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Eddie Irvine gets six months for Italian nightclub brawl
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Posted By: James Allen  |  09 Jan 2014   |  4:42 pm GMT  |  66 comments

Former Ferrari and Jaguar driver Eddie Irvine has been sentenced to six months by a judge in Italy for his part in a nightclub brawl.

The case stretches back to December 2008 when Irvine, 48, got into a dispute with the son of a prominent figure in Milan, which led to a brawl in the Hollywood nightclub in Milan. The dispute related to a text message sent by Irvine to an ex girlfriend of Gabriele Moratti, whose mother was once Mayor of Milan.

Neither man is expected to actually serve the jail sentence, as it has been appealed and that is likely to take the case into 2015; beyond the statute of limitations, according to commentators covering the case.

Irvine raced in F1 between 1993 and 2002, participating in 145 Grands Prix and winning four times. He was team mate to Michael Schumacher at Ferrari from 1996 to 1999 and almost won the 1999 world championship. He was leading the points table going into the final round against Mika Hakkinen, but lost the title at Suzuka. Since retiring he has built up a substantial business empire, encompassing property and paper businesses.

Ironically his F1 career began with a brawl with Ayrton Senna who was incensed that Irvine battled as Senna lapped him. Senna came looking for Irvine after the race and took a swing at him as the Irishman showed little respect for his position.

Also ironically, Irvine’s older sister Sonia is the owner of the F1 night club franchise “Amber Lounge”, which often sees F1 drivers partying with VIP guests and fans after Grands Prix in some of the more exotic locations on the calendar.

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66 Comments
  1. Bart says:

    Poor Eddie…

    James, one thing: Moratti’s mother, Letizia Moratti, and not father, was once Mayor of Milan.
    Bart

  2. Paul D says:

    He’s always been a bit wild, old habits die hard I guess!

    He was a proper personality, never found him especially likeable, but he made the best of the talent he had.

    To be honest I never thought he did much wrong in Suzuka 93, he was always really quick round there. Remember thinking at the time that Senna was a bit over the top in his reaction, but I think Berger had been winding him up about it.

    His business career has been especially impressive.

    1. Jordon191 says:

      There was an in-depth and highly amusing article on the Suzuka ’93 incident recently in Autosport, detailing how Berger mischievously plied Senna with a couple of shots of schnapps after the race, winding him up saying things like, ‘You can’t let some rookie get away with that Aryton, who does he think he is, you’re a 3-time world champion, you’ve got to do something…’ The Jordan team had a good laugh over the incident, even staging a ‘re-creation’ afterwards for the press and absent team members; they had Irvine playing himself getting ‘punched,’ and a female PR person playing Senna….apparently Senna was a much better driver than a boxer…

  3. goferet says:

    Whoa… No wonder Kimi is mates with Irvine ahem, birds of the same feathers flock together Lol…

    Why oh Why, didn’t the likes of Eddie Irvine, James Hunt, Aryton Senna race in this generation for we would have had major action both on and off track for to be honest, it’s not exciting for the fans when rivals are friendly with one another.

    Personally, I do not like it when wrangles make it to the courts for what happens in nightclubs should remain there.

    As for Irvine’s 4 win tally, it’s unfortunate he missed out on Ferrari’s glory years, he definitely would have added to his stats.

    Anyway as the old saying goes, ”all is fair in love and F1”

    P.s.

    I understand it was Domencalli that held back Schumi from knocking Couthards lights out after he shunted him out of Spa 1998.

    1. Neil Barr says:

      If Domenicalli can hold you back nobody’s lights are in danger, especially Cubehead’s.
      Don’t discount what an angry Pastor Maldonado could do. What’s he got to lose?
      And if Adrian Sutil is today’s danger man who’s to say what any of them are capable of?

    2. Wade Parmino says:

      To include Senna with Irvine and Hunt is a disgrace. I think Senna would be insulted to no end. Senna was a passionate race car driver with strong and good values as is Prost, Stewart, Barrichello, etc. On the other hand, Irvine, Hunt, Raikonnen, Hawthorn, Piquet, etc. are playboy lads who, if presented with a one or the other choice would rather cavort on yachts with scantily clad bimbos than drive a race car.

      1. Spectreman says:

        @Wade Parmino

        Senna was a playboy too. The main difference between him and the others you mentioned is that Senna was a hypocrite, who pandered to the crowds and the press, especially the Brazilian ones.

        And BTW, I hate to appeal to authority, I know that can and should in most cases (including this one, perhaps – I try to keep an open mind) be construed as a fallacy, but the thing is, I’ve lived in Brazil all my fourty-something years, so I may know a bit more than most here about Brazilian drivers.

      2. Wade Parmino says:

        No need for derogatory names or backhanded sarcasm.

        Sure, nobody’s perfect but when bad behavior is shamelessly glorified and worn as a badge of honor (which is something I see everyday in my country, Australia), it is a poor reflection on an individual’s character.

        Jackie Stewart and Alain Prost had the right attitude to racing and have the right attitude to life. Not only did these men achieve much in Formula 1, they contributed to the sport in so many other ways and still do. They also set positive examples of what a good man is in general. Since F1 is more than a sport and business (especially to fans) these men are role models who are looked up to so the content of one’s character and how they conduct themselves matters greatly.

        In Australia there is an enormous problem of sports stars setting horrendous examples of off track/field/court behavior. They fail to realize that they have a responsibility to set a positive example whether they like it or not. Unfortunately it seems one example of bad behavior can counteract ten good examples so it is a vitally important issue.

        The fact that Kimi has so many fans due to his attitude and off track exploits rather than his driving demonstrates just how profound an affect a sportsman’s behavior has on fans.

      3. Elie says:

        Who says you cant “cavort on yachts” and be a fantastic driver as well!..They are not mutually exclusive and if you think the guys you mentioned are the only ones who do it- that would be seriously naive. Some people are open and straight forward others are political and secretive.
        George Best was the greatest most talented footballer to come from the British Isles -very hard working on the field yet he was the biggest self confessed womaniser &alchoholic!. Super talents have their demons like anyone- when they live on the edge or the limelight they need to balance this somehow. Its not for us to judge how.
        I doubt very much you will ever be able to separate your bias from reality and comment only on what these incredible talents do on track. If you think what Irvine, Raikkonen and others you mentioned achieved is not credible, then just think of the many hundreds of drivers who fit your image of a driver that have failed to achieve a fraction of their success.

      4. Wade Parmino says:

        Not mutually exclusive? Ridiculous! The way you have written is as if one must be a party animal playboy in order to achieve success. I suppose what Jackie Stewart and Alain Prost achieved was not very successful then. Rubens Barrichello is a more recent positive example of a Formula 1 driver. Massa, Grosjean and Maldonado also appear to be pretty positive current examples.

        I acknowledge that Raikonnen has talent as did Piquet, but since this article on which we are commenting is about the bad behavior of a driver, I think it’s more than reasonable to make comments and express opinions about drivers off-track conduct.

        Many people seem to be fans of Raikonnen more so due to his off-track exploits and personality rather than his driving, so why can’t I NOT be a fan of Raikonnen for this very same reason.

      5. Elie says:

        Whys is it ridiculous?. He won a championship in his Hey day didnt he ?? No Wade many people around the world love Raikkonen because he is a very rare talent, very sharp ,Super fast consistently,honest, straightforward and non political racer. NOT because of what he does or does not do off track. Noone is saying you should be a fan or not comment about off track behaviour !!. What I said is dont confuse the two and dont let bias or prejudice taint your view– something Im sure most people cant do unfortunately!. I loved Prost too- totally different person but for different reasons. Doesnt mean I like Kimi any less.

        Some people like political drivers who beat on the chest and talk crap– he doesnt. In general most people like those who are geniune & this quality shines through with him-something most people find easier to relate to.

        Off track I cant recall Raikkonen ever getting into trouble with the law so its probably not right branding them with the same iron. & like i said you, dont know what other drivers get up to so its rather pointless making assumptions. Just because they smile use all the right words doesnt make them angels – on the contrary Id trust a straight forward bloke first any day.

    3. Tealeaf says:

      To be honest the likes of Irvine, Hunt, Mansell and Montoya would struggle in the current era where drivers are all on top of these ‘soft’ underpowered cars where times are found from tiny fractions and limits are not frightening to drive, just look at Eau Rouge and 130R, they could be flat even with the DRS open while back in the 1000hp turbo and V10 days those were real cars that test the balls of a driver.
      In my opinion even Senna and Prost would struggle against the likes of Alonso and Vettel if they were all to drive in the current era where precision on the limit is key and not just be able to drive on the limit which these days are not hard, even on a simulator these V8′s and post 2009 aero are just too easy but the if you can find a good sim with 80′s turbos or the post 2002 V10′s those beasts require your attention just to keep it on the road.

      1. Shaboopi says:

        You must be joking. Senna and Prost were masters of precision and complete packages. They were able to both reach another level when winning called for it. They would be leading any world championship in any era.

      2. Paul D says:

        Prost would do ok in any era when going flat out was not the optimum approach e.g. conserving tyres, fuel etc

        Reality is though his outright one lap pace was pretty average compared to other champions, especially in the 2nd half of his career.

        In my opinion he’d have really struggled in the 1998 to 2008 flat out ‘mini sprint’ style F1.

      3. Stephen says:

        +1!!!!

      4. Wade Parmino says:

        Prost would absolutely thrive in current F1. Vettel’s domination would pale in comparison.

      5. Elie says:

        Well your wrong for the second time on this subject. Raikkonen raced in both eras at the very top and had no problem adjusting to either. You talk about 130R and Eau Roug and he is probably the greatest at these curcuits and corners- Ever! Great drivers have to be adaptable and the cars get easier to drive Not harder! -leaving the driver time to be precise and faster- All racing drivers have this skill- and if you think the professor Prost was not one of the most accurate/ precise drivers ever you have serious problems. You could measure your pulse on his lap times in 1100hp turbo cars with half the downforce, brakes, and no safety. We can only dream what the like of he and Senna could do in modern cars

  4. Valentino from montreal says:

    Irvine is the best Ferrari teammate Schumacher ever had , he was’nt the fastest but boy was he a team-player !
    Suzuka 1997 , classic gold …I just ordered his book on Amazon and I can’t wait to read it as soon as possible ..

    Here is part of an interview Irvine gave recently to the Belfast Telegraph , December 18th 2013 … :

    “Steven Beacom: Sebastian Vettel is now a four-time World champion, but is he in the same league as fellow German and your old Ferrari team-mate Michael Schumacher, who won seven titles?

    Eddie Irvine: Vettel’s record is amazing, though he has kept the best car pretty much every year which Michael didn’t have. The one thing about Michael was when he won his first two championships he felt ‘this is boring, I’m going to go to Ferrari and re-build Ferrari’ and that was very admirable. He struggled there for four years before he won another championship. Vettel just staying at Red Bull winning trophies is boring. I don’t see what he’s trying to prove. Okay, he’s going to collect a lot of championships, but you know what, who cares? “

    1. Elie says:

      I like Eddie he was a very solid racer and he did push Michael a few times.Also ’99 should have been his.
      You gotta love the Irish for being frank & what he said about Vettel is exactly right.
      Maybe its this bluntness that afflicts our good Irish friends with the irony bug !. : )

      1. Voodoopunk says:

        “You gotta love the Irish for being frank & what he said about Vettel is exactly right.”

        Nope, no one cares what Irvine says…

    2. Tealeaf says:

      Who cares? Well who cares Irvine still shouting from the roof top? And in fact most of Schumacher’s titles have come from the best car, hey come on even the 99 car was pretty good if Irvine nearly won the title in it, boring? Yeah its nice of Eddie to state the british media and Hamilton fan club’s statements over and over but to be honest beating Vettel is one of the main targets of F1 now and that to me is more fascinating than the 4 way title battle in 1999 or 2008′s Massa vs Hamilton when we all knew the best drivers on the grid never had the car to challenge that year, who cares? I’m sure many do even if all they care about is wishing Seb to lose but thats still caring, yeah I’m sure Seb will go to Ferrari but remember it was Alonso who Veto’d Seb’s Ferrari move for 2012-2013 we all know Alonso’s consistency is 2nd to none but not that much better than Vettel’s to overcome the speed advantage Seb holds over him, Alonso knows this due to the fact he can gauge Webber’s speed against Seb and Webber couldn’t cut it but back in the days Webber’s raw speed was actually slightly faster Alonso, I would go as far as saying Webber would be anyone on the current grid in a qualifying battle over a season apart from Seb and maybe Hulkenberg and Hamilton. Going back to Seb joining Ferrari, he will do as soon as Alonso gets fed up with the team or the other way round but in the mean time I look forward to the 2014 season more so than previous years and I’m sure most are, what an opportunity for Mercedes and Ferrari to stop the RBR steamroller!

    3. Spectreman says:

      Couldn’t agree more. Vettel looks like a teenager obsessed with videogame records. Yeah, yeah, he’s the fastest, and probably WILL beat all the records, except for the coolest ones, like wins and titles for different teams, engines, etc. I was gonna add that I hope to be proven wrong, but 4 titles is already too much, he could’ve gone to, say, McLaren or, better yet, Williams. As it is, even a “mere” two-time world champion like Fittipaldi is much more worthy of respect IMO.

    4. bobster says:

      The only year Schumacher didn’t have the best car over the season was ’95 – that year’s Benetton was certainly not as good as the Williams and Schumacher made the difference. In ’94 the Williams was a better car by the end of the season but not OVER the season.

      To be fair, very few drivers win championships in not-so-good cars. In the last few decades there was Schumacher in ’95 and then Prost in ’86 when the Williams drivers took points off of each other. It doesn’t happen very often.

      1. Spectreman says:

        @bobster

        What about Piquet ’81 and ’83?

        And I disagree about ’94, Williams was definitely the best car. The problem was their number one driver, a mad man who believed himself ointed by “God” and who basically killed himself by assuming too many risks. Senna simply coudn’t handle the fact that he was being beaten by a rookie in an inferior car.

      2. Bring back V12's !!! says:

        Spectreman are you really serious or just trying to get a reaction from some people?

      3. Bobster says:

        Can’t agree on ’94. The Williams became a good car, but it wasn’t at the start of the season. The Benetton handled better and the engine was more flexible – consider the race where Schumi hit stuck in 5th and still managed a podium.

        you’re right! If i start a decade i should finish it! 83 reliability cost Prost. A car that doesn’t finish isn’t a good car. ’81 is interesting with Reutemann’s mental (and self-prophecised) didintegration. The Brabham was a good car that year, but the Williams should have prevailed, I think. Close though.

      4. Spectreman says:

        @Bobster

        Thanks for the insightful and polite answer. Perhaps my memory is playing tricks on myself, I’ll try to review the ’94 season, you could very well be right.

        @Bring back V12′s !!!

        Please read my answer right above to Bobster. I’ll let you decide whether the implicit accusation that I’m trolling has any merit to it.

      5. Tealeaf says:

        Spectreman I actually agree with you, I was only a little boy back in 1994 but I enjoyed watching F1 from the late 80′s when I could just begin to walk and talk but the point is even then I could sense Senna’s frustration at the start of 94 when Schumacher was unbelievabily quick, I was asking my Dad back then why that light blue car was so fast and whats happened to the red and white cars, then he said Senna is at Williams now and they’re now blue and white, but at Brazil I think Schumacher broke Senna in a straight fight, to say Bennetton was faster is unfair, ok the car looked easier to drive but then look at his team over the first few races and throughout the year, they could barely hold on in the midfield, Schumi was a freak back then and too much for even Senna it seemed post 1993, remember the Williams was a Newey car and the Renault V10 was the best all rounder on the grid and probably 60-80hp up on the Ford V8 of Bennetton, Senna was past his best at 34 years old and a younger faster driver coming into his prime 10 years his junior beating him was a hard pill to swallow, its inevatable with the passage of time, even Schumacher in his Mercedes days showed a young fast driver in his mid 20′s would be too much for a all time great past their best, same applies for Rossi in Moto GP, or even sportsman like Roger Federer. The point is Schumacher had Senna beat in 1994 in a straight fight and Senna knew it hence his over the limit driving that unfortunately in the end cost him his his great life and shortened his legendary career, we will never know how many titles he would have won because in 1995-1997 Williams had a big car advantage and Senna could well have won 5-6 titles before he retired, we was robbed of a titanic battle between in my opinion 2 of the top 4 drivers ever competing for years, thats why I am still revelling in the current Vettel vs Alonso battle thats spewed out this whole decade so far and will cherish it for the next few years because come on unless there’s a Brawn style domination somewhere then it will be Vettel vs Alonso until Fernando retires, I say all this and now watch Ricciado and Raikkonen give their team mates trouble lol.

  5. ACx says:

    The BBC says the fight was in a club apparently called “Hollywood”. Not sure why his sister and her business has to be dragged through Eddie’s mud by you connecting both to her brother’s violence just to highlight mere “irony”. If his dad owned a cab firm, and Eddie left the fight by cab, would that have to be mentioned too?

  6. Alanis says:

    “Ironically his F1 career began with a brawl” is this ironic? Maybe if his F1 career had ended with a brawl.

    “Also ironically, Irvine’s older sister.. is the owner of the F1 night club..” Ironic? Not really..

    Been listening to Alanis Morissette lately by any chance?
    ;-)

    1. James Allen says:

      “It’s like rain on your wedding day”

      1. Scuderia McLaren says:

        Perfect way to respond James, to all the irony/lack of irony comments. People it is just an article… Build a bridge, get over it.

      2. Elie says:

        ” its like a free ride when you’ve already paid”

      3. James Allen says:

        Who would have thought it figured

      4. Nedder says:

        Hang on, I’ll get me guitar…

  7. ManOnWheels says:

    That factory in Silverstone doesn’t seem to have the best influence on its drivers, it’s the 3rd now. Is it haunted?

    1. Scuderia McLaren says:

      +1

  8. Aaron says:

    So in Italian law if you can drag the legal case out for 7 years they throw the whole thing out? That’s bonkers.

    1. Dave P says:

      Agreed.. I can understand it for cases not yet brought before the courts… but ones that have started??? Everything about the Italian Legal system is bonkers

    2. Sturmovik says:

      Yes, and that is also the fine art of lawyering.

    3. Geoff Norman says:

      If you’re rich enough and can keep paying the lawyers, you can generally see out the statute of limitations. Alternatively, you can delay it to the point when you’re too old to serve any sentence. Ask Berlusconi.

      1. Scuderia McLaren says:

        Bunga Bunga. Lol

        Those words never gets tiring. Like a good, well placed, fart joke.

        ;)

      2. Bart says:

        You can even make custom-tailored laws for yourself!

    4. Daniel m says:

      Have you ever visited Italy?!

      1. Geoff Norman says:

        Not sure who the question was aimed at but (if it was me) – yes, I’ve been spending 5 or 6 months there for each of the last 25 years.

      2. Daniel M says:

        Hi Geoff – my reply was to the original poster Aaron, who seemed surprised that laws in Italy could be a bit bonkers. I’ve visited the country 6 times altogether myself, so whilst not as familiar with life there as you are, my experience was that the country and its people can be rather eccentric – and is all the better for being that way too.

  9. Rich B says:

    he wasn’t a top driver but he was one of the best for entertainment off track.

  10. Sturmovik says:

    Whenever there’s a bar fight there always seems to be a girl involved somewhere.

    1. Ravi says:

      wrong ;) remember sutil, hamilton and the lotus dude …

      1. Snailtrail says:

        What are you trying to say Ravi – there was a guy involved?…not that there’s anything wrong with that…

      2. Scuderia McLaren says:

        There were girls involved too. It was a very macho scene.

      3. Tealeaf says:

        Huh is this a joke? I thought that fight involved Lux’s bird? But its worked out well for Sutil he now has one of the best looking girls in the pit lane and she even helps him finding seats, a nice touch.

  11. Rick says:

    Wasn’t F1′s last brawl when Coulthard grabbed Massa from the neck?

  12. Omniprescient says:

    I thought this site was better than that.

    1. James Clayton says:

      Better than what?

    2. Scuderia McLaren says:

      It’s the off season. Even James has to fill some space. One can only analyse whether a legendary driver was on piste or off piste for so long.

      1. Elie says:

        …I will save it for when hes better.

    3. Alexander Supertramp says:

      It’s an F1 news site and we’re between seasons.. Don’t worry,we’ll be provided with fresh technical info soon again.

    4. jake says:

      There is no racing, we have nothing else to do but gossip. ;-)

  13. Crom says:

    Gotta love Eddie, says what he thinks… His F1 Legends with Steve Rider was fascinating.

  14. Rich C says:

    Who’s the Lady?

    1. Jonas Grumby says:

      It’s Rachel Hunter, she’s still looking pretty good for 44.

  15. David says:

    Personally I feel this belongs more in the gossip section than here. Just my opinion.

    1. luqa says:

      plus 1000%
      Next we will be reading about timing and consistency of bowel movements of the F1 drivers. NOT INTERESTED!

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