The 1999 Malaysian Grand Prix, otherwise officially known as the I Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix, was the fifteenth and penultimate round of the 1999 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Sepang International Circuit in Sepang, Malaysia, on the 17 October 1999. The race, which was the first ever Malaysian Grand Prix to be staged, would see Eddie Irvine claim victory, after he and teammate Michael Schumacher were initially disqualified from the results.
The Malaysian Grand Prix would prove to be popular addition to the F1 calendar in 1999, with a new circuit based near Sepang designed by Hermann Tilke created specifically for F1. The inaugural Malaysian race would also mark the return of Michael Schumacher to the field for Ferrari, the German ace having been absent since breaking his leg at the British Grand Prix.
Schumacher would show that he had fully recovered from his accident during qualifying, claiming a stunningly quick pole position. Indeed, title pretending teammate Irvine was almost a full second off in second, while Mika Häkkinen, Championship leader, could only muster fourth behind his teammate David Coulthard.
Schumacher duly aced his start to claim an early lead, while Irvine managed to fend off both McLarens to secure second. The top four were then chased by Rubens Barrichello, with the rest of the field making it through the first corner without issue.
The two Ferraris quickly built a small lead at the head of the field, before Schumacher did the unthinkable. Indeed, on lap four the German ace moved aside to allow teammate Irvine pass for the lead, before immediately slamming the door in Coulthard's face.
Irvine quickly sprinted clear, with Schumacher deliberately driving slowly to allow the Ulsterman to escape. Coulthard, however, was in no mood to sit back and let the German ruin his race, and duly barged his way past the Ferrari on lap five to chase Irvine.
Yet, Coulthard would be unable to catch the #4 Ferrari, for his McLaren would fail him on lap fifteen after losing fuel pressure. Schumacher therefore moved back into second, although he would continue to block Häkkinen's half-hearted attempts to pass.
Schumacher kept up his delaying tactics through to the first pitstops, with McLaren trying an ambitious fuel strategy to get Häkkinen ahead. Unfortunately for them even half-filling Häkkinen's tank did not work, for the #1 McLaren would get caught behind a backmarker on his out-lap, and hence allow Schumacher to make a full stop and remain ahead.
Once again the German would drive within himself to keep Häkkinen at bay, while Irvine's lead grew to 20 seconds. That gave Ferrari the option to pit the Brit and give him fresh tyres and fuel, which they duly took believing that Häkkinen had to stop again.
When Häkkinen did come in again the Finn's fight was over, with Schumacher, on a one-stop, once again moving aside to allow Irvine through. Häkkinen, meanwhile, would quickly deal with Johnny Herbert, who had moved ahead of him as a result of his stop, before trying to get back on terms with Schumacher.
Yet, it was not to be for the Finn, for Schumacher remained tucked under Irvine's wing for the rest of race, trailing the Brit by a second as they crossed the line. Häkkinen crossed the line in third ahead of Herbert, Rubens Barrichello and Heinz-Harald Frentzen, before post-race scrutineering played out.
Post-race inspections of the Ferraris showed that the two scarlet cars were using illegal bargeboards, and were therefore disqualified from the results. Ferrari appealed and given an FIA Court of Appeal date, which duly ruled in favour of the Scuderia in the week ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix.
As such, Irvine was reinstated as the race winner ahead of Schumacher, and hence headed to the finale with a four point lead over Häkkinen.
Mika Häkkinen had somehow managed to extend his Championship lead after the chaotic European Grand Prix, leaving the Nürburgring with a two point advantage. Eddie Irvine remained his closest challenger despite having failed to score, with a similar story ensuring that Heinz-Harald Frentzen had also lost ground in third. Indeed, the German, as well as Häkkinen's teammate David Coulthard would slip out of the fight if they failed to finish ahead of the Finn and in the points in Malaysia.
In the Constructors Championship McLaren-Mercedes had eeked out their lead, leaving Germany with an eight point advantage. That meant that the Anglo-German squad could win the Championship in Malaysia if they out-scored second placed Ferrari by eight points, while the Scuderia would likely have to out-score McLaren to keep their title hopes alive. Behind, Jordan-Mugen-Honda were guaranteed third ahead of Williams-Supertec, while Stewart-Ford Cosworth had secured fifth.
The full entry list for the 1999 Malaysian Grand Prix is outlined below:
The full qualifying results for the 1999 Malaysian Grand Prix are outlined below:
|1||3||Michael Schumacher||Ferrari||1:39.688||—||200.136 km/h|
|2||4||Eddie Irvine||Ferrari||1:40.635||+0.947s||198.253 km/h|
|3||2||David Coulthard||McLaren-Mercedes||1:40.806||+1.118s||197.917 km/h|
|4||1||Mika Häkkinen||McLaren-Mercedes||1:40.866||+1.178s||197.799 km/h|
|5||17||Johnny Herbert||Stewart-Ford Cosworth||1:40.937||+1.249s||197.660 km/h|
|6||16||Rubens Barrichello||Stewart-Ford Cosworth||1:41.351||+1.663s||196.853 km/h|
|7||10||Alexander Wurz||Benetton-Playlife||1:41.444||+1.756s||196.672 km/h|
|8||6||Ralf Schumacher||Williams-Supertec||1:41.558||+1.870s||196.451 km/h|
|9||7||Damon Hill||Jordan-Mugen-Honda||1:42.050||+2.362s||195.504 km/h|
|10||22||Jacques Villeneuve||BAR-Supertec||1:42.087||+2.399s||195.433 km/h|
|11||9||Giancarlo Fisichella||Benetton-Playlife||1:42.110||+2.422s||195.389 km/h|
|12||18||Olivier Panis||Prost-Peugeot||1:42.208||+2.520s||195.202 km/h|
|13||23||Ricardo Zonta||BAR-Supertec||1:42.310||+2.622s||195.007 km/h|
|14||8||Heinz-Harald Frentzen||Jordan-Mugen-Honda||1:42.380||+2.692s||194.874 km/h|
|15||11||Jean Alesi||Sauber-Petronas||1:42.522||+2.834s||194.604 km/h|
|16||5||Alex Zanardi||Williams-Supertec||1:42.885||+3.197s||193.917 km/h|
|17||12||Pedro Diniz||Sauber-Petronas||1:42.933||+3.245s||193.827 km/h|
|18||19||Jarno Trulli||Prost-Peugeot||1:42.948||+3.260s||193.799 km/h|
|19||21||Marc Gené||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:43.563||+3.875s||192.648 km/h|
|20||14||Pedro de la Rosa||Arrows||1:43.579||+3.891s||192.618 km/h|
|21||20||Luca Badoer||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:44.321||+4.633s||191.248 km/h|
|22||15||Tora Takagi||Arrows||1:44.637||+4.949s||190.671 km/h|
|107% Time: 1:46.666|
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car to set their best time in that session.
- Bold indicates a driver's best/qualifying time.
|______________||Pedro de la Rosa|
- * Trulli was unable to start the race after an engine failure on the formation lap.
The full results for the 1999 Malaysian Grand Prix are outlined below:
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.
- * Trulli was unable to start the race after an engine failure on the formation lap.
- First Malaysian Grand Prix to be staged.
- Fourth and final victory for Eddie Irvine.
- Ferrari scored their 125th win as a constructor and engine supplier.
- Michael Schumacher claimed his 70th podium finish.
- Schumacher recorded the 25th fastest lap to be set using Bridgestone tyres.
- Final points finish for Johnny Herbert.
- Rubens Barrichello scored the final points for Stewart as a constructor.
Thanks to the efforts of Michael Schumacher it was Eddie Irvine who left Sepang at the head of the Championship, overhauling a two point deficit to claim a four point lead. Mika Häkkinen hence headed into the finale in Japan on the back foot, with the title likely to come down to who won the race. Behind, Heinz-Harald Frentzen had slipped out of the fight, and would instead duel with David Coulthard to claim third.
Ferrari moved back to the top of the Constructors Championship as a result of Schumacher's return, with the Scuderia leaving Malaysia on 118 points. McLaren-Mercedes had made way for them, slipping four behind, with the pair set to duel for the crown at the finale. Behind, Jordan-Mugen-Honda had already been credited with third in the Championship, while Stewart-Ford Cosworth had moved ahead of Williams-Supertec.
Only point scoring drivers and constructors are shown.
Images and Videos:
- 'Malaysian GP, 1999', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2014), https://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr645.html, (Accessed 29/08/2019)
- 'Malaysia 1999: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1999/malaisie/engages.aspx, (Accessed 29/08/2019)
- 'Malaysia 1999: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1999/malaisie/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 29/08/2019)
- '1999 Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix - QUALIFYING', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/1999/races/701/malaysia/qualifying-0.html, (Accessed 29/08/2019)
- 'Malaysia 1999: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1999/malaisie/classement.aspx, (Accessed 29/08/2019)
- '15. Malaysia 1999', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1999/malaisie.aspx, (Accessed 29/08/2019)
- '1999 Malaysian GP', chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2014), http://www.chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=1999&gp=Malaysian%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 29/08/2019)
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