The F300 was the car which gave rivals McLaren and their MP4/13 a big challenge during the season. Schumacher won a total of six races, meanwhile Irvine did not win any in his third season with the team.
Ferrari lost out to McLaren in the Constructors' Championship, as McLaren had already became the Constructors' Champions at the Luxembourg Grand Prix. Schumacher lost the title to his rival Mika Häkkinen at the final race of the season in Japan.
The Ferrari F300 was the first design work for Ferrari by Ross Brawn (technical director) and Rory Byrne (chief designer). It was also the first Ferrari car that had its engine and chassis department working under a single roof. The new car was powered by a new Ferrari V10 engine, designed by Paolo Martinelli.
Ross Brawn believed the car would be three seconds slower than its predecessor due to the change in regulations that mandated reduced grip through narrower cars and grooved tyres.
The car began its testing before Christmas 1997, however its first serious tests came in January 1998. It was evident that the car was having serious reliability concerns with the gearbox. The electronic gearbox was proving unreliable in that it would continually select the neutral gear. Michael Schumacher conducted the car's first days of testing at Fiorano, however when he had to fly to a promotional event in South Africa, Nicola Larini took over the testing duties of the car.
Larini had been replaced as test driver by Luca Badoer, however as the younger Badoer did not have any experience in the electronics of the gearbox, Larini was given the responsibility of testing duties. He completed a weekend of testing before the car was sent to the Circuit de Catalunya for the first major test of the year. The test proved disastrous, Schumacher managed only eight laps as the gearbox continued to work havoc.
The test was then cut short as Schumacher had to attend promotional events in Hamburg and then the Marlboro ski event at the Madonna di Campiglio. Despite its reliability problems, Schumacher commented "I like it very much. It is amusing to drive."
In February, the problems with the car were identified in that the rear of the car was overheating the electronic systems of the car. Ferrari therefore had to make the radical decision to redesign the rear of the F300 and accommodate it with the 1997 suspension. Commenting on the changes, Jean Todt noted "fitting the old suspension system will penalize us a little on aerodynamic performance, but we are working on a new overall aerodynamic package for Melbourne."
|1998||Argentine Grand Prix||Michael Schumacher|
|Canadian Grand Prix|
|French Grand Prix|
|British Grand Prix|
|Hungarian Grand Prix|
|Italian Grand Prix|
|V T E||Scuderia Ferrari|
5. Sebastian Vettel · 16. Charles Leclerc
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