Irvine: “Schumacher will be number one”

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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.