The 2002 French Grand Prix, otherwise known officially as the LXXXVIII Mobil 1 Grand Prix de France, was the eleventh round of the 2002 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours in Magny-Cours, France, on 21 July 2002. The race would see Michael Schumacher claim victory and his fifth World Championship title, matching the record set by Juan Manuel Fangio for most F1 crowns.
Schumacher would have to fight for his record achievement, however, having been beaten to pole position in qualifying by Juan Pablo Montoya. Behind, Rubens Barrichello shared the second row with Kimi Räikkönen, while Ralf Schumacher and David Coulthard completed the third row.
The start saw Montoya ease into an early lead ahead of the German ace, while Räikkönen claimed third as Barrichello was unable to start due to an electrical failure. The rest of the field would also largely get away in grid order, with Jenson Button moving into sixth as a result of Barrichello's demise.
Montoya and Michael Schumacher quickly pulled with Räikkönen stalking them in the early stages, with the #1 Ferrari all over the back of the #6 Williams-BMW. However, Magny-Cours had gained an ominous reputation for being a circuit that made overtaking difficult at best, and hence there was no way through for Schumacher in the clearly faster car.
The race therefore became a battle of strategy, with Montoya the first top stop on lap 23. Schumacher had two laps in clear air, albeit with Räikkönen still a threat, before making his stop, only to cross the white line while exiting the pits, handing himself a drive-through penalty despite emerging ahead of Montoya.
Räikkönen led for a lap before making his stop, with Coulthard duly inheriting the lead until he made his stop. Schumacher hence assumed the lead before serving his penalty, returning the lead to Montoya, although the Colombian racer's pace had collapsed on his second set of Michelin tyres.
Indeed, Montoya was steadily caught by Räikkönen, who duly flashed past the Williams prior to making his second stop. Coulthard then had brief stint in the lead before making his second stop, with the order eventually resolving itself into Räikkönen leading from Schumacher and Coulthard, with Montoya still struggling after his second stop.
With just five laps to go it seemed as if Räikkönen was on for his maiden F1 victory, only for Allan McNish to inadvertently decide both the race and the Championship. Indeed, the Scot would suffer an engine failure in the back of his Toyota and dump oil through the second corner, with Räikkönen the first on the scene.
The Finn suffered a half-spin and slid wide, allowing Schumacher to eliminate the rest of the gap between them. The German ace duly eased ahead as Räikkönen rallied back onto the circuit, with the Ferrari full ahead as they braked for Adelaide.
With that the race was run, with Schumacher keeping Räikkönen at bay to claim victory and the Championship, becoming the first driver to win the F1 Championship in July. Behind, Coulthard had a lonely run to complete the podium ahead of Montoya and Ralf Schumacher, while Button claimed the final point amid news he was to be replaced at Renault by Fernando Alonso at the end of the season.
Michael Schumacher moved ever closer to his fifth World Championship title with victory at Silverstone, leaving the British circuit with 86 points to his name. That meant that he held a 54 point advantage at the head of the field, and could feasibly win the title in France, before the end of July. Indeed, Rubens Barrichello, Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher, his closest challengers, were set to be the only ones who could deny the German ace, if they could finish ahead of him in France.
In the Constructors Championship Ferrari had also moved into an almost unassailable lead, leaving Silverstone with 118 points and a 57 point lead. Williams-BMW hence could still entertain a title threat, but now faced an almost four race deficit in terms of points just to get back onto terms with the Scuderia. They did, however, manage to increase their healthy margin over third placed McLaren-Mercedes, while BAR-Honda were off the foot of the table after claiming their first points of the campaign.
The full entry list for the 2002 French Grand Prix is outlined below:
Free Practice 1
Free Practice 2
The full practice results for the 2002 French Grand Prix are outline below:
|6||Juan Pablo Montoya||Williams-BMW||1:15.271||10||1:13.633||6||1:16.755||14|
|16||Eddie Irvine||Jaguar-Ford Cosworth||1:14.983||6||1:14.018||8||1:15.804||8|
|17||Pedro de la Rosa||Jaguar-Ford Cosworth||1:15.179||8||1:14.211||11||1:16.612||13|
The full qualifying results for the 2002 French Grand Prix are outlined below:
|1||6||Juan Pablo Montoya||Williams-BMW||1:11.985||—||212.594 km/h|
|2||1||Michael Schumacher||Ferrari||1:12.008||+0.023s||212.526 km/h|
|3*||2||Rubens Barrichello||Ferrari||1:12.197||+0.212s||211.970 km/h|
|4||4||Kimi Räikkönen||McLaren-Mercedes||1:12.244||+0.259s||211.832 km/h|
|5||5||Ralf Schumacher||Williams-BMW||1:12.424||+0.439s||211.306 km/h|
|6||3||David Coulthard||McLaren-Mercedes||1:12.498||+0.513s||211.090 km/h|
|7||15||Jenson Button||Renault||1:12.761||+0.776s||210.327 km/h|
|8||14||Jarno Trulli||Renault||1:13.030||+1.045s||209.552 km/h|
|9||16||Eddie Irvine||Jaguar-Ford Cosworth||1:13.188||+1.203s||209.100 km/h|
|10||7||Nick Heidfeld||Sauber-Petronas||1:13.370||+1.385s||208.581 km/h|
|11||12||Olivier Panis||BAR-Honda||1:13.457||+1.472s||208.334 km/h|
|12||8||Felipe Massa||Sauber-Petronas||1:13.501||+1.516s||208.209 km/h|
|13||11||Jacques Villeneuve||BAR-Honda||1:13.506||+1.521s||208.195 km/h|
|14||10||Takuma Sato||Jordan-Honda||1:13.542||+1.557s||208.093 km/h|
|15||17||Pedro de la Rosa||Jaguar-Ford Cosworth||1:13.656||+1.671s||207.771 km/h|
|16||24||Mika Salo||Toyota||1:13.837||+1.852s||207.262 km/h|
|17||25||Allan McNish||Toyota||1:13.949||+1.964s||206.948 km/h|
|18||23||Mark Webber||Minardi-Asiatech||1:14.800||+2.815s||204.594 km/h|
|19||22||Alex Yoong||Minardi-Asiatech||1:16.798||+4.813s||199.271 km/h|
|107% Time: 1:17.023|
|DNQ||20||Heinz-Harald Frentzen||Arrows-Ford Cosworth||1:18.497||+6.512s||194.958 km/h|
|DNQ||21||Enrique Bernoldi||Arrows-Ford Cosworth||1:19.843||+7.858s||191.671 km/h|
- 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.
- * Barrichello was unable to start the race due to an electrical failure.
- † Fisichella was withdrawn from the race weekend after an accident during practice.
|2||Juan Pablo Montoya|
|16||Pedro de la Rosa|
- * Barrichello was unable to start the race due to an electrical failure.
The full results for the 2002 French Grand Prix are outlined below:
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.
- * McNish was still classified despite retiring as he had completed 90% of the race distance.
- † Barrichello was unable to start the race due to an electrical failure.
- Michael Schumacher declared as the 2002 FIA Formula One World Championship for Drivers Champion.
- Juan Pablo Montoya claimed the 25th pole position for a BMW engine.
- 61st career victory for Schumacher.
- Schumacher also set a new record for most consecutive point scores - 16.
- Ferrari claimed their 153rd win as a constructor and engine supplier.
Michael Schumacher claimed the 2002 FIA Formula One World Championship in record time after his victory in France, leaving Magny-Cours with 96 points to his credit. That granted him an unassailable 62 point lead over Juan Pablo Montoya in second, the Colombian racer having moved ahead of Rubens Barrichello to claim second. Regardless, Montoya, Barrichello, Ralf Schumacher and David Coulthard were all now set to battle for second, with just four points separating the quartet.
In the Constructors Championship Ferrari left France on the verge of claiming the crown, although they still had a small distance to go. Indeed, the Scuderia left France with 128 points to their name and a 62 point lead, meaning they would claim the crown as early as the Hungarian Grand Prix. Williams-BMW were now left as the only team mathematically capable of making a challenge, although in truth the Anglo-German effort were too far back to seriously challenge.
Only point scoring drivers and constructors are shown.
Images and Videos:
- 'French GP, 2002', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2014), https://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr691.html, (Accessed 19/11/2019)
- 'France 2002: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2002/france/engages.aspx, (Accessed 19/11/2019)
- 'France 2002: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2002/france/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 19/11/2019)
- 'Mobil 1 Grand Prix de France 2002 - QUALIFYING', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2002/races/730/france/qualifying-0.html, (Accessed 19/11/2019)
- 'France 2002: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2002/france/classement.aspx, (Accessed 19/11/2019)
- '11. France 2002', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2002/france.aspx, (Accessed 19/11/2019)
- '2002 French GP', chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2014), http://www.chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=2002&gp=French%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 19/11/2019)
|V T E||French Grand Prix|
|Circuits||Reims (1950–1951, 1953–1954, 1956, 1958–1961, 1963, 1966)
Rouen-Les-Essarts (1952, 1957, 1962, 1964, 1968)
Charade Circuit (1965, 1969–1970, 1972)
Bugatti Circuit (1967)
Circuit Paul Ricard (1971, 1973, 1975–1976, 1978, 1980, 1982–1983, 1985–1990, 2018–2019)
Dijon-Prenois (1974, 1977, 1979, 1981, 1984)
Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours (1991–2008)
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