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The 1997 Australian Grand Prix, otherwise officially known as the LXII Qantas Australian Grand Prix, was the opening round of the 1997 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne, Australia, on the 9 March 1997.[1] The race would see David Coulthard claim an unlikely victory for McLaren-Mercedes, the first for a Mercedes engine since the 1955 Italian Grand Prix.[1]

It had been a busy winter after the conclusion of the 1996 season, with World Champion Damon Hill moving to Arrows-Yamaha having lost his seat at Williams-Renault.[1] His place at Williams was subsequently taken by Heinz-Harald Frentzen, although it was the German's new teammate Jacques Villeneuve who would start the season as favourite.[1]

Elsewhere, two new teams led by two former World Champions entered the fray, with Jackie Stewart and Alain Prost setting up the eponymous teams Stewart and Prost.[1] Both had factory engine deals, Stewart with Ford Cosworth and Prost with Mugen-Honda, and had employed a promising talent to partner a rookie.[1]

A third new team appeared in the form of Lola, although a non-existent development programme saw the bizarrely liveried cars as the major unknowns ahead of the season.[1] There was another unknown in the form of Bridgestone, who were entering F1 for the first time as a full-time tyre supplier, having previously made a couple of appearances in the Japanese Grand Prix in the 1970s.[1]

Into the opening round itself and Villeneuve confirmed his pre-season status as favourite, claiming a dominant pole position by over 1.7 seconds from new teammate Frentzen.[1] Michael Schumacher was best of the rest in third, two seconds shy of the Canadian, with Coulthard lining up in third.[1]

However, Villeneuve's hopes were ruined right at the start of the race, for Eddie Irvine, starting in fifth, would somehow manage to slam into the Williams at the first corner.[1] That ultimately gifted the lead to Frentzen, while Coulthard managed to ease ahead of Schumacher to secure second.[1]

Frentzen, on a two-stop strategy that was intended to keep his car on low fuel, escaped up the road during the early stages, while Coulthard established a small gap over Schumacher.[1] Indeed, the race became rather tepid after the initial chaos of the start, with no significant changes until Frentzen made his first stop.[1]

The German racer would drop to third after his stop on lap eighteen, although he was immediately able to close in on the two ahead.[1] The German racer duly re-took the lead when Coulthard and Schumacher made their only stops mid-race, establishing a 23 second lead over the Scot.[1]

A trip through the pitlane would theoretically cost a driver 22-24 seconds, meaning Frentzen was right on the verge of slipping behind the #10 McLaren.[1] Unfortunately for him a slow stop saw him lose an extra six seconds, dumping him back behind both Coulthard and Schumacher.[1]

With that Frentzen's hopes of a maiden win were over, for while he was able draft easily onto the back of Schumacher, he had no means of overtaking the Ferrari.[1] Furthermore, a sustained period behind the #5 car ultimately resulted in Frentzen's already strained brakes, which duly failed completely within sight of the chequered flag.[1]

Out front, meanwhile, Coulthard was left to claim a startling win for McLaren-Mercedes, the first for the former Champions since the 1993 Australian Grand Prix.[1] Schumacher duly finished second, despite having to make a late splash-and-dash for fuel, while Mika Häkkinen inherited third when Frentzen's brakes had failed.[1]

BackgroundEdit

Entry listEdit

The full entry list for the 1997 Australian Grand Prix is outlined below:

No. Driver Entrant Constructor Chassis Engine Model Tyre
1 United Kingdom Damon Hill United Kingdom Danka Arrows Yamaha Arrows A18 Yamaha OX11A 3.0 V10 B
2 Brazil Pedro Diniz United Kingdom Danka Arrows Yamaha Arrows A18 Yamaha OX11A 3.0 V10 B
3 Canada Jacques Villeneuve United Kingdom Rothmans Williams Renault Williams FW19 Renault RS9 3.0 V10 G
4 Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen United Kingdom Rothmans Williams Renault Williams FW19 Renault RS9 3.0 V10 G
5 Germany Michael Schumacher Italy Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro Ferrari F310B Ferrari 046/2 3.0 V10 G
6 United Kingdom Eddie Irvine Italy Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro Ferrari F310B Ferrari 046/2 3.0 V10 G
7 France Jean Alesi Italy Mild Seven Benetton Renault Benetton B197 Renault RS9 3.0 V10 G
8 Austria Gerhard Berger Italy Mild Seven Benetton Renault Benetton B197 Renault RS9 3.0 V10 G
9 Finland Mika Häkkinen United Kingdom West McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4/12 Mercedes FO 110E 3.0 V10 G
10 United Kingdom David Coulthard United Kingdom West McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4/12 Mercedes FO 110E 3.0 V10 G
11 Germany Ralf Schumacher Ireland B&H Total Jordan Peugeot Jordan 197 Peugeot A14 3.0 V10 G
12 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella Ireland B&H Total Jordan Peugeot Jordan 197 Peugeot A14 3.0 V10 G
14 France Olivier Panis France Prost Gauloises Blondes Prost JS45 Mugen-Honda MF-301HB 3.0 V10 B
15 Japan Shinji Nakano France Prost Gauloises Blondes Prost JS45 Mugen-Honda MF-301HB 3.0 V10 B
16 United Kingdom Johnny Herbert Switzerland Red Bull Sauber Petronas Sauber C16 Petronas SPE-01 3.0 V10 G
17 Italy Nicola Larini Switzerland Red Bull Sauber Petronas Sauber C16 Petronas SPE-01 3.0 V10 G
18 Netherlands Jos Verstappen United Kingdom PIAA Tyrrell Ford Tyrrell 025 Ford Cosworth ED4 3.0 V10 G
19 Finland Mika Salo United Kingdom PIAA Tyrrell Ford Tyrrell 025 Ford Cosworth ED4 3.0 V10 G
20 Japan Ukyo Katayama Italy Minardi Team Minardi M197 Hart 830 AV7 3.0 V10 B
21 Italy Jarno Trulli Italy Minardi Team Minardi M197 Hart 830 AV7 3.0 V10 B
22 Brazil Rubens Barrichello United Kingdom HSBC Malaysia Stewart Ford Stewart SF01 Ford Cosworth VJ Zetec-R 3.0 V10 B
23 Denmark Jan Magnussen United Kingdom HSBC Malaysia Stewart Ford Stewart SF01 Ford Cosworth VJ Zetec-R 3.0 V10 B
24 Italy Vincenzo Sospiri United Kingdom MasterCard Lola F1 Team Lola T97/30 Ford Cosworth ECA Zetec-R 3.0 V10 B
25 Brazil Ricardo Rosset United Kingdom MasterCard Lola F1 Team Lola T97/30 Ford Cosworth ECA Zetec-R 3.0 V10 B
Source:[2]

Practice OverviewEdit

QualifyingEdit

Qualifying ResultsEdit

The full qualifying results for the 1997 Australian Grand Prix are outlined below:

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Time Gap Ave. Speed
1 3 Canada Jacques Villeneuve United Kingdom Williams-Renault 1:29.369 213.577 km/h
2 4 Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen United Kingdom Williams-Renault 1:31.123 +1.754s 209.466 km/h
3 5 Germany Michael Schumacher Italy Ferrari 1:31.472 +2.103s 208.667 km/h
4 10 United Kingdom David Coulthard United Kingdom McLaren-Mercedes 1:31.531 +2.162s 208.533 km/h
5 6 United Kingdom Eddie Irvine Italy Ferrari 1:31.881 +2.512s 207.738 km/h
6 9 Finland Mika Häkkinen United Kingdom McLaren-Mercedes 1:31.971 +2.602s 207.535 km/h
7 16 United Kingdom Johnny Herbert Switzerland Sauber-Petronas 1:32.287 +2.918s 206.824 km/h
8 7 France Jean Alesi Italy Benetton-Renault 1:32.593 +3.224s 206.141 km/h
9 14 France Olivier Panis France Prost-Mugen-Honda 1:32.842 + 3.473s 205.588 km/h
10 8 Austria Gerhard Berger Italy Benetton-Renault 1:32.870 +3.501s 205.526 km/h
11 22 Brazil Rubens Barrichello United Kingdom Stewart-Ford Cosworth 1:33.075 +3.706s 205.073 km/h
12 11 Germany Ralf Schumacher Ireland Jordan-Peugeot 1:33.130 + 3.761s 204.952 km/h
13 17 Italy Nicola Larini Switzerland Sauber-Petronas 1:33.327 +3.958s 204.520 km/h
14 12 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella Ireland Jordan-Peugeot 1:33.552 +4.183s 204.028 km/h
15 20 Japan Ukyo Katayama Italy Minardi-Hart 1:33.798 +4.429s 203.493 km/h
16 15 Japan Shinji Nakano France Prost-Mugen-Honda 1:33.989 +4.620s 203.079 km/h
17 21 Italy Jarno Trulli Italy Minardi-Hart 1:34.120 +4.751s 202.796 km/h
18 19 Finland Mika Salo United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 1:34.229 +4.680s 202.562 km/h
19 23 Denmark Jan Magnussen United Kingdom Stewart-Ford Cosworth 1:34.623 +5.254s 201.718 km/h
20 1 United Kingdom Damon Hill United Kingdom Arrows-Yamaha 1:34.806 +5.437s 201.329 km/h
21 18 Netherlands Jos Verstappen United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 1:34.943 +5.574s 201.039 km/h
107% Time: 1:35.625[3]
NC* 2 Brazil Pedro Diniz United Kingdom Arrows-Yamaha 1:35.972 +6.603s 198.883 km/h
NC 24 Italy Vincenzo Sospiri United Kingdom Lola-Ford Cosworth 1:40.972 +11.603s 189.035 km/h
NC 25 Brazil Ricardo Rosset United Kingdom Lola-Ford Cosworth 1:42.086 +12.717s 186.972 km/h
Source:[4][3]
  • T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car to set their best time in that session.
  • Bold indicates a driver's best/qualifying time.
  • * Diniz was allowed to start despite failing to set a time within 107% of the fastest at the stewards' discretion.[3]

GridEdit

Pos Pos
Driver Driver
______________
Row 1 1 ______________
Jacques Villeneuve 2
______________ Heinz-Harald Frentzen
Row 2 3 ______________
Michael Schumacher 4
______________ David Coulthard
Row 3 5 ______________
Eddie Irvine 6
______________ Mika Häkkinen
Row 4 7 ______________
Johnny Herbert 8
______________ Jean Alesi
Row 5 9 ______________
Olivier Panis 10
______________ Gerhard Berger
Row 6 11 ______________
Rubens Barrichello 12
______________ Ralf Schumacher
Row 7 13 ______________
Nicola Larini 14
______________ Giancarlo Fisichella
Row 8 15 ______________
Ukyo Katayama 16
______________ Shinji Nakano
Row 9 17 ______________
Jarno Trulli 18
______________ Mika Salo
Row 10 19 ______________
Jan Magnussen 20
______________ Damon Hill*
Row 11 21 ______________
Jos Verstappen 22
______________ Pedro Diniz

* Hill was unable to start the race.

RaceEdit

ReportEdit

ResultsEdit

The full results for the 1997 Australian Grand Prix are outlined below:

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 10 United Kingdom David Coulthard United Kingdom McLaren-Mercedes 58 1:30:28.718 4 10
2 5 Germany Michael Schumacher Italy Ferrari 58 +20.046s 3 6
3 9 Finland Mika Häkkinen United Kingdom McLaren-Mercedes 58 +22.177s 6 4
4 8 Austria Gerhard Berger Italy Benetton-Renault 58 +22.841s 10 3
5 14 France Olivier Panis France Prost-Mugen-Honda 58 +1:00.308 9 2
6 17 Italy Nicola Larini Switzerland Sauber-Petronas 58 +1:36.040 13 1
7 15 Japan Shinji Nakano France Prost-Mugen-Honda 56 +2 Laps 16
8* 4 Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen United Kingdom Williams-Renault 55 Brakes 2
9 21 Italy Jarno Trulli Italy Minardi-Hart 55 +3 Laps 17
10 2 Brazil Pedro Diniz United Kingdom Arrows-Yamaha 54 +4 Laps 22
Ret 22 Brazil Rubens Barrichello United Kingdom Stewart-Ford Cosworth 49 Engine 11
Ret 19 Finland Mika Salo United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 42 Engine 18
Ret 23 Denmark Jan Magnussen United Kingdom Stewart-Ford Cosworth 36 Suspension 19
Ret 7 France Jean Alesi Italy Benetton-Renault 34 Out of Fuel 8
Ret 20 Japan Ukyo Katayama Italy Minardi-Hart 32 Electrical 15
Ret 12 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella Ireland Jordan-Peugeot 14 Spun off 14
Ret 18 Netherlands Jos Verstappen United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 2 Spun off 21
Ret 11 Germany Ralf Schumacher Ireland Jordan-Peugeot 1 Gearbox 12
Ret 3 Canada Jacques Villeneuve United Kingdom Williams-Renault 0 Collision 1
Ret 6 United Kingdom Eddie Irvine Italy Ferrari 0 Collision 5
Ret 16 United Kingdom Johnny Herbert Switzerland Sauber-Petronas 0 Collision 7
DNS 1 United Kingdom Damon Hill United Kingdom Arrows-Yamaha
DNQ 24 Italy Vincenzo Sospiri United Kingdom Lola-Ford Cosworth
DNQ 25 Brazil Ricardo Rosset United Kingdom Lola-Ford Cosworth
Source:[5]
  • T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.
  • * Frentzen was still classified despite retiring as he had completed 90% of the race distance.[5]
  • Hill was unable to start the race due to a throttle failure on the formation lap.[5]

MilestonesEdit

StandingsEdit

David Coulthard would start the season as the Championship leader after his second career victory, leaving Australia with a four point lead. Michael Schumacher was in second ahead of Mika Häkkinen, while Gerhard Berger and Olivier Panis completed the first top five of the season. Nicola Larini was the only other scorer.

In the Constructors Championship it was McLaren-Mercedes who left the opening round as the leaders, leaving Melbourne with fourteen points to their name. Ferrari were eight points behind in second, with Benetton-Renault ended the day in third, three behind Ferrari. Prost-Mugen-Honda and Sauber-Petronas were also on the board, while defending Champions Williams-Renault had failed to score.

World Championship for Drivers
Pos. Driver Pts. +/-
1 United Kingdom David Coulthard 10
2 Germany Michael Schumacher 6
3 Finland Mika Häkkinen 4
4 Austria Gerhard Berger 3
5 France Olivier Panis 2
6 Italy Nicola Larini 1
World Championship for Constructors
Pos. Team Pts. +/-
1 United Kingdom McLaren-Mercedes 14
2 Italy Ferrari 6
3 Italy Benetton-Renault 3
4 France Prost-Mugen-Honda 2
5 Switzerland Sauber-Petronas 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 'Australian GP, 1997', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2014), https://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr598.html, (Accessed 17/08/2019)
  2. 'Australia 1997: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1997/australie/engages.aspx, (Accessed 17/08/2019)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 'Australia 1997: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1997/australie/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 17/08/2019)
  4. 'Qantas Australian Grand Prix - QUALIFYING', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), formula1.com/en/results.html/1997/races/654/australia/qualifying-0.html, (Accessed 17/08/2019)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 'Australia 1997: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1997/australie/classement.aspx, (Accessed 12/08/2019)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 '1. Australia 1997', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1997/australie.aspx, (Accessed 17/08/2019)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 '1997 Australian GP', chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2014), http://www.chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=1997&gp=Australian%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 17/08/2019)
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 1997 Formula One Season
Teams Arrows • Williams • Ferrari • Benetton • McLaren • Jordan • Prost • Sauber • Tyrrell • Minardi • Stewart • Lola
Engines Ferrari • Ford • Hart • Mercedes • Mugen-Honda • Petronas • Peugeot • Renault • Yamaha
Drivers Hill • 2 Diniz • 3 Villeneuve • 4 Frentzen • 5 M. Schumacher • 6 Irvine • 7 Alesi • 8 Berger • 8 Wurz • 9 Häkkinen • 10 Coulthard • 11 R. Schumacher • 12 Fisichella • 14 Panis • 14 Trulli • 15 Nakano • 16 Herbert • 17 Larini • 17 Morbidelli • 17 Fontana • 18 Verstappen • 19 Salo • 20 Katayama • 21 Trulli • 21 Marques • 22 Barrichello • 23 Magnussen • 24 Sospiri • 25 Rosset
Other Drivers Badoer • Brundle • Montermini • Montoya • Takagi • Tuero
Cars Williams FW19 • Ferrari F310B • Benetton B197 • McLaren MP4/12 • Jordan 197 • Prost JS45 • Sauber C16 • Arrows A18 • Stewart SF01 • Tyrrell 025 • Minardi M197 • Lola T97/30
Tyres Goodyear • Bridgestone
Races Australia • Brazil • Argentina • San Marino • Monaco • Spain • Canada • France • Britain • Germany • Hungary • Belgium • Italy • Austria • Luxembourg • Japan • Europe
See also 1996 Formula One Season • 1998 Formula One Season • Category
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