Irvine talks down Brawn role in Schuey’s title

Outspoken Formula 1 star Eddie Irvine says Ferrari technical chief Ross Brawn wasn't a significant factor in Michael Schumacher taking the Italian squad's first drivers' world championship in 21 years

Irvine talks down Brawn role in Schuey’s title

Brawn has long been heralded as Ferrari's master tactician and has been credited for many of the wins taken by the Maranello-based team since the 45-year-old British engineer joined at the end of 1996. But Irvine, who was Schumacher's Ferrari team mate for four years, has told The Sun newspaper that it is the triple world champion's speed which has given the Prancing Horse the edge this year, not Brawn's tactics.

"I'm sorry to shatter the illusion that many have," said Irvine, "but he [Brawn] has little to do with Schuey's success. Take Schumacher out of the equation and what would Ferrari have won?

"Schumacher will probably have 10 to 15 kilos more fuel in his tank than his rivals. So when a McLaren pits, Schumacher is able to run for several more laps to open up a lead. That makes Brawn come out looking like some kind of superstar."

Irvine took three wins for Ferrari in 1999, but left to join the Jaguar team at the end of last season. The Ulsterman has scored just four points this year and says the Jaguar squad must raise its game if it is to get on a par with the top teams.

"Ferrari has continually upped its game," he said, "and that is a route Jaguar needs to take if we are going to become serious players. Everyone in the team realises how much effort is needed, but getting it done won't be easy."

Irvine is due to meet with key members of the team later this month to discuss areas where the Milton Keynes-based outfit can improve, most notably aerodynamics.

The 34-year-old also believes McLaren may struggle to get back on top next year now that Ferrari's title drought has ended.

"McLaren will have to come up with a faster machine for next season because I can see Ferrari growing stronger now the burden of winning the world title has been lifted," he said.

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