Ferrari F399

Ferrari F399

by Luca Dal Monte

It is the single-seater with which Ferrari begins to break the drought. After seventeen years, the Maranello team wins its first Constructors’ World Championship title – something that hadn’t happened since 1983. The coveted Drivers’ title slips away due to a track exit at Silverstone, which compromises Michael Schumacher’s pursuit of the world crown. But all the premises to do well in the immediate future are there.

As expected, the F399 is an evolution of the previous car. Same front suspensions, same exhausts, same nose and front configuration. However, the driver’s position inside the cockpit is moved back, a new rear suspension and new shock absorbers are designed. Also, a new shape for the engine air intake. The engine is an evolution of the previous one, a 3-liter 80° V10 generating 790 HP. Further improvements in aerodynamics and significant weight reduction for the car as a whole, shedding about twenty kilograms compared to the F300 it succeeded.

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Michael Schumacher: 1999 was supposed to be his year. Hakkinen and McLaren remained competitive, but Michael and the F399 were in the mix. Until, during the first lap of the British Grand Prix, the brakes betrayed the German, causing him to crash outside Stowe, fracturing his tibia and fibula. Three months off and six missed races. Michael returns in mid-October and finishes second in the Malaysian Grand Prix. Another second-place finish in Japan two weeks later. Despite the long absence, he contributes to Ferrari’s Drivers’ World Championship title.

Eddie Irvine: The unexpected protagonist. With Schumacher out of the picture, Irvine becomes the team leader with a certain unexpected confidence. Ferrari pairs him with the Finn Mika Salo, but it’s Eddie who shines. Thanks to victories in Zeltweg, Hockenheim, and Sepang, he enters the final race leading the world championship standings. The dream fades at Suzuka, and for Eddie, there’s only the honorary title of World Championship runner-up.

Mika Salo: Called in to replace Schumacher, the Finn doesn’t disappoint, landing on the podium twice in Hockenheim and Monza and scoring valuable points that will earn Ferrari the Constructors’ World Championship title at the end of the season.

Our model cars:

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Once again, the project is signed by Rory Byrne with the collaboration of Giorgio Ascanelli, Aldo Costa, and Nikolas Tombazis, under the direction of Ross Brawn. As always, the engine department is led by Paolo Martinelli.

The F399 proves competitive right from the beginning of the season. Despite the Ferrari’s lead driver being forced to skip six races due to the aftermath of the Silverstone incident, the F399 secures six victories in sixteen races, three pole positions, and six fastest laps. Constructors’ World Champion and Drivers’ World Championship runner-up with an unexpected contender.

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