champion Damon Hill, who retired from the sport at the end of the year.
Teams and DriversEdit
Exiting Formula One from 1998Edit
- After failing to retain his Minardi drive into 1999, Shinji Nakano was forced off the Formula One grid in 1999 being unable to find a drive. Nakano remained in Formula One in 1999 as a test driver for Jordan throughout the season.
- After a dismal performance for the Tyrrell team in 1998, Ricardo Rosset was ousted from the team as soon as his contract expired by new owners BAR. Rosset negotiated with the Minardi team for a race seat in 1999. Upon failing to get the drive, Rosset retired from motor racing all together.
- 1998 Arrows driver, Mika Salo was not retained heading into the 1999 season, Salo instead wishing to take a year off to assess his options for the 2000 season. Salo would get the opportunity to return to F1 in 1999 when he substituted for Ricardo Zonta and Michael Schumacher at BAR and Ferrari respectively.
- After a reasonably impressive first season in 1998, Minardi signed young Esteban Tuero to the team until the end of the 2000 season. This would later be reversed in January 1999 when Tuero announced his retirement from Formula One at the young age of 20 for unknown reasons. Tuero returned to his native Argentina to compete in touring cars.
- After failing to impress Stewart to retain him for 1999, Jos Verstappen appeared out of work in F1 once again. He found solace as a test driver in the Honda F1 project, however this was short lived following the programme's termination in February 1999 following the death of its director Harvey Postlethwaite. Verstappen then found work as a Jordan test driver for the remainder of the season.
Debutants for 1999Edit
- After a season working as the Jordan test driver, Spanish driver Pedro de la Rosa made his debut in 1999 for the Arrows team. De la Rosa had impressed following a succesful evaluation test in pre-season testing.
- Following succesful tests in December 1998, Marc Gené was signed for Minardi following the departure of Esteban Tuero. Gené had won the Open Fortuna by Nissan championship in 1998.
- Whilst signed on for the season as the Prost test driver, Stéphane Sarrazin made his debut in Brazil for Minardi, substituting for the injured Luca Badoer. This was the only race Sarrazin competed in during his Formula One career.
- After two years as test driver for Jordan and McLaren, Ricardo Zonta made his Formula One debut in 1999, joining the newly formed BAR team.
Returning to Formula OneEdit
- Italian driver, Luca Badoer made his return to Formula One racing in 1999, after serving two year's as test driver for Minardi and Ferrari. Whilst remaining the Ferrari test driver, Badoer rejoined his old team at Minardi on loan by Ferrari to compete as race driver in the 1999 season.
- Alessandro Zanardi would make his return to Formula One for the first time since 1994. Since Zanardi's first stint in Formula One, he had competed in the USA in the CART series taking the 1997 and 1998 CART championships. Now considered a world class driver Zanardi was expected to be the lead driver in the renowned Williams F1 team for 1999.
Moved seats for 1999Edit
- Brazilian driver Pedro Diniz joined the Sauber team for 1999, his sponsership and strong results in the Arrows during 1998 were enough for Sauber to take Diniz for the new season.
- After being dropped by Williams in 1998, Heinz-Harald Frentzen had considered joining the IndyCar Series for the 1999 but opted to remain in F1 by joining the Jordan team, his old team from his Formula 3000 days back in 1990.
- After being dropped by Sauber in 1998, Johnny Herbert signed a two year deal with the Stewart team starting in the 1999 season.
- Ralf Schumacher had made the switch to the Williams team after two years with Jordan.
- With the Tyrrell team being relaunched as BAR in 1999, Toranosuke Takagi found himself without a drive in the team, however his strong performances in 1999 assisted in him gaining a drive at the Arrows for the new season in 1999.
- The 1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve opted to leave the Williams team for 1999 after disappointing results by the team in 1998. Villeneuve opted to join the new BAR team, working alongside his old manager, now team principal Craig Pollock, with the aim to turn the fledgling team into race winning material by the end of the season.
- When Luca Badoer fractured his hand in a testing accident ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix, he was replaced for the grand prix by Prost test driver Stéphane Sarrazin in the Minardi team, Sarrazin subsequently making his Formula One debut in Brazil.
- After injuring his foot during qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix, Ricardo Zonta, was forced to sit out the next three races in order for it to heal. Zonta was replaced by out of work driver Mika Salo in the team until Zonta was well enough to return.
- When Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher broke his leg in the British Grand Prix, he was subsequently replaced by Mika Salo for the next six rounds in the championship until Schumacher was well enough to return at the Malaysian Grand Prix.
The first Malaysian Grand Prix was held at the Sepang International Circuit, designed by Hermann Tilke. The race was eventually won by Ferraris Eddie Irvine, after his teammate, Michael Schumacher waved him through for the sake of the championship.
Results, Standings and StatisticsEdit
Standings and StatisticsEdit
|Drivers' World Championship|
|17th||Pedro de la Rosa||6th||Ret||Ret||Ret||11th||Ret||11th||Ret||Ret||Ret||15th||Ret||Ret||Ret||Ret||13th||1|
|Constructors' World Championship|
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