Eddie Irvine, the former F1 racing driver hailing from Northern Ireland. He competed in Formula 1 from 1992 to 2002. He recently talked to Betway and expressed his thoughts on various things like the 2021 Formula 1 title race, How he felt as the teammate of Micheal Schumacher and Netflix’s drive to survive expanding the horizons of F1 to new audiences.
Here we bring some excerpts from the recent talk with Eddie Irvine.
When asked about how the current 2021 F1 season is going on? He said “The current Formula 1 season has been amazing so far. Without doubt the race is between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappan. Lewis Hamilton probably is still the best out there with his immense experience. But Verstappan definitely performed very well and maybe he is the fastest driver at the moment. It will be great to watch out till the end.
Red Bull and Max Verstappen seem to be more competitive than ever in recent years. What according to you has changed since last year in them?
In response to that Irvine said Max has been super fast and a most dominating team leader on the grid. He is going a bit like Micheal Schumacher as no second drivers got close to him till now. It’s definitely visible that after six seasons he is finally putting his acts together. Verstappen is probably the quintessential talent, on the other hand Lewis is a hardcore professional and has very few weaknesses.
You finished as runner up in the 1999 world championship. You understand the pressure of competing in a title race. How would you describe it?
The pressures in Formula 1 are huge. A lot of people are working at the factory and you are the one person who’s responsible for getting the results at the end. So the pressure piles up on you and also you want to be good at what you do. In sports you take it very seriously, you want to perform your best. It was difficult in the 1999 world championship and it was my one shot. The fact that it was the one chance was the added pressure. We got close but couldn’t pull off. So I must say it’s a lot of pressure, but it is what it is and that’s what F1 drivers are paid for.
Do you realise any changes in the past 20 years since your own title push?
I think it’s become more professional since then as with time every sport has. But in my opinion it’s not as much fun now as it used to be, for sure.
Recently we have seen Verstappen and Hamilton going personal on each other at press conferences. What’s your take on this?
Personally, I never had a problem with getting personal. All is fair in love and war. And I see F1 as a war so there is no problem in publicly criticising or saying something personal if I felt that it would help me. I am there for me and my team, so caring about anything else doesn’t make sense. At such stages it’s all in one, the personal and professional situation.
You spent four years with Micheal Schumacher as a teammate at Ferrari. What was it like to be his teammate?
Being Micheal’s teammate was amazing in a way because I still think believe he is the greatest driver of all time and i got to work with him. So it was an honour. He dominated his teammates massively. It was amazing to observe a guy operate at such a high level. I assume myself as lucky because by the time i reached there, he was already seen as special. The guys who came earlier in his career as second got dumped as people didn’t realise by then how good Micheal is.
What did you learn when racing with Schumacer?
It is hard to learn from the pure talent which he was. He had the amazing ability to extract maximum out of a racing car.
Who was your favourite teammate during your F1 career?
Here I have to say it is Schumacher because we had a very good working relationship. He performed the best he could every weekend and I performed the best I could. If you are doing something for the team, you are doing it for the team. It’s that simple. I never had any issues with him.
How do drivers deal with their position as de facto second drivers like Sergio Perez in case of Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas in case of Lewis Hamilton?
They just need to do the best job they can, you just have to stick with it. Bottas has beaten Hamilton, now more often than before. But Verstappen is on another level with his speed. But if you are number 2 against these two guys it’s not very much to be negative about. And no one in F1 currently has the capacity to beat these two guys regularly. Hamilton is getting older and somewhat losing his pace, but as I said earlier. He is a hardcore professional. And on the other hand Verstappen is currently beating everyone with his pure pace.
How successfully is F1 reaching out to new audiences with shows like Netflix’s Drive to Survive and Channel 4’s coverage?
In my opinion, Formula 1 has done an excellent job with Drive to Survive on Netflix. I travel across Europe, the US and other countries a lot. Wherever I go people keep talking to me about Netflix and Formula 1. Formula 1’s new owners are really into marketing and they have done an amazing job to attract new audiences. They still have a lot of issues to deal with, I will give him 10 on 10 on Marketing.
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