Eddie Irvine has climbed out from under his luxury rock to provide insights during a wide-ranging interview with BBC in which he dipped into The GOAT debate that has been in the spotlight of late.
The Greatest Of All Time (GOAT) debate has raged since Formula 1 began and will continue to do so forever. Among several drivers that would qualify for the accolade, of course the names of Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna are in the running for the distinction of being The GOAT.
Irvine gives the nod to former Ferrari teammate Schumacher, “I think Michael was probably the best ever. I think Senna’s technique was flawed. He was this amazingly talented driver and had an amazing touch, but he had a couple of techniques that weren’t correct and he didn’t look into everything.”
Irvine, who wore a Senna replica helmet before making it into F1, famously clashed with the Brazilian at the 1993 Japanese Grand Prix and thereafter only shared a track on another two occasions before that fateful day at Imola in 1994.
The Irishman joined Ferrari in 1996, teammate to Schumacher at Maranello until the end of 1999 when he departed to join Jaguar and thus missing out on the glory years that followed for the Reds.
Irvine recalled his F1 debut at Suzuka, “I remember at the Japanese Grand Prix, Michael was fastest and I was second fastest, in my first grand prix into the pit lane. Senna was only fourth or fifth.
“Michael practised the pit entry and Senna didn’t, so there’s things that he missed. I’m a huge fan of him but I think Michael would have, well Michael did beat him, when they were racing.”
“Over one lap Senna was an amazing driver, but I think his technique was slightly flawed. I couldn’t have faulted Michael’s technique.”
“Technically, he wasn’t that great but his actual talent with his feet, arms, feel and anticipation were second to none. There were corners I couldn’t do what he was doing. Then he would just copy me in the corners I was quicker than him.”
“I remember Silverstone I was much faster at the last corner and he couldn’t figure out what I was doing. He’d always go through the telemetry and figured it out, then he’d just copy me.”
“So that was the problem for me, he just had and amazing talent which you can’t copy,” reckoned Irvine who quit Formula 1 at the end of 2002.