2002 Australian Grand Prix
|Race 1 of 17 in the 2002 Formula One season|
|Date||3 March 2002|
|Official name||LXVII Foster's Australian Grand Prix|
|Location||Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia|
|Course||Temporary street circuit
5.303 km (3.295 mi)
|Distance||58 laps, 307.574 km (191.12 mi)|
|Weather||Cloudy at start, clearing to sunny skies.|
|Time||1:28.541 on lap 37|
|Second||Juan Pablo Montoya||Williams-BMW|
The 2002 Australian Grand Prix (formally the LXIII Foster's Australian Grand Prix) was a Formula One motor race held on 3 March 2002 at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit. It was the first race of the 2002 Formula One season. The race, contested over 58 laps, was won by Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher after starting from second position. Juan Pablo Montoya finished second in a Williams with Kimi Räikkönen third for the McLaren team.
The Grand Prix was contested by eleven teams, each of two drivers. The teams, also known as constructors, were Ferrari, McLaren, Williams, Sauber, Jordan, BAR, Renault, Jaguar, Arrows, Minardi and Toyota.
Heading into the new season, several teams opted to keep the same line-up as they had in 2001, however some teams changed drivers for 2002. One of the main driver changes involved Sauber driver Kimi Räikkönen, who signed for McLaren for the 2002 season, replacing Mika Häkkinen who opted to take a sabbatical. Defending Drivers' Champion Michael Schumacher stayed at Ferrari after his title-winning campaign, with the German driver again being joined by Rubens Barrichello. As in 2001, eleven teams took to the grid for the start of the new season.
Practice and qualifying
Four practice sessons were held before the race; two one hour sessions held on Friday and two 45 minute sessions on Saturday. The Friday sessions were held in damp and wet conditions with scattered sunshine. Michael Schumacher, the reigning champion, set the session's fastest lap with a time of 1:28.804, three-tenths of a second faster than Barrichello. Giancarlo Fisichella was two and a half second off Barrichello's pace, followed by Ralf Schumacher, Felipe Massa and Pedro de la Rosa. In the second practice session, Michael Schumacher set the quickest lap of the day, a 1:27.276; Barrichello finished with the second-fastest time. The Williams drivers were running quicker—Ralf Schumacher in third and Juan Pablo Montoya in fourth—with the team's Senior Operations Engineer, Sam Michael, admitting that the wet conditions affected their running plan.
Saturday's weather was again damp and wet, where grip was poor and many drivers were forced to use the run-off areas after sliding off the track. The session was disrupted by an accident involving Jordan driver Takuma Sato, which resulted in a suspension as marshals cleared the track of debris.
Saturday's afternoon qualifying session lasted for an hour. During this session, the 107% rule was in effect, which necessitated each driver set a time within 107% of the quickest lap to qualify for the race. Each driver was limited to twelve laps. Barrichello achieved his first pole position of the season, his first in Melbourne, with a time of 1:25.843. He was joined on the front row by Michael Schumacher who was five thousands of a second slower.
The race was won by defending World Champion Michael Schumacher for Ferrari, becoming just the eighth driver to win the event three times since it was first held in 1928. Schumacher was also the first to achieve all three wins during the Formula One World Championship era. Williams driver Juan Pablo Montoya finished 18 seconds behind in second position while McLaren driver Kimi Räikkönen came home in third place and was the only other driver apart from Montoya, not to be lapped by Schumacher. The race was heavy on attrition, with eight cars eliminated in a multi-car pile-up at the first corner. Williams driver Ralf Schumacher ran into the back of polesitter Rubens Barrichello in the Ferrari. In the ensuing chaos Giancarlo Fisichella, Sauber pair Felipe Massa and Nick Heidfeld, Jenson Button, Olivier Panis and Allan McNish retired. Both Arrows were disqualified for disparate reasons. Heinz-Harald Frentzen was disqualified for leaving pit lane under a red light and Enrique Bernoldi was disqualified for changing to the team's spare car after the race had started. With six other cars retiring during the course of the race there were barely enough cars to fill the points positions.
Eddie Irvine's Jaguar took fourth position while the late race battle for fifth captured the spectating crowd's attention. Mark Webber, the first Australian to start his home race since David Brabham eight years previously, drove his Minardi to fifth position, Minardi's first points in some years. The car was wounded, missing top gear and Mika Salo closing fast. With only a lap to go Salo spun trying to pass Webber. After the race, he celebrated with an enthusiasm more than equal to winner Schumacher. Webber and Australian team boss Paul Stoddart were given their own podium celebration and Michael Schumacher's champagne bottle after the top three had left.
For some just qualifying for the race was dramatic. Takuma Sato in the Jordan was unable to set a time in the early part of the session when it was dry. Eventually he did manage to get some track time, but by then it was raining heavily. Because of this "exceptional circumstance", the FIA stewards allowed him to race although an electrical failure stopped him after twelve laps.
Alex Yoong in the Minardi and Pedro de la Rosa in the Jaguar were the only other finishers.
107% Qualifying Time: 1:31.852
|2||6||Juan Pablo Montoya||Williams-BMW||58||+18.628||6||6|
|4||16||Eddie Irvine||Jaguar-Cosworth||57||+1 Lap||19||3|
|5||23||Mark Webber||Minardi-Asiatech||56||+2 Laps||18||2|
|6||24||Mika Salo||Toyota||56||+2 Laps||14||1|
|7||22||Alex Yoong||Minardi-Asiatech||55||+3 Laps||21|
|8||17||Pedro de la Rosa||Jaguar-Cosworth||53||+5 Laps||20|
|Ret||11||Jacques Villeneuve||BAR-Honda||27||Rear Wing||13|
Standings after the race
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
- "2002 Entry List". Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile. Archived from the original on 2 February 2002. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
- "Hakkinen takes a break from F1". The Telegraph (Telegraph Media Group). 14 September 2001. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
- "2002 Formula One Sporting Regulations". Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile. 31 October 2001. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
- "Friday First Free Practice - Australian GP". Atlas F1 (Haymarket Publications). 1 March 2002. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
- "Friday's Selected Quotes - Australian GP". Atlas F1 (Haymarket Publications). 1 March 2002. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
- "Saturday First Free Practice - Australian GP". Atlas F1 (Haymarket Publications). 2 March 2002. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
2001 Japanese Grand Prix
|FIA Formula One World Championship
2002 Malaysian Grand Prix
2001 Australian Grand Prix
|Australian Grand Prix||Next race:
2003 Australian Grand Prix