In recent months, former Ferrari, Jordan and Jaguar Formula One driver Eddie Irvine for either legal or shark-related purposes. Not your typical slice of news.
But 15 years ago this month he was in the news for a more conventional reason, when some of the leading contenders faltered around him and Irvine picked up his first career Grand Prix victory in Melbourne.
On a day when both of the erstwhile dominant McLaren-Mercedes, driven by Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard, succumbed to mechanical gremlins and Irvine’s Ferrari teammate Michael Schumacher needed a steering wheel replaced, Irvine capitalized to score a surprise win.
The race featured six different teams in the then-six points paying positions. Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Jordan-Mugen Honda) and Ralf Schumacher (Williams-Supertec) completed the podium. Giancarlo Fisichella (Benetton-Playlife), Rubens Barrichello (Stewart-Ford) and F1 debutante Pedro de la Rosa (Arrows) rounded out the top six finishers.
Things have changed since. Although the unpredictable nature that the 2014 Australian Grand Prix presents this week could potentially see six different teams score points, down to 10th place.
Here’s the TV and NBC Sports Live Extra streaming times for this weekend’s race.
INDIANAPOLIS – Rather than the traditional December unveil, this year’s reveal newest likeness added to the Borg-Warner Trophy came Tuesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.
Takuma Sato got to see the result of the sculpting done by William Behrends and then turned from wax, clay and ceramic into sterling silver on Tuesday evening, as the winner of the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil saw his face revealed on the trophy.
Sato took the No. 26 Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda for Andretti Autosport to the win in thrilling fashion this year over Helio Castroneves, denying the Brazilian his fourth Indianapolis 500 victory in the process. It atoned for his near-miss in 2012, driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the team he’ll return to in 2018.
It’s been a whirlwind last week-plus for Sato, doing the podium interviews at the Japanese Grand Prix, reflecting on his Indianapolis 500 triumph, then sharing the victory spoils with another Japanese pilot in Yoshihide Muroya, who won the Red Bull Air Race World Championship at Indianapolis this weekend.
Photos of Sato’s face on the most unique trophy in sports are below. This post will be updated following tonight’s full unveil. (All photos: Walt Kuhn)