The 1997 Luxembourg Grand Prix, otherwise officially known as the V Großer Preis von Luxemburg, was the fifteenth round of the 1997 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Nürburgring near Nürburg, Germany, on the 28 September 1997. The race would see Jacques Villeneuve secure victory to claim the lead in the Championship, as former leader Michael Schumacher was taken out at the first corner.
Qualifying had seen the Mercedes engined McLaren of Mika Häkkinen secure pole position, the first for a Mercedes engine since the 1955 Italian Grand Prix. Villeneuve was a close second ahead of his Williams-Renault teammate Heinz-Harald Frentzen, while Schumacher found himself down in fifth behind Giancarlo Fisichella.
The warm-up saw the two McLaren-Mercedes dominate, with Häkkinen almost a second clear of teammate David Coulthard at the head of the field. Home hero Schumacher, meanwhile, was still off the pace of title rival Villeneuve, meaning it was advantage Canada ahead of the race.
The start saw Häkkinen leap into an early lead, while poor starts for Villenueve and Fisichella compressed the field enough that Coulthard was able to streak into second from sixth. Significantly, Schumacher would end up alongside Fisichella as they charged into turn one, with his brother Ralf Schumacher appearing alongside the sister Jordan-Peugeot.
What resulted was a bizarre collision, with Ralf Schumacher squeezing teammate Fisichella, only for contact between the two to flick the #12 car into the air. Ralf's car duly came slamming down on the front of brother Michael's Ferrari, destroying his suspension and his race. Fisichella, meanwhile, would join them in retirement after an unsighted Ukyo Katayama ploughed into his car amid the smoke.
As the two brothers collided the two Williams-Renaults also made contact, with Villeneuve miraculously escaping unharmed while Frentzen knocked his ignition switch. That destroyed his momentum and dumped him back down the field, with the German finally getting back up to speed having dropped to thirteenth.
Out front, meanwhile, Häkkinen would ease clear at the head of the field, dropping teammate Coulthard by almost a second a lap during the early stages. Indeed, Coulthard was instead having to look in his mirrors to track Villeneuve, who had been told of Schumacher's strife and knew he would have to make the best of the German's absence.
Ultimately, however, the order remained static through to the pitstops, with Häkkinen and Villeneuve, on two-stops, sweeping in on the same lap, albeit some ten seconds apart. Coulthard, meanwhile, stayed out for an extra three laps, and a stellar pitstop ensured that the Scot remained ahead of Villeneuve when he rejoined.
With that the race looked to be over, with Häkkinen and Coulthard now easing clear of Villeneuve, who had settled for third. However, on lap 42 the race would be completely turned on its head by two engine failures, the first befalling Coulthard, before Häkkinen's blew apart a few moments later.
That left Villeneuve at the head of the field with a comfortable lead, with the Canadian racer duly cruising across the line to claim victory. Behind, Jean Alesi was surprised to claim second ahead of Frentzen, while Gerhard Berger secured fourth to make it a Renault engined 1-2-3-4.
Incredibly, this would be Villeneuve's final F1 victory, as well as the last for Renault until the 2003 Hungarian Grand Prix.
Another difficult weekend for Michael Schumacher had seen his Championship lead all but eliminated with three rounds to go, leaving Austria with just a point in hand. Jacques Villeneuve had been the man to do the damage, his sixth win of the season moving him onto 67 points, with those two now mathematically the only title pretenders. Behind, Heinz-Harald Frentzen had moved back into third, a point ahead of David Coulthard.
In the Constructors Championship it had been a positive day for Williams-Renault once again, with the Anglo-French alliance moving to the top of the standings. They left Austria with a twelve point lead over former leaders Ferrari, with those two, like their lead drivers, set to duel for the crown among themselves. Behind, Benetton-Renault had lost out to McLaren-Mercedes in the fight for third, although the Italian registered squad still held a nine point advantage over their Anglo-German rivals.
The full entry list for the 1997 Luxembourg Grand Prix is outlined below:
The full qualifying results for the 1997 Luxembourg Grand Prix are outlined below:
|1||9||Mika Häkkinen||McLaren-Mercedes||1:16.602||—||214.068 km/h|
|2||3||Jacques Villeneuve||Williams-Renault||1:16.691||+0.089s||213.819 km/h|
|3||4||Heinz-Harald Frentzen||Williams-Renault||1:16.741||+0.139s||213.680 km/h|
|4||12||Giancarlo Fisichella||Jordan-Peugeot||1:17.289||+0.687s||212.165 km/h|
|5||5||Michael Schumacher||Ferrari||1:17.385||+0.783s||211.902 km/h|
|6||10||David Coulthard||McLaren-Mercedes||1:17.387||+0.785s||211.896 km/h|
|7||8||Gerhard Berger||Benetton-Renault||1:17.587||+0.985s||211.350 km/h|
|8||11||Ralf Schumacher||Jordan-Peugeot||1:17.595||+0.993s||211.328 km/h|
|9||22||Rubens Barrichello||Stewart-Ford Cosworth||1:17.614||+1.012s||211.276 km/h|
|10||7||Jean Alesi||Benetton-Renault||1:17.620||+1.018s||211.260 km/h|
|11||14||Olivier Panis||Prost-Mugen-Honda||1:17.650||+1.048s||211.178 km/h|
|12||23||Jan Magnussen||Stewart-Ford Cosworth||1:17.722||+1.120s||210.983 km/h|
|13||1||Damon Hill||Arrows-Yamaha||1:17.795||+1.193s||210.785 km/h|
|14||6||Eddie Irvine||Ferrari||1:17.855||+1.253s||210.622 km/h|
|15||2||Pedro Diniz||Arrows-Yamaha||1:18.128||+1.526s||209.886 km/h|
|16||16||Johnny Herbert||Sauber-Petronas||1:18.303||+1.701s||209.417 km/h|
|17||15||Shinji Nakano||Prost-Mugen-Honda||1:18.699||+2.097s||208.364 km/h|
|18||21||Tarso Marques||Minardi-Hart||1:19.347||+2.745s||206.662 km/h|
|19||17||Gianni Morbidelli||Sauber-Petronas||1:19.490||+2.888s||206.290 km/h|
|20||19||Mika Salo||Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth||1:19.526||+2.924s||206.197 km/h|
|21||18||Jos Verstappen||Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth||1:19.531||+2.929s||206.184 km/h|
|22||20||Ukyo Katayama||Minardi-Hart||1:20.615||+4.013s||203.411 km/h|
|107% Time: 1:21.964|
- 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.
The full results for the 1997 Luxembourg Grand Prix are outlined below:
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.
- First Luxembourg Grand Prix to be staged as part of the FIA Formula One World Championship.
- Also the fifth Luxembourg Grand Prix to be held in total.
- Fiftieth Grand Prix start for Mika Salo.
- Michael Schumacher entered his 100th Grand Prix.
- Maiden pole position for Mika Häkkinen.
- Eleventh and final victory for Jacques Villeneuve.
- Williams secured their 103rd win as a constructor.
- Heinz-Harald Frentzen secured the 240th podium finish for a Williams chassis.
Victory for Jacques Villeneuve ensured that the Canadian ace left Luxembourg at the head of the Championship hunt, establishing a nine point lead. Michael Schumacher had made way for the Canadian racer, and would likely have to outscore the Canadian racer in Japan to keep his title hopes alive. Behind, Heinz-Harald Frentzen had retained third, although Jean Alesi had closed to within a point of the German racer.
In the Constructors Championship it was advantage Williams-Renault, who needed just a handful of points in Japan to retain their crown. Indeed, Ferrari had slipped 26 points behind at the Nürburgring, meaning they would have to outscore Williams by eleven points in Suzuka if they were to challenge for the title at the season finale. Behind Benetton-Renault had delivered a significant blow in the fight for third, moving eighteen clear of McLaren-Mercedes with two rounds to go.
Only point scoring drivers and constructors are shown.
Images and Videos:
- 'Luxembourg GP, 1997', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2014), https://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr612.html, (Accessed 24/08/2019)
- 'Luxembourg 1997: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1997/autriche/engages.aspx, (Accessed 23/08/2019)
- 'Luxembourg 1997: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1997/luxembourg/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 23/08/2019)
- 'Grosser Preis von Luxemburg 1997 - QUALIFYING', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/1997/races/668/luxembourg/qualifying-0.html, (Accessed 23/08/2019)
- 'Luxembourg 1997: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1997/luxembourg/classement.aspx, (Accessed 23/08/2019)
- '15. Luxembourg 1997', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1997/luxembourg.aspx, (Accessed 24/08/2019)
- '1997 Luxembourg GP', chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2014), http://www.chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=1997&gp=Luxembourg%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 24/08/2019)
|V T E||Luxembourg Grand Prix|
|Races||1997 • 1998|
|v·d·e||Nominate this page for Featured Article|