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Tuesday, September 14, 1999 Published at 22:03 GMT 23:03 UK

Irvine confirms Jaguar move

Irvine: Will lead rebranded team in 2000

Eddie Irvine is leaving Ferrari to race for the Jaguar Formula One team next season.

Jaguar team boss Jackie Stewart: "I think he's going to do well"
The widely-predicted move, and the team's expected name change from Stewart-Ford, were confirmed at the Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany.

"I'm overjoyed. I've been waiting for this opportunity for the past two years," said the 33-year-old Northern Irishman, who has signed a three-year deal.

[ image: Irvine has been frustrated with secondary role at Ferrari]
Irvine has been frustrated with secondary role at Ferrari
He will be the team's lead driver after successfully taking over leadership at Ferrari for the second half of the 1999 season following Michael Schumacher breaking his leg.

Irvine is joint leader of the world championship with Finland's Mika Hakkinen.

Jaguar Racing said Irvine would be partnered by compatriot Johnny Herbert, who currently drives for Stewart.

"I think Eddie Irvine has come of age," said team chairman Jackie Stewart in the statement.

"He has matured during the 1999 season and has driven some exceptional races. Eddie is very adept at setting up a car."

Stewart continues at re-named team

Stewart, who founded the team, will continue as chairman and chief executive of Jaguar Racing.

Jaguar chairman Dr Wolfgang Reitzle gave details of the change in the team's name.

"Jaguar has a long and distinguished record in motor sport," he said.

"We've won Le Mans seven times and have twice been world sports car champions. The next logical move is Formula One.

"Jackie is a legend in motor racing and I'm delighted that he'll remain with the team. His invaluable experience will be of enormous benefit to Jaguar Racing."

Stewart added: "When Ford bought the Stewart-Ford team, I always hoped that Jaguar would become involved in the Formula One programme.

"I have a great fondness for the company and I look forward to helping Jaguar Racing achieve its very clear ambitions in Formula One."

Driver switch

Irvine's move confirms his swap with Brazil's Rubens Barrichello, who moves from Stewart-Ford to Ferrari for 2000.

The Brazilian has promised to ensure a good final three races for Stewart name.

"I must still think about the contract with Stewart-Ford and I want to finish the season very well," he told a newspaper in his homeland.

"I intend to guarantee my team's fifth-placed finish in the Constructor's Championship."

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1999 Championship standings

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