2003 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Brazil  2003 Brazilian Grand Prix
Race details
Race 3 of 16 in the 2003 Formula One season
Autódromo José Carlos Pace (AKA Interlagos) track map.svg
Date April 6, 2003
Official name XXXII Grande Prêmio do Brasil
Location Autódromo José Carlos Pace
São Paulo, Brazil
Course Permanent Racing Facility
4.309 km (2.667 mi)
Distance 54 laps, 232.686 km (144.558 mi)
Scheduled Distance 71 laps, 305.939 km (189.357 mi)
Weather Rainy
20 °C (68 °F)[1]
Pole position
Driver Brazil Rubens Barrichello Ferrari
Time 1:13.807
Fastest lap
Driver Brazil Rubens Barrichello Ferrari
Time 1:22.032 on lap 46
Podium
First Italy Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan-Ford
Second Finland Kimi Räikkönen McLaren-Mercedes
Third Spain Fernando Alonso
NOTE: The podium ceremony featured Räikkönen in 1st place, Fisichella in 2nd and no-one in 3rd, as Alonso was receiving medical attention at the time. The FIA later reversed 1st and 2nd place.
Renault

The 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix was a Formula One race held on April 6, 2003 at Autódromo José Carlos Pace (Interlagos). This was the 700th World Championship event.

The Grand Prix was a controversial race decided by a court case, and when the final result was announced, it emerged that none of the drivers was standing on the correct steps of the podium, as the 1st and 2nd place drivers were in each other's position, while 3rd place Fernando Alonso was receiving medical attention at the time of the ceremony. The race was eventually won by Giancarlo Fisichella of Jordan, demoting McLaren driver Kimi Räikkönen, the initial winner, to second place. The race, which was the Jordan team's final victory, was on the team's 200th Grand Prix.[2]

Race summary[edit]

Due to a 2003 regulation change aimed at cutting costs, teams were only allowed to bring one wet-weather tyre compound to the race. All the teams on Bridgestone tyres had only brought an intermediate tyre, and this was deemed unsuitable for the torrential conditions. The start was delayed by ten minutes and race was started under the safety car and due to several accidents caused by the wet weather, the safety car deployed several times throughout the race.

Originally scheduled for 71 laps, the race saw several storm fronts make their way across the circuit, leaving the track with very little grip. Even when the rest of the track was relatively dry, the third corner remained extremely wet. Numerous drivers, including defending world champion Michael Schumacher, spun off the track at this point and nearly collided with the stalled Jaguar of Antônio Pizzonia (who himself made slight contact with the stalled Williams of Juan Pablo Montoya) and a nearby crane. In lap 26, the reigning World Champion spun off while taking the 'S' Senna turn. It was Schumacher's first race retirement since the 2001 German Grand Prix. There were also several accidents, as drivers fought the weather as well as each other. Mark Webber (Jaguar) was the only driver to spin out at this corner and recover to continue racing—Webber's later crash contributed to the race being stopped early.

Several teams adopted a pit strategy whereby they filled their cars with fuel early in the race, attempting to save enough fuel under the safety car to avoid having to stop again. This was successful for Giancarlo Fisichella, whose Jordan went from last in the field after an early pit stop to an eventual first place after the race was prematurely stopped. Fisichella admitted after the race he would have been unlikely to complete the race on that fuel load had the race continued to its full distance. "Honestly, it was on the limit", he later said after being asked about his strategy. Fisichella nearly had an accident when team-mate Ralph Firman suffered a suspension failure while running immediately behind him; Firman's car missed Fisichella and crashed into Olivier Panis.[3]

Rubens Barrichello secured pole position, but lost the lead following the start. Barrichello put in a consistent performance to re-pass Coulthard during the race. Barrichello then set several fastest laps and lead the race by twenty seconds. On lap 47 Barrichello's Ferrari slowed and stopped, due to a fuel system fault. After Barrichello's car stopped, he watched the remainder of the race from a marshal's post.

After race leader David Coulthard was called for a pit-stop, his team-mate Kimi Räikkönen led the race on the 53rd lap, but a mistake allowed Giancarlo Fisichella to assume the lead on lap 54. Near the end of his 54th lap, Mark Webber crashed while exiting the final corner, bringing out the safety car. Fernando Alonso failed to slow for the waved yellow flags, and hit one of Webber's tyres at full speed on the 55th lap; his Renault crashed into a tyre wall protecting a guardrail, the impact damaging the barrier and sending car tyres across the circuit, effectively blocking the track and making continuation of the race, even behind the safety car, impossible. The race was subsequently red flagged, ending the race immediately for safety concerns.

At the lap of the red flag being shown, there was confusion over whether the result should be taken from the order on lap 53 or lap 54. Ordinarily, this would be relatively academic, but with Fisichella taking the lead on lap 54, the decision was critical, and needed to be decided in order for the podium ceremony to take place. The circumstances of the race conclusion meant he would not necessarily win the race according to FIA rules. The circumstances also meant the post-race ceremonies were marked by considerable confusion on the part of the race stewards, organisers, the teams and drivers. Fisichella believed that he had won; he and his team boss, Eddie Jordan were shown initially celebrating victory before being informed that Räikkönen and McLaren were being awarded the win. Amidst all this, Fisichella's car caught fire in the pit lane, adding to the confusion. Under Formula One regulations in place at the time, article 154 stated that, if 75% of the race distance had been completed—in this case 54 completed laps, 76% of race distance—it was "deemed to have finished when the leading car crossed the line at the end of the lap two laps prior to that lap during which the signal to stop was given". The stewards, believing that Fisichella was on his 55th lap and had completed the 54 laps required for a full result, awarded the victory to the race leader at the end of the 53rd lap, namely Räikkönen. Fisichella was awarded second place and Alonso third. Coulthard, who had been leading shortly before the race was stopped, dropped to fourth place after pitting, just ahead of Frentzen, the only driver not to pit.

Post-race[edit]

Several days after the race, the official scoring evidence showed that Fisichella had just started his 56th lap before the red flag signal was given; this meant that the race results should not have been determined as of the end of the 53rd lap, but the end of the 54th lap, at which point Fisichella was leading.

Oral arguments and timing evidence were presented to an FIA court in Paris, which, on April 11, awarded victory to Fisichella. It was his first Formula One win and the last for the Jordan team. McLaren declined to file a protest. Since Alonso had been unable to take his place on the podium due to injury, it thus emerged that the Brazilian podium ceremony had proceeded without any step occupied by the correct driver.

An unofficial ceremony was held during the next race weekend at Imola, where Räikkönen and Ron Dennis handed over the winning driver's and constructor's trophies to Fisichella and Eddie Jordan.

Had Räikkönen been able to retain the win, he would have finished level on points with Michael Schumacher in the final standings, however Schumacher would have taken the overall title based on the countback of races won throughout the season.

Qualifying[edit]

Pos No Driver Constructor Q1 Time Q2 Time Gap
1 2 Brazil Rubens Barrichello Ferrari 1:23.249 1:13.807
2 5 United Kingdom David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes 1:24.655 1:13.818 +0.011
3 14 Australia Mark Webber Jaguar-Cosworth 1:23.111 1:13.851 +0.044
4 6 Finland Kimi Räikkönen McLaren-Mercedes 1:24.607 1:13.866 +0.059
5 7 Italy Jarno Trulli Renault 1:26.557 1:13.953 +0.146
6 4 Germany Ralf Schumacher Williams-BMW 1:26.709 1:14.124 +0.317
7 1 Germany Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1:25.585 1:14.130 +0.323
8 11 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan-Ford 1:26.726 1:14.191 +0.384
9 3 Colombia Juan Pablo Montoya Williams-BMW 1:27.961 1:14.223 +0.416
10 8 Spain Fernando Alonso Renault 1:26.203 1:14.384 +0.577
11 17 United Kingdom Jenson Button BAR-Honda no time 1:14.504 +0.697
12 9 Germany Nick Heidfeld Sauber-Petronas 1:27.111 1:14.631 +0.824
13 16 Canada Jacques Villeneuve BAR-Honda 1:25.672 1:14.668 +0.861
14 10 Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber-Petronas 1:26.375 1:14.839 +1.032
15 20 France Olivier Panis Toyota F1 1:25.614 1:14.839 +1.032
16 12 Republic of Ireland Ralph Firman Jordan-Ford 1:28.083 1:15.240 +1.433
17 15 Brazil Antônio Pizzonia Jaguar-Cosworth 1:25.764 1:15.317 +1.510
18 21 Brazil Cristiano da Matta Toyota F1 1:26.554 1:15.641 +1.834
19 19 Netherlands Jos Verstappen Minardi-Cosworth 1:26.886 1:16.542 +2.735
20 18 United Kingdom Justin Wilson Minardi-Cosworth 1:28.317 1:16.586 +2.779

Classification[edit]

Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 11 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan-Ford 54 1:31:18.2 8 10
2 6 Finland Kimi Räikkönen McLaren-Mercedes 54 +0.945 4 8
3 8 Spain Fernando Alonso Renault 54 +6.348/Accident 10 6
4 5 United Kingdom David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes 54 +8.096 2 5
5 10 Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber-Petronas 54 +8.642 14 4
6 16 Canada Jacques Villeneuve BAR-Honda 54 +16.054 13 3
7 4 Germany Ralf Schumacher Williams-BMW 54 +38.526 6 2
8 7 Italy Jarno Trulli Renault 54 +45.927 5 1
9 14 Australia Mark Webber Jaguar-Cosworth 53 +1 Lap/Accident 3  
10 21 Brazil Cristiano da Matta Toyota 53 +1 Lap 18  
Ret 2 Brazil Rubens Barrichello Ferrari 47 Fuel system 1  
Ret 17 United Kingdom Jenson Button BAR-Honda 33 Accident 11  
Ret 19 Netherlands Jos Verstappen Minardi-Cosworth 31 Spin 19  
Ret 1 Germany Michael Schumacher Ferrari 27 Accident 7  
Ret 3 Colombia Juan Pablo Montoya Williams-BMW 25 Accident 9  
Ret 15 Brazil Antônio Pizzonia Jaguar-Cosworth 25 Accident 17  
Ret 20 France Olivier Panis Toyota 18 Collision 15  
Ret 12 Republic of Ireland Ralph Firman Jordan-Ford 18 Suspension 16  
Ret 18 United Kingdom Justin Wilson Minardi-Cosworth 16 Spin 20  
Ret 9 Germany Nick Heidfeld Sauber-Petronas 8 Engine 12  

Standings after the race[edit]

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.


Previous race:
2003 Malaysian Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
2003 season
Next race:
2003 San Marino Grand Prix
Previous race:
2002 Brazilian Grand Prix
Brazilian Grand Prix Next race:
2004 Brazilian Grand Prix

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "200th race for Jordan". formula1.com. Formula One Administration. 3 April 2003. Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  3. ^ Benson, Andrew (12 October 2011). "Tonio Liuzzi's classic F1 - Brazilian Grand Prix 2003". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 19 October 2011. 

Coordinates: 23°42′13″S 46°41′59″W / 23.70361°S 46.69972°W / -23.70361; -46.69972