Irvine: “Schumacher will be number one”

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

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  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%.

    • Scribe said on 4th January 2010, 22:52

      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.

      • Bigbadderboom said on 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.

      • Patrickl said on 6th January 2010, 13:42

        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. Macca said on 4th January 2010, 12:03

    I totaly agree with Irvine.

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

  5. Brada said on 4th January 2010, 12:16

    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. Ned Flanders said on 4th January 2010, 12:17

    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…

    • thestig84 said on 4th January 2010, 12:42

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

      • Ned Flanders said on 4th January 2010, 13:05

        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

    • 33turismo said on 4th January 2010, 14:16

      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!!!!

    • 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. Icthyes said on 4th January 2010, 12:33

    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. steph90 said on 4th January 2010, 12:47

    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. Ninad said on 4th January 2010, 12:49

    Remind us that that Michael is team player.

  10. Invisiblekid said on 4th January 2010, 13:04

    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.

    • luigismen said on 4th January 2010, 15:56

      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

      • 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. adaptalis said on 4th January 2010, 14:31

    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. wasiF1 said on 4th January 2010, 14:34

    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 ).

    • his_majesty said on 4th January 2010, 17:11

      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.

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