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The 1996 Australian Grand Prix, otherwise officially advertised as the LXI Transurban Australian Grand Prix, was the opening round of the 1996 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit in Melbourne, Australia, on the 10 March 1996.[1] The race, which was staged only four months after the previous Australian Grand Prix, would see Damon Hill claim victory over rookie teammate Jacques Villeneuve.[1]

It had been a very busy four months in between the two races, not just because all of the equipment from the previous Grand Prix had to be shipped from Adelaide via road to the pseudo-purpose built Albert Park Circuit.[1] Indeed, it had been a sustained political campaign by local politicians to take the Grand Prix from Adelaide, and had resulted in a lot of investment and protest to create a new F1 venue.[1]

Furthermore, the F1 paddock had was virtually unrecognisable compared to how it had been in late October, with numerous driver changes.[1] The most high-profile of these would be the move of defending Champion Michael Schumacher from Benetton-Renault to Ferrari, with the Scuderia also hiring Eddie Irvine from Jordan-Peugeot to reignite their F1 programme.[1]

Elsewhere, Williams-Renault had dropped David Coulthard, who found himself a seat at McLaren-Mercedes, and instead hired 1995 CART Champion Jacques Villeneuve to replace Damon Hill.[1] Benetton, meanwhile, would pick up both exiled Ferrari drivers, namely Jean Alesi and Gerhard Berger, while Jordan hired Martin Brundle to replace Irvine.[1]

There were also new rules regarding qualifying, with just one session to determine the grid order, and a new "107% rule" to prevent slower drivers from getting onto the grid.[1] The result was a shock pole position for the debuting Villeneuve ahead of Hill, while Irvine surprisingly beat Schumacher to third.[1]

Villenueve duly aced his maiden F1 start to claim an early lead, while Irvine managed to squeeze Hill into turn one and open the door for both Ferraris to pass the Brit.[1] However, the race would be brought to a spectacular halt as the field poured into turn three, with a red flag thrown as a result of a huge crash.[1]

The cause would be Alesi, who threw his Benetton across the circuit on the run to turn three, causing the rest of the field to slam on the brakes.[1] Coulthard would brake so hard that his car snapped sideways into the path of Johnny Herbert, with his sudden change of direction catching Brundle out.[1] The #12 Jordan duly went sailing over the top of the Sauber-Ford Cosworth, spiralling into the air before slamming down in the gravel in two separate pieces.[1]

Fortunately Brundle was unhurt, and duly went sprinting from the medical car to find F1 doctor Sid Watkins to get permission to take the restart.[1] He was subsequently granted the chance to take the spare Jordan, and duly joined the rest of the field in lining up on the grid for the full race restart.[1]

This time Hill would get away flawlessly, and hence denied the two Ferraris a chance to challenge into the first corner.[1] Irvine went with them but would quickly forfeit third to Schumacher, with the German just managing to keep in touch with the Williams' before his first stop.[1]

Schumacher would be left half a minute behind the Williams on his two-stop strategy, although that would become academic when a brake issue left him on the sidelines.[1] Irvine hence inherited third place in his now battered Ferrari, having received a whack from Alesi after the Frenchman mistimed a lunge.[1]

Out front, meanwhile, it seemed as if Villeneuve would become one of only a handful of drivers to claim victory on their debut, until an oil leak caused his pace to collapse late on.[1] Hill duly swept past to secure the win ahead of the Canadian, while Irvine was a lonely third to complete the podium.[1]

Notably, Hill's fourteenth career victory would leave him level on the all-time winner's list with his father Graham Hill.[1]

BackgroundEdit

Entry listEdit

The full entry list for the 1996 Australian Grand Prix is outlined below:

No. Driver Entrant Constructor Chassis Engine Model Tyre
1 Germany Michael Schumacher Italy Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari F310 Ferrari 046 3.0 V10 G
2 United Kingdom Eddie Irvine Italy Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari F310 Ferrari 046 3.0 V10 G
3 France Jean Alesi United Kingdom Mild Seven Benetton Renault Benetton B196 Renault RS8 3.0 V10 G
4 Austria Gerhard Berger United Kingdom Mild Seven Benetton Renault Benetton B196 Renault RS8 3.0 V10 G
5 United Kingdom Damon Hill United Kingdom Rothmans Williams Renault Williams FW18 Renault RS8 3.0 V10 G
6 Canada Jacques Villeneuve United Kingdom Rothmans Williams Renault Williams FW18 Renault RS8 3.0 V10 G
7 Finland Mika Häkkinen United Kingdom Marlboro McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4/11 Mercedes FO 110D 3.0 V10 G
8 United Kingdom David Coulthard United Kingdom Marlboro McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4/11 Mercedes FO 110D 3.0 V10 G
9 France Olivier Panis France Equipe Ligier Gauloises Blondes Ligier JS43 Mugen-Honda MF301HA 3.0 V10 G
10 Brazil Pedro Diniz France Equipe Ligier Gauloises Blondes Ligier JS43 Mugen-Honda MF301HA 3.0 V10 G
11 Brazil Rubens Barrichello Ireland B&H Total Jordan Peugeot Jordan 196 Peugeot A12 3.0 V10 G
12 United Kingdom Martin Brundle Ireland B&H Total Jordan Peugeot Jordan 196 Peugeot A12 3.0 V10 G
14 United Kingdom Johnny Herbert Switzerland Red Bull Sauber Ford Sauber C15 Ford Cosworth JD Zetec-R 3.0 V8 G
15 Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen Switzerland Red Bull Sauber Ford Sauber C15 Ford Cosworth JD Zetec-R 3.0 V8 G
16 Brazil Ricardo Rosset United Kingdom Footwork Hart Footwork FA17 Hart 830 3.0 V8 G
17 Netherlands Jos Verstappen United Kingdom Footwork Hart Footwork FA17 Hart 830 3.0 V8 G
18 Japan Ukyo Katayama United Kingdom Tyrrell Yamaha Tyrrell 024 Yamaha OX11A 3.0 V10 G
19 Finland Mika Salo United Kingdom Tyrrell Yamaha Tyrrell 024 Yamaha OX11A 3.0 V10 G
20 Portugal Pedro Lamy Italy Minardi F1 Team Minardi M195B Ford Cosworth EDM 3.0 V8 G
21 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Minardi F1 Team Minardi M195B Ford Cosworth EDM 3.0 V8 G
22 Italy Luca Badoer Italy Forti Corse Forti FG01B Ford Cosworth EDD 3.0 V8 G
23 Italy Andrea Montermini Italy Forti Corse Forti FG01B Ford Cosworth EDD 3.0 V8 G
Source:[2]

Practice OverviewEdit

QualifyingEdit

ReportEdit

Qualifying ResultsEdit

The full qualifying results for the 1996 Australian Grand Prix are outlined below:

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Time Gap Ave. Speed
1 6 Canada Jacques Villeneuve United Kingdom Williams-Renault 1:32.371 206.636 km/h
2 5 United Kingdom Damon Hill United Kingdom Williams-Renault 1:32.509 +0.138s 206.328 km/h
3 2 United Kingdom Eddie Irvine Italy Ferrari 1:32.889 +0.518s 205.484 km/h
4 1 Germany Michael Schumacher Italy Ferrari 1:33.125 +0.754s 204.963 km/h
5 7 Finland Mika Häkkinen United Kingdom McLaren-Mercedes 1:34.054 +1.683s 202.939 km/h
6 3 France Jean Alesi United Kingdom Benetton-Renault 1:34.257 +1.886s 202.502 km/h
7 4 Austria Gerhard Berger United Kingdom Benetton-Renault 1:34.344 +1.973s 202.315 km/h
8 11 Brazil Rubens Barrichello Ireland Jordan-Peugeot 1:34.474 +2.103s 202.037 km/h
9 15 Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen Switzerland Sauber-Ford Cosworth 1:34.494 +2.123s 201.994 km/h
10 19 Finland Mika Salo United Kingdom Tyrrell-Yamaha 1:34.832 +2.461s 201.274 km/h
11 9 France Olivier Panis France Ligier-Mugen-Honda 1:35.330 +2.959s 200.222 km/h
12 17 Netherlands Jos Verstappen United Kingdom Footwork-Hart 1:35.338 +2.967s 200.206 km/h
13 8 United Kingdom David Coulthard United Kingdom McLaren-Mercedes 1:35.351 +2.980s 200.178 km/h
14 14 United Kingdom Johnny Herbert Switzerland Sauber-Ford Cosworth 1:35.453 +3.082s 199.964 km/h
15 18 Japan Ukyo Katayama United Kingdom Tyrrell-Yamaha 1:35.715 +3.344s 199.417 km/h
16 21 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Minardi-Ford Cosworth 1:35.898 +3.527s 199.036 km/h
17 20 Portugal Pedro Lamy Italy Minardi-Ford Cosworth 1:36.109 +3.738s 198.600 km/h
18 16 Brazil Ricardo Rosset United Kingdom Footwork-Hart 1:36.198 +3.827s 198.416 km/h
19 12 United Kingdom Martin Brundle Ireland Jordan-Peugeot 1:36.286 +3.915s 198.234 km/h
20 10 Brazil Pedro Diniz France Ligier-Mugen-Honda 1:36.298 +3.927s 198.210 km/h
107% Time: 1:38.837[3]
NC 21 Italy Luca Badoer Italy Forti-Ford Cosworth 1:39.202 +6.831s 192.407 km/h
NC 22 Italy Andrea Montermini Italy Forti-Ford Cosworth 1:42.087 +9.716s 186.970 km/h
Source:[4][3]
  • T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car to set their best time.
  • Bold indicates a driver's best/qualifying time.

GridEdit

Pos Pos
Driver Driver
______________
Row 1 1 ______________
Jacques Villeneuve 2
______________ Damon Hill
Row 2 3 ______________
Eddie Irvine 4
______________ Michael Schumacher
Row 3 5 ______________
Mika Häkkinen 6
______________ Jean Alesi
Row 4 7 ______________
Gerhard Berger 8
______________ Rubens Barrichello
Row 5 9 ______________
Heinz-Harald Frentzen 10
______________ Mika Salo
Row 6 11 ______________
Olivier Panis 12
______________ Jos Verstappen
Row 7 13 ______________
David Coulthard* 14
______________ Johnny Herbert
Row 8 15 ______________
Ukyo Katayama 16
______________ Giancarlo Fisichella
Row 9 17 ______________
Pedro Lamy 18
______________ Ricardo Rosset
Row 10 19 ______________
Martin Brundle 20
______________ Pedro Diniz
  • * Coulthard and Brundle would restart the race from the pitlane.[5]
  • Herbert was unable to take the restart due to Frentzen using the spare car.[5]

RaceEdit

ReportEdit

ResultsEdit

The full results for the 1996 Australian Grand Prix are outlined below:

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 5 United Kingdom Damon Hill United Kingdom Williams-Renault 58 1:32:50.491 2 10
2 6 Canada Jacques Villeneuve United Kingdom Williams-Renault 58 +38.020s 1 6
3 2 United Kingdom Eddie Irvine Italy Ferrari 58 +1:02.571 3 4
4 4 Austria Gerhard Berger United Kingdom Benetton-Renault 58 +1:17.037 7 3
5 7 Finland Mika Häkkinen United Kingdom McLaren-Mercedes 58 +1:35.071 5 2
6 19 Finland Mika Salo United Kingdom Tyrrell-Yamaha 57 +1 Lap 10 1
7 9 France Olivier Panis France Ligier-Mugen-Honda 57 +1 Lap 11
8 15T Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen Switzerland Sauber-Ford Cosworth 57 +1 Lap 9
9 16 Brazil Ricardo Rosset United Kingdom Footwork-Hart 56 +2 Laps 18
10 10 Brazil Pedro Diniz France Ligier-Mugen-Honda 56 +2 Laps 20
11 18 Japan Ukyo Katayama United Kingdom Tyrrell-Yamaha 55 +3 Laps 15
Ret 20 Portugal Pedro Lamy Italy Minardi-Ford Cosworth 42 Belts 17
Ret 1 Germany Michael Schumacher Italy Ferrari 32 Brakes 4
Ret 21 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Minardi-Ford Cosworth 32 Clutch 16
Ret 11 Brazil Rubens Barrichello United Kingdom Jordan-Hart 29 Engine 8
Ret 8T United Kingdom David Coulthard United Kingdom McLaren-Mercedes 24 Throttle 13
Ret 17 Netherlands Jos Verstappen United Kingdom Footwork-Hart 15 Engine 12
Ret 3 France Jean Alesi United Kingdom Benetton-Renault 9 Collision 6
Ret 12T United Kingdom Martin Brundle Ireland Jordan-Peugeot 1 Collision 19
Ret 14 United Kingdom Johnny Herbert Switzerland Sauber-Ford Cosworth 0 Collision 14
DNQ 22 Italy Luca Badoer Italy Forti-Ford Cosworth
DNQ 23 Italy Andrea Montermini Italy Forti-Ford Cosworth
Source:[5]
  • T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.

MilestonesEdit

StandingsEdit

An opening day victory for Damon Hill left the Brit atop the Championship, with no controversial investigations to take away his points. Jacques Villeneuve, meanwhile, would open his maiden F1 campaign in second, with Eddie Irvine in third after his Ferrari debut. Gerhard Berger was next ahead of Mika Häkkinen, while Mika Salo completed the early top-six.

In the Constructors Championship it had been an ominously strong afternoon for Williams-Renault, who left Australia with sixteen points to their name. That left them twelve ahead of Ferrari in second after the opening race, with Benetton-Renault a point further back in third. McLaren-Mercedes and Tyrrell-Yamaha had also got on the board at the opening round.

World Championship for Drivers
Pos. Driver Pts. +/-
1 United Kingdom Damon Hill 10
2 Canada Jacques Villeneuve 6
3 United Kingdom Eddie Irvine 4
4 Austria Gerhard Berger 3
5 Finland Mika Häkkinen 2
6 Finland Mika Salo 1
World Championship for Constructors
Pos. Team Pts. +/-
1 United Kingdom Williams-Renault 16
2 Italy Ferrari 4
3 United Kingdom Benetton-Renault 3
4 United Kingdom McLaren-Mercedes 2
5 United Kingdom Tyrrell-Yamaha 1

Only point scoring drivers and constructors are shown.

ReferencesEdit

Images and Videos:

References:

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 'Australian GP, 1996', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2014), https://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr582.html, (Accessed 12/08/2019)
  2. 'Australia 1996: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1996/australie/engages.aspx, (Accessed 12/08/2019)
  3. 3.0 3.1 'Australia 1996: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1996/australie/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 12/08/2019)
  4. 'Transurban Australian Grand Prix - QUALIFYING', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/1996/races/638/australia/qualifying-0.html, (Accessed 12/08/2019)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 'Australia 1996: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1996/australie/classement.aspx, (Accessed 12/08/2019)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 '1996 Australian GP', chicanef1.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2014), http://www.chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=1996&gp=Australian%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 12/08/2019)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 '1. Australia 1996', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1996/australie.aspx, (Accessed 12/08/2019)
V T E Australia Australian Grand Prix
Circuits Adelaide Street Circuit (1985–1995) • Albert Park Circuit (1996–present)
Albert Park
Races 1985 • 1986 • 1987 • 1988 • 1989 • 1990 • 1991 • 1992 • 1993 • 1994 • 1995 • 1996 • 1997 • 1998 • 1999 • 2000 • 2001 • 2002 • 2003 • 2004 • 2005 • 2006 • 2007 • 2008 • 2009 • 2010 • 2011 • 2012 • 2013 • 2014 • 2015 • 2016 • 2017 • 2018 • 2019
V T E 1996 Formula One Season
Teams Ferrari • Benetton • Williams • McLaren • Ligier • Jordan • Sauber • Footwork • Tyrrell • Minardi • Forti
Engines Ferrari • Ford • Hart • Mercedes • Mugen-Honda • Peugeot • Renault • Yamaha
Drivers M. Schumacher • 2 Irvine • 3 Alesi • 4 Berger • 5 Hill • 6 Villeneuve • 7 Häkkinen • 8 Coulthard • 9 Panis • 10 Diniz • 11 Barrichello • 12 Brundle • 14 Herbert • 15 Frentzen • 16 Rosset • 17 Verstappen • 18 Katayama • 19 Salo • 20 Lamy • 21 Fisichella • 21 Marques • 21 Lavaggi • 22 Badoer • 23 Montermini
Other Drivers Magnussen • Mansell • McNish • Prost • R. Schumacher • Tuero
Cars Ferrari F310 • Benetton B196 • Williams FW18 • McLaren MP4/11 • Ligier JS43 • Jordan 196 • Sauber C15 • Footwork FA17 • Tyrrell 024 • Minardi 195B • Forti FG01B • Forti FG03
Tyres Goodyear
Races Australia • Brazil • Argentina • Europe • San Marino • Monaco • Spain • Canada • France • Britain • Germany • Hungary • Belgium • Italy • Portugal • Japan
See also 1995 Formula One Season • 1997 Formula One Season • Category
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