Giancarlo Fisichella crashed in a Saturday practice session and was recommended by the doctors to sit out the race. A last minute attempt to have Heinz-Harald Frentzen drive in his place fell through due to legal technicalities.
This victory handed Michael Schumacher his 5th World Championship, equalling the record set by Argentinian Juan Manuel Fangio almost 50 years earlier. This is also the earliest that a World Championship has been clinched, with only 11 races of the season completed and 6 remaining.
Räikkönen could have won the race, but whilst going into Adelaide hairpin in the closing stages, he locked up and ran wide after passing through the oil left by McNish's Toyota engine that had just given up on the same place, while Schumacher passed him to win.
Schumacher's pass on Räikkönen was controversial for some time after the Grand Prix, as it was believed that Schumacher had made the pass under yellow flags from McNish's engine blow; this would have meant Schumacher would receive a penalty that would have certainly given Räikkönen the win. The FIA, however, ruled in favour of Schumacher and Ferrari.
Both Arrows-Cosworth cars deliberately failed to qualify for the race due to financial issues. It would prove to be the team's penultimate showing at a Grand Prix weekend.
Juan Pablo Montoya clinched a fifth consecutive pole position, a run stretching back to that year's Monaco Grand Prix; despite this, Montoya failed to win any of the five races. The Colombian driver had previously suffered consecutive retirements at the Monaco, Canadian and European events before finishing third at the British Grand Prix. In total Montoya would start seven races from pole position during the season, but was unable to secure a single victory.