We take a glance at the career of Eddie Irvine, a British racing driver from Northern Ireland. He was the runner-up in the 1999 Formula 1 World Drivers’ Championship, driving for Ferrari.
He first drove in Formula 1 with the Jordan team in the 1993 season, where he achieved early notoriety for his involvement in incidents during his early career. He clinched his first podium finish in 1995 before moving to Ferrari in 1996.
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After going out of the sport, in 2002, Irvine successfully sued TalkSport Radio for “passing off” his image in a print advertisement, as if he had personally endorsed the station. Eight years later, Irvine fronted a half-hour programme on the station, the LG Grand Prix Show, alongside regular Sunday evening presenter Andy Goldstein.
On 24 July 2003, Irvine was arrested after being caught driving a scooter over 30 mph through Hyde Park without a licence or insurance. He was to be sentenced at Bow Street Magistrates but Irvine did not attend. An arrest warrant with bail was issued.
Irvine played himself in the 2004 comedy The Prince and Me, which starred Julia Stiles. He was the executive producer of a film about Paddy Mayne. In late 2006 he launched a new television programme on the Sky One channel, with two teams of celebrity racing drivers competing against each other. David Coulthard was the captain of the girls’ team, and Irvine coached the boys. Ultimately, despite some impressive performances by both teams, Irvine’s team won by some margin.
In May 2005, Irvine was rumoured to be heading a consortium to buy the Jordan team and stated his interest in running the team. He was later linked to a possible sale of the Minardi team and held talks with team principal Paul Stoddart.
He was a millionaire through property investment before even reaching Formula 1. Outside of the sport, Irvine is said to have built up a multi-million-pound property portfolio, owning around forty properties throughout the world. According to the Sunday Times Rich List, published in April 2006, Irvine was the fifth richest person in Northern Ireland at that time, having increased his personal fortune to approximately £160 million. He is also the owner of Eddie Irvine Sports, a snooker, pool, kart racing, paintballing, and football facility in Bangor, close to his native Conlig.
In May 2006, it was announced that Irvine would be one of the celebrities taking part in ITV’s Soccer Aid. In aid of UNICEF, this television show featured an England vs the rest of the world football match, with teams made up of a mix of celebrities and ex-professionals. Unfortunately, he had to pull out because of a leg injury.
In January 2014, Irvine was sentenced to six months in prison after being found guilty of “mutual injury” following a brawl in a night club in Milan, Italy with Gabriele Moratti, son of the former mayor of Milan Letizia Moratti.