1996 Australian Grand Prix

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Australia  1996 Australian Grand Prix
Race details
Race 1 of 16 in the 1996 Formula One season
Albert Lake Park Street Circuit in Melbourne, Australia.svg
Date 10 March 1996
Location Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia
Course Temporary street circuit
5.302 km (3.308 mi)
Distance 58 laps, 307.516 km (191.383 mi)
Weather Dry
Pole position
Driver Canada Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Renault
Time 1:32.371
Fastest lap
Driver Canada Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Renault
Time 1:33.421 on lap 27
Podium
First United Kingdom Damon Hill Williams-Renault
Second Canada Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Renault
Third United Kingdom Eddie Irvine Ferrari

The 1996 Australian Grand Prix was a Formula One race held on 10 March 1996 at Melbourne. It was the first time this race was held in Melbourne since 1984, taking over from Adelaide as the host of the Australian Grand Prix. It was the first time the Australian World Championship round had been held at the site of a previous Australian Grand Prix venue, albeit on a vastly different circuit, with the surrounds of the Albert Park Lake having played host to the Australian Grand Prix in 1953 and 1958.

Report[edit]

Background[edit]

This was second grand prix in a row held in Australia, the previous race being the conclusion to the 1995 season.

Taki Inoue was scheduled to race for the Minardi team as a pay driver but when no money materialised prior to the race he was replaced by Fisichella.[1] Marlboro had expressed interest in Fisichella running early on.[2]

The race was the first to use the new race-start system, still used in Formula 1 today,[3] replacing the old red to green light system. Under the new system, five red lights would come on at one second intervals, starting after the last driver reached his grid box. There would then be a pre-determined pause, and then the five lights would go off simultaneously.[4] This system was partially designed to try to eliminate some of the problems caused by drivers stalling on the grid, which in the past, had often led to start line crashes.[citation needed]

This was also the first race to have a single qualifying session on Saturday afternoon; the Friday session had been dropped for 1996.

Qualifying[edit]

Jacques Villeneuve, making his début in Formula One, took pole position.

Both Fortis did not make the race due to the new 107% rule for qualifying, which said any car that qualified 107% slower than the pole time (1:38.837 in this race) would be excluded. Incidentally, the team had logged its best result of 7th one race ago at the season-ending 1995 Australian Grand Prix[5]

The measure was introduced to ensure teams were fast enough to race, and not just mobile chicanes.[6]

Race[edit]

It was an all-Williams front row with Damon Hill and debutante Jacques Villeneuve in the blue and white Rothmans cars dominating the race.

On the first lap, Martin Brundle in the gold Benson & Hedges Jordan had a spectacular barrel roll into a sand trap at turn 3 where the car actually broke in two, causing the race to be restarted. Brundle was unhurt.[7] David Coulthard's McLaren and Johnny Herbert's Sauber—both cars Brundle ran into the back of and launched off—were also damaged. Brundle and Coulthard started the restarted race in their backup cars from the pits; Herbert did not take the restart, the spare car being taken by Heinz-Harald Frentzen, whose car had stopped on the warm-up lap with a technical problem.

Brundle later spun off after light contact with Pedro Diniz at the restart.

The race was marked by dominance from Jacques Villeneuve, who led most of the race but had his debutante run marred by an oil leak late in the race. Hill caught and passed Villeneuve, who caked Hill's car with oil leakage.

Damon Hill took his 14th Grand Prix victory, equaling his father Graham Hill's overall number of wins. Hill took back to back Australian victories, the previous race being the last round of 1995, in Adelaide. In the end, the podium was Hill-Villeneuve-Irvine.

Classification[edit]

Qualifying[edit]

Pos No Driver Constructor Time Gap
1 6 Canada Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Renault 1:32.371
2 5 United Kingdom Damon Hill Williams-Renault 1:32.509 +0.138
3 2 United Kingdom Eddie Irvine Ferrari 1:32.889 +0.518
4 1 Germany Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1:33.125 +0.754
5 7 Finland Mika Häkkinen McLaren-Mercedes 1:34.054 +1.683
6 3 France Jean Alesi Benetton-Renault 1:34.257 +1.886
7 4 Austria Gerhard Berger Benetton-Renault 1:34.344 +1.973
8 11 Brazil Rubens Barrichello Jordan-Peugeot 1:34.474 +2.103
9 15 Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber-Ford 1:34.494 +2.123
10 19 Finland Mika Salo Tyrrell-Yamaha 1:34.832 +2.461
11 9 France Olivier Panis Ligier-Mugen-Honda 1:35.330 +2.959
12 17 Netherlands Jos Verstappen Footwork-Hart 1:35.338 +2.967
13 8 United Kingdom David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes 1:35.351 +2.980
14 14 United Kingdom Johnny Herbert Sauber-Ford 1:35.453 +3.082
15 18 Japan Ukyo Katayama Tyrrell-Yamaha 1:35.715 +3.344
16 21 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella Minardi-Ford 1:35.898 +3.527
17 20 Portugal Pedro Lamy Minardi-Ford 1:36.109 +3.738
18 16 Brazil Ricardo Rosset Footwork-Hart 1:36.198 +3.827
19 12 United Kingdom Martin Brundle Jordan-Peugeot 1:36.286 +3.915
20 10 Brazil Pedro Diniz Ligier-Mugen-Honda 1:36.298 +3.927
107% time: 1:38.837
DNQ 22 Italy Luca Badoer Forti-Ford 1:39.202 +6.831
DNQ 23 Italy Andrea Montermini Forti-Ford 1:42.087 +9.716

Race[edit]

Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 5 United Kingdom Damon Hill Williams-Renault 58 1:32:50.4 2 10
2 6 Canada Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Renault 58 +38.020 1 6
3 2 United Kingdom Eddie Irvine Ferrari 58 +1:02.571 3 4
4 4 Austria Gerhard Berger Benetton-Renault 58 +1:17.037 7 3
5 7 Finland Mika Häkkinen McLaren-Mercedes 58 +1:35.071 5 2
6 19 Finland Mika Salo Tyrrell-Yamaha 57 +1 Lap 10 1
7 9 France Olivier Panis Ligier-Mugen-Honda 57 +1 Lap 11  
8 15 Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber-Ford 57 +1 Lap 9  
9 16 Brazil Ricardo Rosset Footwork-Hart 56 +2 Laps 18  
10 10 Brazil Pedro Diniz Ligier-Mugen-Honda 56 +2 Laps 20  
11 18 Japan Ukyo Katayama Tyrrell-Yamaha 55 +3 Laps 15  
Ret 20 Portugal Pedro Lamy Minardi-Ford 42 Safety belt 17  
Ret 1 Germany Michael Schumacher Ferrari 32 Brakes 4  
Ret 21 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella Minardi-Ford 32 Clutch 16  
Ret 11 Brazil Rubens Barrichello Jordan-Peugeot 29 Engine 8  
Ret 8 United Kingdom David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes 24 Throttle 13  
Ret 17 Netherlands Jos Verstappen Footwork-Hart 15 Engine 12  
Ret 3 France Jean Alesi Benetton-Renault 9 Collision 6  
Ret 12 United Kingdom Martin Brundle Jordan-Peugeot 1 Collision 19  
Ret 14 United Kingdom Johnny Herbert Sauber-Ford 0 Collision 14  

Standings after Grand Prix[edit]

  • Bold text indicates who still has a theoretical chance of becoming World Champion.
  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.

References[edit]

Previous race:
1995 Australian Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1996 season
Next race:
1996 Brazilian Grand Prix
Previous race:
1995 Australian Grand Prix
Australian Grand Prix Next race:
1997 Australian Grand Prix
Awards
Preceded by
1995 Australian Grand Prix
Formula One Promotional Trophy
for Race Promoter

1996
Succeeded by
1997 Australian Grand Prix