1997 Formula One season

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1997 FIA Formula One World Championship season
Previous: 1996 Next: 1998
Index: Races by country | Races by season

The 1997 Formula One season was the 48th FIA Formula One World Championship season. It commenced on March 9, 1997, and ended on October 26 after seventeen races.

Contents

[edit] Season summary

The season started in Australia, with Canadian Jacques Villeneuve taking his fourth pole position of his F1 career. Villeneuve was out at the first corner after colliding with Johnny Herbert. McLaren's David Coulthard went on to win the race, his second of his career. Michael Schumacher came second and Mika Häkkinen came third.

Coming to Brazil and Villeneuve once again took pole position and once again was off at the first corner, the Canadian recovered from his first corner mistake to take the lead on lap 49 after overtaking Gerhard Berger. The Austrian finished second and Olivier Panis continued his impressive form from 1996 after he came third.

For the third time in a row, Jacques Villeneuve was on pole position for Argentina. It was another off for a championship favourite, this time it was Michael Schumacher who collided with Rubens Barrichello. With Schumacher out, Eddie Irvine went on to challenge Villeneuve for the lead, he made several attempts to pass the Canadian's Williams but failed on all his attempts and had to take second instead. Ralf Schumacher, in his first full season, managed to get onto the podium after he finished third.

Villeneuve continued his run of consecutive pole positions in San Marino. Villeneuve's German team-mate, Frentzen, won his first and only, Grand Prix for Williams after he finished just over a second ahead of Michael Schumacher, with Eddie Irvine coming third.

Frentzen managed to end Villeneuve's run of pole positions in Monaco. For the second time in successive season, the Monaco Grand Prix was raced under very wet conditions. Michael Schumacher won his first race of the season with his future Ferrari team-mate, Rubens Barrichello finishing in second and earning Stewart's first podium finish; Irvine took the final step on the podium for the second time in a row.

Williams continued to dominate the qualifying session, as Villeneuve, for the fifth time this season, took pole and Frentzen made sure Williams occupied both slots on the front row. Villeneuve went onto to win the Grand Prix, with fellow French peaking drivers, Olivier Panis and Jean Alesi, coming second and third respectively.

Canada would be the scene where Williams had there run of consecutive pole positions broken, after Michael Schumacher took pole ahead of both the dominant Williams, Rubens Barichello's Stewart split the two Williams in third place. Schumacher went onto win the Grand Prix, with ex-Ferrari driver Jean Alesi finishing second and Giancarlo Fisichella coming in third. Schumacher earned his second pole of the season in France; he was accompanied by Frentzen on the front row. The two would stay in their respective positions at the end of the race, with Eddie Irvine in third.

Villeneuve earned his sixth pole of the season in Britain, with team-mate Frentzen partnering him on the front row. Villeneuve went onto win the race with Alesi and young Alexander Wurz coming third to make it an all Renault podium. Michael Schumacher failed to complete the race after he retired with a wheel bearing problem.

Gerhard Berger, who didn't compete at the previous Grand Prix because of the illness and the death of his father, managed to get pole position with Giancarlo Fisichella completing the front row. Berger went onto win the Grand Prix, which would ultimately be Benetton's final win. Michael Schumacher came second and Mika Häkkinen came third.

The next race in Hungary would be one of the most memorable races in the 1997 season. As Damon Hill, in an Arrows which hadn't qualified as high as ninth before the Hungarian Grand Prix, qualified up in third place. Michael Schumacher took pole with Villeneuve partnering him on the front row. The start of the race saw Hill overtake Villeneuve's Williams and on lap ten, the Brit overtook Schumacher to take the lead. Hill kept the lead for the final rounds of pit stops, but coming into the finale of the race, Hill reported that his Arrows was having problems, in the end, Jacques Villeneuve took the lead on the final lap of the race and going onto win the race. Williams also earned a 100 Grand Prix win milestone victory that day as well.

After two very exciting Grand Prix, fans were hoping that Belgium would prove to be an exciting one as well. Villeneuve took pole position with Alesi's Benetton completing the front row. Villeneuve dropped down to fifth place, while his championship rival, Michael Schumacher, won the race with Fisichella coming second and Frentzen coming third.

Alesi got his first, and only, pole position of the season in Italy with Frentzen coming second. David Coulthard won the race; his second of the season, pole sitter Alesi came second and Frentzen came third.

Villeneuve managed to get his seventh pole position of the 1997 season, the Canadian was partnered on the front row by Finnish driver, Mika Häkkinen, completing the front row. Villeneuve went onto win the Grand Prix with Coulthard and Frentzen joining him on the podium in second and third respectively.

The next race in Luxembourg would be the final time it would be called the "Luxembourg Grand Prix". Mika Häkkinen, who qualified second at the previous Grand Prix, managed to earn pole at the Nürburgring. Villeneuve; Alesi and Frentzen finished on the podium, making it, for the second time in the 1997 season, an all Renault-powered podium.

Japan saw Villeneuve, for the eighth time that season, take pole position. Villeneuve was disqualified from the race, after failing to slow down under yellow flags during qualifying. He raced under appeal, but finished only fifth. Michael Schumacher won the race, while Frentzen came second and Irvine came third. Villeneuve's Williams team dropped his appeal after the race, leaving Schumacher one point ahead of Villeneuve in the Drivers' championship, meaning that the title would be decided at the season finale in Jerez.

Some commentators recalled the 1994 finale, which saw a title deciding collision between Schumacher and Damon Hill. At Jerez, the qualifying session was noteworthy, as three drivers, Villeneuve, Schumacher, and Frentzen, all registered the same fastest qualifying time, since Villeneuve set the time first he had the liberty of pole position; this would be his final pole of his F1 career. At the start of the race, Schumacher had a good start, overtaking Villeneuve to take the lead. By lap 48 Villeneuve was catching up to Schumacher and attempted to overtake. Braking later than the German at the Dry Sac corner, Villeneuve had the inside line and was slightly ahead when Schumacher turned into him, his front right wheel connecting with the sidepod of the Williams car. Schumacher retired on the spot and Villeneuve went to take third place and earn four points, enough to take the 1997 title. Schumacher was later punished by the FIA for causing an avoidable accident and was disqualified from the Championship, although his race results (grid position, finishing position, points) still counted towards his official statistics.

[edit] Drivers and constructors

The following teams and drivers competed in the 1997 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Entrant Constructor Chassis Engine Tyre No Driver Test driver(s)
Flag of United Kingdom Danka Arrows Yamaha Arrows A18 Yamaha OX11A 3.0 V10 B 1 Flag of United Kingdom Damon Hill Flag of Germany Jörg Müller
2 Flag of Brazil Pedro Diniz
Flag of United Kingdom Rothmans Williams Renault Williams FW19 Renault RS9 3.0 V10 G 3 Flag of Canada Jacques Villeneuve Flag of France Jean-Christophe Boullion
Flag of Colombia Juan Pablo Montoya
4 Flag of Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen
Flag of Italy Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro Ferrari F310B Ferrari 046/2 3.0 V10 G 5 Flag of Germany Michael Schumacher Flag of Italy Gianni Morbidelli
6 Flag of United Kingdom Eddie Irvine
Flag of Italy Mild Seven Benetton Renault Benetton B197 Renault RS9 3.0 V10 G 7 Flag of France Jean Alesi Flag of Austria Alexander Wurz
8 Flag of Austria Gerhard Berger
Flag of Austria Alexander Wurz
Flag of United Kingdom West McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4/12 Mercedes FO110E 3.0 V10 G 9 Flag of Finland Mika Häkkinen n/a
10 Flag of United Kingdom David Coulthard
Flag of Republic of Ireland B&H Total Jordan Peugeot Jordan 197 Peugeot A14 3.0 V10 G 11 Flag of Germany Ralf Schumacher n/a
12 Flag of Italy Giancarlo Fisichella
Flag of France Prost Gauloises Blondes Prost JS45 Mugen-Honda MF-301HB 3.0 V10 B 14 Flag of France Olivier Panis Flag of France Emmanuel Collard
Flag of Italy Jarno Trulli
15 Flag of Japan Shinji Nakano
Flag of Switzerland Red Bull Sauber Petronas Sauber C16 Petronas SPE-01 3.0 V10 G 16 Flag of United Kingdom Johnny Herbert Flag of Argentina Norberto Fontana
17 Flag of Italy Nicola Larini
Flag of Italy Gianni Morbidelli
Flag of Argentina Norberto Fontana
Flag of United Kingdom Tyrrell Tyrrell 025 Ford ED4 3.0 V8
Ford ED5 3.0 V8
G 18 Flag of Netherlands Jos Verstappen n/a
19 Flag of Finland Mika Salo
Flag of Italy Minardi Team Minardi M197 Hart 830 AV7 3.0 V8 B 20 Flag of Japan Ukyo Katayama Flag of Brazil Tarso Marques
21 Flag of Italy Jarno Trulli
Flag of Brazil Tarso Marques
Flag of United Kingdom Stewart Ford Stewart SF01 Ford VJ Zetec-R 3.0 V10 B 22 Flag of Brazil Rubens Barrichello n/a
23 Flag of Denmark Jan Magnussen
Flag of United Kingdom MasterCard Lola Ford Lola T97/30 Ford ECA Zetec-R 3.0 V8 B 24 Flag of Brazil Ricardo Rosset n/a
25 Flag of Italy Vincenzo Sospiri

[edit] Team Changes

Three new teams came into Formula One in 1997: Prost, who replaced Ligier; Stewart and Lola, the latter of which only entered the 1997 Australian Grand Prix after the team's dismal performance in the Grand Prix which saw a lack of sponsorship for the next Grand Prix in Brazil. Footwork changed their name to "Arrows" and switched from the Hart engines used the previous year to Yamaha engines. Tyrrell changed their engines as well, swapping the Yamaha engines in preference to the Ford engines. Jordan-Peugeot signed up highly-rated British engineer, Dr. John Davis. He helped the team with its new windtunnel facility at Brackley, the tunnel itself was funded by Ferrari inexchange for Eddie Irvine who moved to Ferrari the previous year.

[edit] Driver Changes

The biggest news of the 1997 season was Damon Hill, 1996 champion, being dropped by Williams in preference to Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Hill was partnered with Brazilian Pedro Diniz, who's sponsorship money helped pay the World Champion's wages. Japan's Shinji Nakano joined Prost to partner Olivier Panis for the season, Nakano replaced Diniz who went to Arrows. Sauber beat Ferrari to the signing of Nicola Larini, the Italian was linked with the vacant test driver's seat at Ferrari. Benetton and McLaren kept the drivers that raced for them the previous year, Berger and Alesi for Benetton and with Häkkinen and Coulthard for McLaren. Jordan changed their driver line-up for 1997, Ralf Schumacher, Michael's younger brother, was given the team leaders seat, he was rumoured to be partnered with Nigel Mansell, but the 1992 champion rejected the offer. Instead, Jordan went for Giancarlo Fisichella, who had raced for the Alfa Romeo factory team in the International Touring Car Championship the previous year. With Austria signing a new five-year deal to host a Grand Prix, the country needed a new driver to cheer, as Karl Wendlinger was no longer fit to drive a Formula One car and Gerhard Berger planning to retire at the end of the season, Benetton came up with an answer, Alexander Wurz, the young Austrian would become Benetton's test driver. Minardi ran Italian rising star Jarno Trulli alongside Ukyo Katayama for the 1997 season. The announcement filled the final seat in the 1997 Formula 1 World Championship. The decision was made after Minardi released promising Italian Giancarlo Fisichella from his contract so that he could join Jordan. Having signed Ukyo Katayama, and his Mild Seven sponsorship, for one seat, owner Giancarlo Minardi felt that his team needed a young Italian and Trulli was the obvious choice for Minardi. Martin Brundle, who was out of work in F1 since being dropped by Jordan, had been appointed a director of Tom Walkinshaw's Arrows Grand Prix International and was the lead driver of the team's Nissan GT sports car project, as well as become the official ITV commentator alongside Murray Walker.

[edit] Season review

[edit] Grands Prix

Rnd Race Date Location Winning Driver Constructor Report
1 Flag of Australia Australian Grand Prix March 9 Melbourne Flag of United Kingdom David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes Report
2 Flag of Brazil Brazilian Grand Prix March 30 Interlagos Flag of Canada Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Renault Report
3 Flag of Argentina Argentine Grand Prix April 13 Oscar Gálvez Flag of Canada Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Renault Report
4 Flag of San Marino San Marino Grand Prix April 27 Imola Flag of Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen Williams-Renault Report
5 Flag of Monaco Monaco Grand Prix May 11 Monaco Flag of Germany Michael Schumacher Ferrari Report
6 Flag of Spain Spanish Grand Prix May 25 Catalunya Flag of Canada Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Renault Report
7 Flag of Canada Canadian Grand Prix June 15 Circuit Gilles Villeneuve Flag of Germany Michael Schumacher Ferrari Report
8 Flag of France French Grand Prix June 29 Magny-Cours Flag of Germany Michael Schumacher Ferrari Report
9 Flag of United Kingdom British Grand Prix July 13 Silverstone Flag of Canada Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Renault Report
10 Flag of Germany German Grand Prix July 27 Hockenheimring Flag of Austria Gerhard Berger Benetton-Renault Report
11 Flag of Hungary Hungarian Grand Prix August 10 Hungaroring Flag of Canada Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Renault Report
12 Flag of Belgium Belgian Grand Prix August 24 Spa-Francorchamps Flag of Germany Michael Schumacher Ferrari Report
13 Flag of Italy Italian Grand Prix September 7 Monza Flag of United Kingdom David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes Report
14 Flag of Austria Austrian Grand Prix September 21 A1-Ring Flag of Canada Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Renault Report
15 Flag of Luxembourg Luxembourg Grand Prix September 28 Nürburgring Flag of Canada Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Renault Report
16 Flag of Japan Japanese Grand Prix October 12 Suzuka Flag of Germany Michael Schumacher Ferrari Report
17 Flag of European Union European Grand Prix October 26 Jerez Flag of Finland Mika Häkkinen McLaren-Mercedes Report

[edit] 1997 Constructors Championship final standings

Pos Constructor Chassis Engine Tyre Points Wins Podiums Poles
1 Williams-Renault FW19 Renault G 123 8 15 11
2 Ferrari F310B Ferrari G 102 5 13 3
3 Benetton-Renault B197 Renault G 67 1 8 2
4 McLaren-Mercedes MP4-12 Mercedes G 63 3 7 1
5 Jordan-Peugeot 197 Peugeot G 33 3
6 Prost-Mugen-Honda JS45 Mugen-Honda B 21 2
7 Sauber-Petronas C16 Petronas G 16 1
8 Arrows-Yamaha A18 Yamaha B 9 1
9 Stewart-Ford SF01 Ford Zetec-R B 6 1
10 Tyrrell-Ford 025 Ford G 2
11 Minardi-Hart M197 Hart/Ford B
12 MasterCard Lola-Ford T97/30 Ford EC4 B

All engines are V10 apart from Minardi's and Tyrrell's engines.

[edit] 1997 Drivers Championship final standings

Pos Driver AUS Flag of Australia BRA Flag of Brazil ARG Flag of Argentina SMR Flag of San Marino MON Flag of Monaco ESP Flag of Spain CAN Flag of Canada FRA Flag of France GBR Flag of United Kingdom DEU Flag of Germany HUN Flag of Hungary BEL Flag of Belgium ITA Flag of Italy AUT Flag of Austria LUX Flag of Luxembourg JPN Flag of Japan EUR Flag of European Union Points
1 Flag of Canada Villeneuve Ret 1 1 Ret Ret 1 Ret 4 1 Ret 1 5 5 1 1 DSQ 3 81
DSQ Flag of Germany M.Schumacher 2 5 Ret 2 1 4 1 1 Ret 2 4 1 6 6 Ret 1 Ret 78
2 Flag of Germany Frentzen 8 9 Ret 1 Ret 8 4 2 Ret Ret Ret 3 3 3 3 2 6 42
3 Flag of United Kingdom Coulthard 1 10 Ret Ret Ret 6 7 7 4 Ret Ret Ret 1 2 Ret 10 2 36
4 Flag of France Alesi Ret 6 7 5 Ret 3 2 5 2 6 11 8 2 Ret 2 5 13 36
5 Flag of Austria Berger 4 2 6 Ret 9 10 1 8 6 7 10 4 8 4 27
6 Flag of Finland Häkkinen 3 4 5 6 Ret 7 Ret Ret Ret 3 Ret DSQ 9 Ret Ret 4 1 27
7 Flag of United Kingdom Irvine Ret 16 2 3 3 12 Ret 3 Ret Ret 9 10 8 Ret Ret 3 5 24
8 Flag of Italy Fisichella Ret 8 Ret 4 6 9 3 9 7 11 Ret 2 4 4 Ret 7 11 20
9 Flag of France Panis 5 3 Ret 8 4 2 11 6 Ret 7 16
10 Flag of United Kingdom Herbert Ret 7 4 Ret Ret 5 5 8 Ret Ret 3 4 Ret 8 7 6 8 15
11 Flag of Germany R.Schumacher Ret Ret 3 Ret Ret Ret Ret 6 5 5 5 Ret Ret 5 Ret 9 Ret 13
12 Flag of United Kingdom Hill DNS 17 Ret Ret Ret Ret 9 12 6 8 2 13 Ret 7 8 11 Ret 7
13 Flag of Brazil Barrichello Ret Ret Ret Ret 2 Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret 13 14 Ret Ret Ret 6
14 Flag of Austria Wurz Ret Ret 3 4
15 Flag of Italy Trulli 9 12 9 Ret Ret 15 Ret 10 8 4 7 15 10 Ret 3
16 Flag of Brazil Diniz 10 Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret 8 Ret Ret Ret Ret 7 Ret 13 5 12 Ret 2
17 Flag of Finland Salo Ret 13 8 9 5 Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret 13 11 Ret Ret 10 Ret 12 2
18 Flag of Japan Nakano 7 14 Ret Ret Ret Ret 6 Ret 11 7 6 Ret 11 Ret Ret Ret 10 2
19 Flag of Italy Larini 6 11 Ret 7 Ret 1
20 Flag of Denmark Magnussen Ret Ret 10 Ret 7 13 Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret 12 Ret Ret Ret Ret 9 0
21 Flag of Netherlands Verstappen Ret 15 Ret 10 8 11 Ret Ret Ret 10 Ret Ret Ret 12 Ret 13 16 0
22 Flag of Italy Morbidelli 14 10 Ret 9 12 9 9 Ret 0
23 Flag of Argentina Fontana Ret 9 9 14 0
24 Flag of Japan Katayama Ret 18 Ret 11 10 Ret Ret 11 Ret Ret 10 14 Ret 11 Ret Ret 17 0
25 Flag of Brazil Marques Ret 10 Ret 12 Ret 14 EXC Ret Ret 15 0
Pos Driver AUS Flag of Australia BRA Flag of Brazil ARG Flag of Argentina SMR Flag of San Marino MON Flag of Monaco ESP Flag of Spain CAN Flag of Canada FRA Flag of France GBR Flag of United Kingdom DEU Flag of Germany HUN Flag of Hungary BEL Flag of Belgium ITA Flag of Italy AUT Flag of Austria LUX Flag of Luxembourg JPN Flag of Japan EUR Flag of European Union Points
Colour Result
Gold Winner
Silver 2nd place
Bronze 3rd place
Green Finished, in points
Blue Finished, no points
Purple Did not finish (Ret)
Red Did not qualify (DNQ)
Black Disqualified (DSQ)
White Did not start (DNS)
Blank Did not participate
Injured (INJ)
Excluded (EX)
  • Michael Schumacher was disqualified due to dangerous driving in the European GP, where he caused an avoidable collision with Villeneuve. Thus, he was excluded from the championship standings
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