Eddie Irvine

Born in Newtownards, Northern Ireland on 10 November 1965, Irvine began driving relatively late, in 1983. He loved bikes but his parents considered them too dangerous so pushed him towards cars. He started out in Formula Ford and won his first race at Brands Hatch in 1984. Three years later he won the Formula Ford Festival and FAC Formula Ford series. That same year he obtained the fastest time in a F3 test organised by Marlboro, which earned him a seat for the following season. He finished the year in fifth place and subsequently moved up to Formula 3000. In 1990, with Jordan, he ended the championship in third place. In 1991 he moved to Japan to race in Formula Nippon. He made his Formula 1 debut with Jordan at the Japanese Grand Prix in 1993 and finished sixth, but his achievement was overshadowed by what happened after the race as Ayrton Senna attacked Irvine, accusing him of unprofessional driving as he unlapped himself. Irvine remained at Jordan until 1995 (getting third place in Canada in 1995), when he was hired by Ferrari, who paid $3 million to buy out his contract with Jordan. Eddie became Michael Schumacher's team-mate for the next three years and very nearly won the F1 championship ahead of the German in 1999. Schumacher broke his leg in a crash at Silverstone's Stowe Corner and Eddie, who had won the opening race in Australia, became team leader and challenged eventual winner Mika Hakkinen for the title until the final race of the season, in Suzuka. In 2000 he joined Jaguar, with whom he secured his final podium finish, at the Monaco Grand Prix in 2001. After retiring from racing in 2002, Irvine became a successful businessman. A veritable globe-trotter, often seen in the company of beautiful women, he has properties in Miami and Milan.