Irvine and Herbert to drive for Jaguar Next Season
On the day it announced its arrival in Formula One, Jaguar Racing also confirmed that Eddie Irvine will join the team for the 2000 season.
Irvine has reached agreement on a three-year deal. In confirming his signing, 34-year-old Irvine said: "I'm overjoyed. I've been waiting for this opportunity for the past two years. I'm lucky to be involved in such a fantastic project. Through my experience in the re-building of Ferrari, I believe I can make a significant contribution to Jaguar Racing."
Jaguar Racing also confirmed that Irvine will partner Johnny Herbert for the 2000 season. Herbert, 35, is driving for the Stewart-Ford team in 1999.
Welcoming Irvine to the team, Dr. Wolfgang Reitzle, the Chairman of Jaguar, and the Group Vice-President of Ford Motor Company's Premier Automotive Group, said: "In signing Eddie, we have secured the services of a dynamic driver for Jaguar's exciting new Formula One Programme. Eddie has proven with Ferrari this year that he is a winner and we are delighted to have a driver of his calibre in the team.
"There will be a number of changes next year and the experience of Eddie and Johnny will enable us to implement those changes while at the same time accelerate our rate of competitiveness. Eddie and Johnny will be a formidable combination."
Jackie Stewart, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Jaguar Racing, added: "I think Eddie Irvine has come of age. He has matured during the 1999 season and has driven some exceptional races. Eddie is very adept at setting up a car. He will be a valuable asset to the team.
"Johnny is already part of the 'family' and we are pleased to have him with us for another year. It has been pleasing to see him move closer to Rubens in the latter half of 1999 and we anticipate him running consistently closer to the front of the grid next season."
Irvine joins from Ferrari where he is enjoying his most successful season in Formula One.
Born in Newtonards, Northern Ireland, Irvine began his motor racing career in the Irish and British Formula Ford series in 1983. He graduated to the British Formula Three Championship in 1988 finishing fifth overall.
In 1989 he joined Pacific Racing's International Formula 3000 team. The following year he joined Eddie Jordan Racing and finished third in the International Formula 3000 Championship. He drove in the Japanese Formula 3000 Championship from 1991-1993 finishing second in his final year.
In his first Formula One race, the 1993 Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka with the Jordan team, he finished sixth, joining Jean Alesi as the only two drivers back then, to score points on their Formula One debuts (a feat later achieved by Jacques Villeneuve as well).
He spent 1994 and 1995 with Jordan before joining Ferrari for the 1996 season. In 1998 he finished fourth in the World Drivers' Championship, his highest place to date.
The 1999 season has been his most successful to date with victories in the Australian, Austrian and German Grands Prix and second places in Monaco and Great Britain. Going into the 1999 Italian Grand Prix at Monza on 12 September, he held second place in the World Drivers' Championship.