2001 Australian Grand Prix
|Race 1 of 17 in the 2001 Formula One season|
|Date||4 March 2001|
|Official name||LXVI Qantas Australian Grand Prix|
|Location||Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit
|Course||Permanent racing facility
5.303 km (3.30 mi)
|Distance||58 laps, 307.574 km (191.12 mi)|
|Time||1:28.214 on lap 30|
The 2001 Australian Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held on 4 March 2001 at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit. It was the 66th running of the Australian Grand Prix and the first race of the 2001 Formula One season. The race was won by German driver Michael Schumacher driving a Ferrari F2001, but the race was marred by the death of track marshal Graham Beveridge during the race. This was the last trackside death in Formula One until the 2013 Canadian Grand Prix.
Despite rolling his car during a practice session, Michael Schumacher led the race from pole. Rubens Barrichello, Schumacher's team mate, got off to a poor start, dropping from second to fifth by the first corner. Whilst attempting to regain position Barrichello tried to pass Heinz-Harald Frentzen's Jordan, knocking Frentzen into a spin. Mika Häkkinen had second at this point.
The newcomer Enrique Bernoldi, racing for Arrows, retired on lap three after colliding with the wall out of the first corner. A lap later, Jacques Villeneuve's BAR ran into the back of Ralf Schumacher's Williams at high speed whilst Schumacher was braking into turn three. The collision launched Villeneuve's car into the air toward the track-side concrete barriers, shedding wheels and bodywork as it cart-wheeled along the wall to a halt deep in the gravel trap. Ralf Schumacher spun into the same gravel trap after bottoming across the track and kerbs, with a missing rear wing and apparently compromised rear-left suspension, incapable of rejoining the race.
Track marshal Graham Beveridge was fatally injured when he was struck by a fast-moving wheel from Villeneuve's car that had passed through a gap in the safety fence. The race was not halted, but the safety car was rapidly deployed and was out for 10 laps whilst medics attended to Beveridge. He was moved to the hospital, where he was declared dead.
After the restart Schumacher led away again from Häkkinen and Barrichello, though Häkkinen's race was to end on lap 25 when his front-right suspension broke under braking and he spun off into a tyre barrier. Michael Schumacher continued to pull away at the front, whilst David Coulthard rapidly passed Barrichello (who would later mention that he suffered from handling problems during the race). Schumacher led until the finish, crossing the line ahead of Coulthard and Barrichello. Schumacher was delighted at first, unaware of the death of the marshal. The top three drivers were informed of this before stepping out onto the podium, and all three stood in sombre mood. No champagne was sprayed as a sign of respect to Beveridge and his family.
Nick Heidfeld finished fourth for Sauber, scoring his first points in Formula One, and his new team mate Kimi Räikkönen finished sixth in his debut race, only his 24th race in a motor car. Olivier Panis and Jos Verstappen were penalised 25 seconds for overtaking under yellow flags. (Panis finished 4th "on the road" and Verstappen 9th)
- 1.^ Tarso Marques set a time outside 107%, but was allowed to race.
Standings after the race
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
2000 Malaysian Grand Prix
|FIA Formula One World Championship
2001 Malaysian Grand Prix
2000 Australian Grand Prix
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2002 Australian Grand Prix