The 1998 Formula One Season was the 49th season of the Drivers' World Championship and the 40th season of the Constructors' Championship. It began on the March 8 in Australia and ended on the November 1 in Japan.

Mika Häkkinen was crowned the 1998 World Drivers' Champion after intense battles with rival Michael Schumacher.

Teams and Drivers[edit | edit source]

Constructor Chassis Tyre No. Driver Rounds Test/Reserve Drivers
Team Engine
Williams-Mecachrome FW20 G 1 Canada Jacques Villeneuve All Colombia Juan Pablo Montoya (official test driver)
Brazil Max Wilson (official test driver)
Brazil Aluizio Coelho (prize test)
Finland Tommi Makinen (Winfield PR Test)
Australia Mick Doohan (Winfield PR Test}
United Kingdom Winfield Williams Mecachrome GC37-01 2 Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen All
Ferrari F300 G 3 Germany Michael Schumacher All Italy Luca Badoer (official test driver)
Italy Nicola Larini (pre-season test driver)
Italy Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro Ferrari 047 4 United Kingdom Eddie Irvine All
Benetton-Playlife B198 B 5 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella All Netherlands Jos Verstappen (official test driver)
Denmark Jason Watt (one-off test)
Denmark Jan Magnussen (one-off test)
Italy Mild Seven Benetton Playlife Playlife GC37-01 6 Austria Alexander Wurz All
McLaren-Mercedes MP4-13 B 7 United Kingdom David Coulthard All Brazil Ricardo Zonta (official test driver)
Germany Nick Heidfeld (official test driver)
United Kingdom West McLaren Mercedes Mercedes F0110G 8 Finland Mika Häkkinen All
Jordan-Mugen-Honda 198 G 9 United Kingdom Damon Hill All Spain Pedro de la Rosa (official test driver)
Japan Juichi Wakisaka (official test driver)
United Kingdom Andrew Gilbert-Scott (Top Gear demonstration)
Ireland Benson & Hedges Jordan Mugen-Honda MF-301 HC 10 Germany Ralf Schumacher All
Prost-Peugeot AP01 B 11 France Olivier Panis All n/a
France Gauloises Prost Peugeot Peugeot A16 12 Italy Jarno Trulli All
Sauber-Petronas C17 G 14 France Jean Alesi All Germany Jörg Müller (official test driver)
Switzerland Red Bull Sauber Petronas Petronas SPE-01D 15 United Kingdom Johnny Herbert All
Arrows A19 B 16 Brazil Pedro Diniz All France Emmanuel Collard (official test driver)
South Africa Stephen Watson (official test driver)
United Kingdom Danka Zepter Arrows Arrows T2-F1 17 Finland Mika Salo All
Stewart-Ford SF02 B 18 Brazil Rubens Barrichello All Brazil Mario Haberfeld (occasional tester)
United Kingdom HSBC Stewart Ford Ford VJ Zetec-R 19 Denmark Jan Magnussen 1-7
19 Netherlands Jos Verstappen 8-16
Tyrrell-Ford 026 G 20 Brazil Ricardo Rosset All France Jean-Christophe Boullion (official test driver)
Denmark Tom Kristensen (evaluation test)
United Kingdom Tyrrell Ford JD Zetec-R 21 Japan Toranosuke Takagi All
Minardi-Ford M198 B 22 Japan Shinji Nakano All France Laurent Rédon (official test driver)
Netherlands Donny Crevels (invitational test)
Italy Fondmetal Minardi Team Ford JD Zetec-R 23 Argentina Esteban Tuero All

Driver Changes[edit | edit source]

Exiting Formula One from 1997[edit | edit source]

  • Despite receiving a contract offer from Sauber for 1998, 1997 Benetton driver Gerhard Berger opted to retire for Formula One after a fourteen year career in the sport. Berger cited his dislike for new regulations in 1998 which included grooved tyres as the main reason for his retirement.
  • Sauber's temporary replacement for Gianni Morbidelli in 1997, Norberto Fontana was not retained for 1998. Fontana came close to signing for Tyrrell in 1998 but lost out to Ricardo Rosset due to a lack of sponsership money. Fontana went on to compete in the Japanese Formula Nippon series for 1998.
  • 1997 Minardi driver Ukyo Katayama retired from Formula One at the end of 1997 after six years in the sport. Tarso Marques, whilst in the running to retain his Minardi seat for 1998 was replaced by Shinji Nakano. Marques would go on to take a sabbatical from racing for 1998.
  • 1997 Sauber driver, Gianni Morbidelli, was forced to retire from Formula One at the end of 1997. Morbidelli's two testing accidents saw severe injuries to his left arm which meant he was no longer able to compete competitively in Formula One. For 1998, Morbidelli moved into the British Touring Car Championship.
  • Despite wanting to be retained by Tyrrell for 1998, Jos Verstappen was dropped by new owners, British American Tobacco in favour of pay driver Ricardo Rosset. This decision prompted team principal Ken Tyrrell to quit the team before the start of the season. Verstappen became the Benetton test driver for 1998 before making his return with Stewart at the French Grand Prix.

Debutants for 1998[edit | edit source]

  • Japanese driver Toranosuke Takagi made his Formula One debut with the Tyrrell team for 1998. Takagi had served as the team's test driver for 1997 and after impressive performances he was promoted to the race seat for 1998. 1997 had seen Takagi compete in the Porsche Supercup and Formula Nippon, where he had taken one race win and four pole positions.
  • Argentine driver Esteban Tuero would make his debut at Minardi for 1998. At only 19 years of age, Tuero would become the third youngest driver at the time to start a Formula One race. Tuero's results in Formula Nippon in 1997 as well as his work as a Minardi test driver, impressed Minardi sufficiently to be offered a race drive for 1998.

Moved seats for 1998[edit | edit source]

  • After being dropped by Benetton, Jean Alesi signed to join the Sauber team for the 1998 season. Alesi had also been discussing a potential drive with Jordan. 
  • Giancarlo Fisichella moved from Jordan to Benetton for 1998. His move to Benetton saw a legal dispute between Benetton and Jordan which saw Benetton have to pay Jordan $2.4 million to buy Fisichella out of his Jordan contract for 1998.
  • After suffering a miserable season at Arrows in 1997, 1996 world champion Damon Hill signed to join the Jordan team for 1998. Hill had settled to join Jordan after negotiations with McLaren failed. Hill was also discussing potential drives with Sauber and Prost. 
  • After being replaced at Prost in 1997, by his then teammate Jarno Trulli who had substituted for the injured Olivier PanisShinji Nakano was forced to look to the back of the grid if he was to stay in F1 for 1998. Despite being offered a testing role by Williams, Nakano preferred to continue racing in 1998 and signed for the backmarker Minardi team.
  • After entering only one event in 1997 with the Lola team before its premature demise, Ricardo Rosset had signed to join the Tyrrell team for 1998. Britsh American Tobacco signed Rosset purely for his sponsership money, a move that angered team principal Ken Tyrrell who would have preferred to have kept 1997 driver Jos Verstappen. Tyrrell quit the team shortly after Rosset's annoucement as race driver.
  • After three unsuccessful years at Tyrrell, Mika Salo quit the team to join the Arrows team for 1998. Salo believed Arrows had a better chance of demonstrating his potential than at the failing Tyrrell team. 
  • Benetton's 1997 test driver and replacement for Gerhard Berger in three of the 1997 races, Alexander Wurz had impressed the team with his performances enough to be promoted to race driver for 1998. 

Mid-Season Changes[edit | edit source]

  • After a disappointing run of results in the early half of the year, Stewart driver Jan Magnussen was replaced by Benetton test driver and out of work race driver Jos Verstappen from the French Grand Prix onwards. Magnussen had secured a single point in his final race at Canada, however it was not enough to convince Stewart to replace him, who had been lining Verstappen up as a replacement from as early as the San Marino Grand Prix. 

Team Changes[edit | edit source]

Calendar[edit | edit source]

Schedule[edit | edit source]

Round Race Title Grand Prix Circuit Date
1 Qantas Australian Grand Prix Australia Australian GP Australia Albert Park, Melbourne March 8
2 Grande Prêmio Marlboro do Brasil Brazil Brazilian GP Brazil Autódromo José Carlos Pace, São Paulo March 29
3 Gran Premio Marlboro Argentina Argentina Argentine GP Argentina Autódromo Oscar Alfredo Gálvez, Buenos Aires April 12
4 San Marino Grand Prix San Marino San Marino GP Italy Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola April 26
5 Gran Premio Marlboro de España Spain Spanish GP Spain Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona May 10
6 Grand Prix de Monaco Monaco Monaco GP Monaco Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo May 24
7 Grand Prix du Canada Canada Canadian GP Canada Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal June 7
8 Mobil 1 Grand Prix de France France French GP France Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, Magny-Cours June 28
9 RAC British Grand Prix United Kingdom British GP United Kingdom Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone July 12
10 Grosser Preis von Österreich Austria Austrian GP Austria A1-Ring, Spielberg July 26
11 Grosser Mobil 1 Preis von Deutschland Germany German GP Germany Hockenheimring, Hockenheim August 2
12 Marlboro Magyar Nagydij Hungary Hungarian GP Hungary Hungaroring, Budapest August 16
13 Foster's Belgian Grand Prix Belgium Belgian GP Belgium Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Spa August 30
14 Gran Premio Campari d'Italia Italy Italian GP Italy Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza September 13
15 Großer Warsteiner Preis von Luxemburg Luxembourg Luxembourg GP Germany Nürburgring, Nürburg September 27
16 Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix Japan Japanese GP Japan Suzuka Circuit, Suzuka November 1
V T E Formula One Seasons
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V T E 1998 Formula One Season
Teams Williams • Ferrari • Benetton • McLaren • Jordan • Prost • Sauber • Arrows • Stewart • Tyrrell • Minardi
Engines Arrows • Ferrari • Ford • Mecachrome • Mercedes • Mugen-Honda • Petronas • Peugeot • Playlife
Drivers Villeneuve • 2 Frentzen • 3 M. Schumacher • 4 Irvine • 5 Fisichella • 6 Wurz • 7 Coulthard • 8 Häkkinen • 9 Hill • 10 R. Schumacher • 11 Panis • 12 Trulli • 14 Alesi • 15 Herbert • 16 Diniz • 17 Salo • 18 Barrichello • 19 Magnussen • 19 Verstappen • 20 Rosset • 21 Takagi • 22 Nakano • 23 Tuero
Other Drivers Badoer • De la Rosa • Heidfeld • Kristensen • Montoya • Zonta
Cars McLaren MP4/13 • Ferrari F300 • Williams FW20 • Jordan 198 • Benetton B198 • Sauber C17 • Arrows A19 • Stewart SF02 • Prost AP01 • Minardi M198 • Tyrrell 026
Tyres Goodyear • Bridgestone
Races Australia • Brazil • Argentina • San Marino • Spain • Monaco • Canada • France • Britain • Austria • Germany • Hungary • Belgium • Italy • Luxembourg • Japan
See also 1997 Formula One Season • 1999 Formula One Season • Category
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