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Sunday, October 17, 1999 Published at 18:09 GMT 19:09 UK

Ferrari fights disqualifications

Eddie Irvine: Lost first place as well as the drivers' championship

Mika Hakkinen has been installed as provisional world drivers' champion after Eddie Irvine and Michael Schumacher were sensationally thrown out of the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Jonathan Legard: "If they have broken the rules they should be expelled"
Hakkinen, the defending world champion, had finished third in the inaugural Malaysian event in which his McLaren team were comprehensively outclassed by Ferrari.

But Irvine and second-placed team-mate Schumacher were disqualified less than three hours after the race had finished, when the sport's technical delegate announced the Ferrari cars had broken technical regulations.

[ image: Mika Hakkinen: Provisional champion after a controversial decision]
Mika Hakkinen: Provisional champion after a controversial decision
Ferrari confirmed they have appealed against the decision and a hearing should be held before the next race in Japan in two weeks.

The team said that the breach of the regulations did not improve the performance of the car.

Ferrari press officer Claudio Berro acknowledged that the panels might not conform to regulations.

"We need to check the technical situation," he said. "We checked the parts, whether it confirmed to the rules. It is possible the manufacturer does not conform. I don't know. It is too much early to give an explanation."

Jonathan Legard: "Rarely has a champagne moment turned flat so quickly"
Race stewards had summoned Ferrari team manager Jean Todt to a meeting after the technical delegate of the International Automobile Federation (FIA), Jo Bauer, said the cars' bodywork did not comply with regulations.

After the hearing, the following statement was released:

"Having heard the explanation of the competitors' representative and the team's technical director and having heard the explanations of the FIA technical delegate and the team's acceptance that the bodywork did not conform, the stewards decide that neither car complies with Article 3.12.1 of the 1999 FIA FI technical regulations and therefore exclude both cars from the event.

"The competitor's representative is reminded of his right to appeal."

It is a dramatic twist to a race which saw Schumacher, in his comeback from a broken leg, wave through his team-mate with three laps left, to set up what looked like a thrilling climax to the drivers' championship.

But the 10 points that are awarded with victory now give Hakkinen an unassailable lead at the head of the drivers standings before the season-ending race at Suzuka, Japan.

Non compliance

According to Bauer, the deflector panels on the Ferraris' bodywork were deemed to have broken the regulations.

Jonathan Legard: "Schumacher was as good as his word"
In a statement he said: "Following the race car numbers three and four were checked for bodywork conformity.

"When checking the bodywork facing the ground (article 3.12.1) it was noticed that the upper parts of the deflector panels do not lie on either the reference or step planes.

"In my opinion neither car does comply up to 10 millimetres with article 3.12.1 of the 1999 FIA Formula One technical regulations."

Schumacher plays team card

Former world champion Schumacher led the race, after Irvine, from Northern Ireland, pulled in for his second pit stop, but the German let Irvine cruise into first.

[ image: Michael Schumacher: Drove a superb tactical race for Ferrari despite the ruling]
Michael Schumacher: Drove a superb tactical race for Ferrari despite the ruling
Jonny Herbert - who followed up his win in Europe by finishing fourth - was promoted to second.

Hakkinen snatched back third place from Stewart Ford's Herbert with a daring move on the penultimate lap.

Rubens Barrichello was promoted to third after coming fifth, with Heinz-Harald Frentzen moving to fourth.

Team-mate Damon Hill was forced to retire in the penultimate race of his career after being hit on the opening lap while McLaren's David Coulthard quit with a technical problem when lying second.

Revised positions

Result of Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix following the disqualification of the Ferrari team who finished first and second:

Race distance: 56 laps:

1. Mika Hakkinen (Finland) McLaren 1 hour 36 minutes 48.237 seconds
2. Johnny Herbert (Britain) Stewart 1:36:56.032
3. Rubens Barrichello (Brazil) Stewart 1:37:10.790
4. Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Germany) Jordan 1:37:13.378
5. Jean Alesi (France) Sauber 1:37:32.902
6. Alexander Wurz (Austria) Benetton 1:37:39.428
7. Marc Gene (Spain) Minardi 1:37.10.056
8. Alex Zanardi (Italy) Williams 1:37:36.473
9. Giancarlo Fisichella (Italy) Benetton 1:38:14.562

Not classified:

Jacques Villeneuve (Canada) BAR completed 48 laps
Pedro Diniz (Brazil) Sauber 44 laps
Pedro De La Rosa (Spain) Arrows 30 laps
Luca Badoer (Italy) Minardi 15 laps
David Coulthard (Britain) McLaren 14 laps
Ralf Schumacher (Germany) Williams seven laps
Tora Takagi (Japan) Arrows seven laps
Ricardo Zonta (Brazil) BAR six laps
Olivier Panis (France) Prost five laps
Damon Hill (Britain) Jordan retired first lap

Did not start:

Jarno Trulli (Italy) Prost

Disqualified: Eddie Irvine (Britain) Ferrari
Michael Schumacher (Germany) Ferrari

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Irvine's $2m miss

Hakkinen crowned F1 champion

Finn toasts team success

1999 Championship standings

Ferrari dream in tatters

F1's emotional champion

Dreams shattered in Irvine's home village

Grand Prix's favourite son

Mika's glory: Japanese GP in pictures

Top cat Eddie

The best man won

Damon Hill: An F1 career in pictures

Silverstone to stage F1 Easter parade