The place for alternate championships that use real results as a base of forming alternative results, driver careers, and games in general
by tBone 22 Feb 2021, 07:45
Press Release - Benson & Hedges Total Jordan Peugeot

Benson & Hedges Total Jordan Peugeot announces that its first driver, Rubens Barrichello, will miss the German Grand Prix. Barrichello has torn his angle cruciate ligaments during fitness training after the British Grand Prix. Benson & Hedges Total Jordan Peugeot wishes Barrichello well and both driver and team expect that he will be back in the car for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Test driver Gianni Morbidelli will replace Barrichello in the German GP. Morbidelli (28) is an experienced F1 driver and has regularly tested for Benson & Hedges Total Jordan Peugeot during this season. Benson & Hedges Total Jordan Peugeot is confident that Morbidelli will do well in Germany and wishes him good luck.


Press Release - Minardi Team

Minardi Team announces a new second driver for the remainder of the 1996 Formula 1 season. Giovanni Lavaggi will be replacing Giancarlo Fisichella, who drove for the team on a loan race-by-race contract. Lavaggi already gathered experience in F1, when the now 38 year old Italian drove four Grands Prix in 1995. Team owner Giancarlo Minardi commented: "We are delighted to hire Giovanni and to have a second driver on a fixed basis again. We also really need to thank Giancarlo Fisichella, who did very well during the races he drove for us. The future of Minardi Team is now secured as well, because the deal with Giovanni Lavaggi includes lucrative sponsor deals."


Press Release - MTV Simtek Ford

MTV Simtek Ford confirms that it will not take part in the remaining six races of the 1996 Formula 1 season. Team principal Nick Wirth explained the situation, saying "We had to take the difficult decision to withdraw for the remainder of 1996, in order to be in a better financial position in the future. Talks with possible investors are ongoing and at Simtek, we are confident that we will be back stronger next year."

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by tBone 23 Feb 2021, 07:57
1996 German Grand Prix


The field has changed before the German GP: Simtek is missing in action and two Italians make their comeback on the grid: Gianni Morbidelli and Giovanni "Johnny Carwash" Lavaggi. They are re-entering F1 on a track with some very special characteristics: the Hockenheimring, the fastest circuit on the calendar. Those who can get their engine and their low downforce setup right, will be successful... As long as the car lasts an entire race distance. Damon Hill will once again be looking to strenghten his championship lead, while Jacques Villeneuve will look to bounce back. Meanwhile, Michael Schumacher finally finished on the podium in the British GP and more success in front of his home crowd may give a difficult season a silver lining.


Qualifying

Benetton had done their homework right, its low downforce setup clearly was very effective as Johnny Herbert took pole position by almost half a second. He was joined on the front row by the other Benetton of Jean Alesi. Michael Schumacher, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve fell just short of Alesi's time: less than two tenths separated the four drivers. Martin Brundle surprisingly showed how strong the Peugeot engine still is by qualifying 6th. His substitute teammate Gianni Morbidelli did a solid job too with a 9th place. Mercedes had something to think about on home soil, since the McLarens could only manage a 12th and 14th place. They were separated by another disappointing driver: Eddie Irvine, who was more than a second slower than Schumacher. At the back, Giovanni Lavaggi showed he has not significantly over last year.

Results

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Race

Michael Schumacher had a great start in front of his cheering fans, but the drivers of his former team, Johnny Herbert and Jean Alesi, worked well together to keep him behind. Martin Brundle brilliantly jumped both Williams to take 4th, with Damon Hill coming out of the Nordkurve in 5th and Jacques Villeneuve in 6th. After the first corner, the slipstreaming battle was on. Firstly, Schumacher passed Alesi at the Clark chicane and Villeneuve did the same to Hill. Alesi did not have the momentum out of Clark and lost even more on the second straight, on the way to the Ostkurve, when both Brundle and Villeneuve got past. Badoer moved himself into the top 6 at the same location by outbraking Hill. Even after two overtakes, Villeneuve was not done yet: he also got passed Brundle to take 3rd at the Senna chicane. At the front, Herbert and Schumacher had already gotten quite a comfortable position in 1st and 2nd. Villeneuve, Brundle, Alesi and Badoer completed the top six after the first lap.

Brundle's excellent start would not prove to be an omen for an excellent race. The Briton dropped back one place a lap in the laps 2-4. Firstly, Alesi passed him in the Senna Chicane, then Badoer at Clark and in lap 4, Hill got back into the points in the Ostkurve. Hill was recovering from a poor opening stage anyway and closed in on Badoer as well. In lap 7, he made again good use of the slipstream to pass the Italian in the Clark chicane. Badoer had to compromise his exit, enabling Brundle to set himself up for a pass in the Ostkurve. The Briton was doing a fine job in Barrichello's absence. Another driver on the move was Jean Alesi. The Frenchman had also lost out in the first lap, but he was hunting down Villeneuve and caught him in lap 11. A clean pass in the Clark chicane did the job to move Alesi back into the top three. The top six by this stage was made up by Herbert, Schumacher, Alesi, Villeneuve, Hill and Brundle. Alesi could unfortunately not enjoy his podium position for long: the transmission in his Benetton failed in lap 14 and the Frenchman had to retire for the fourth race in succession, promoting Heinz-Harald Frentzen to the points.

Frentzen was the first one to make a planned pit stop in lap 15. It became clear in the subsequent laps that he was the only front runner on a two stop strategy. Frentzen's stop had promoted Badoer back to 6th, where he was kept running until he had to slow down due to a puncture. The Italian struggled to get his car back into the pits, but when entering the Motodrom section, his race would end harshly. Gerhard Berger, running in 7th position, did not seem to notice that the Ligier was running slowly and drove into the back of it. The Sauber was launched in the air, landed again and came to a standstill in the wall on the outside of the Agip corner. Badoer got out of his car uninjured, but Berger was taken to the hospital for medical checks. Thankfully the news came in the evening that also the Austrian was not injured apart from some bruises.

Before the one stoppers had to come to the pits for tyres and fuel, Herbert was still leading the race, followed by Schumacher, Villeneuve, Hill, Brundle and Coulthard. Lap 20 saw Herbert, Schumacher and Brundle make their only stop. They would be followed by Villeneuve and Coulthard in lap 22 and Hill in lap 23. After those stops, the top six was unchanged, except for Frentzen who was running in 6th again until he made his second stop in lap 30 and Mika Hakkinen, who had inherited 6th place, in lap 31. Frentzen was now back in the points as he had stayed in front of Coulthard after his second stop. Not too much on-track action occurred in this phase, apart from one surprising and fierce battle in the midfield. Eddie Irvine was one of the last drivers to stop and when he got out of the pits, he came back on track right behind Nathan van Dijk, who had stopped a few laps earlier. Van Dijk had done well to stay in front of Irvine during his entire first stint, but the Ulsterman now had the pressure on him. The pair fought spectacularly for several laps until Irvine finally managed to pull a small gap and Van Dijk was defeated.

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Johnny Herbert cruises to his first victory of the year in Germany

Brundle was driving a somewhat anonymous, but very strong race and looked to be heading for a strong points finish. However, he had the misfortune of getting a puncture early in lap 33. The Briton was not able to reach the pits anymore and his race was over. This promoted Coulthard back into the top 6, but his teammate Hakkinen was catching him on fresher tyres. Hakkinen got past in lap 37, but the Finn was not able to close the gap to Frentzen in 5th anymore. With that move, the points scorers were decided and Herbert cruised home to his first win of the season. Schumacher finished 2nd again, with Villeneuve taking the final spot on the podium. Hill got an underwhelming 4th place, while Frentzen was happy he finally scored some points again. Hakkinen scored the final point for McLaren.

Results

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Post-Race Quotes

Johnny Herbert (1st): "We went all-in this weekend and we were rewarded in the best possible way. Everything went very well this weekend and I'm happy and relieved to finally win a race again. The championship is over for us this year, I think, but we definitely want to go for more successes like this one."
Michael Schumacher (2nd): "It was great to see all the grandstands here in red for the first time and it feels amazing that I could thank the fans from the podium. We were never really fast enough to challenge for the win today, but I am satisfied nonetheless."
Jacques Villeneuve (3rd): "We never really made the low downforce setup work this weekend. Both Damon and I suffered from that, but at least I could beat him today. The title battle is still on and if I can keep beating him, who knows what may happen."
Nathan van Dijk (9th): "The result was not the best of the year, but we knew already before the weekend that the car is draggy and a bit low on power. But I had a lot of fun during the race and I was able to show my best side in the battle with Irvine, I think."
Jos Verstappen (retired): "With the V8, there was only one thing we could do this weekend, because we simply lack the straight line speed. We wanted to stay out of trouble, keep running and hope for a race with a lot of attrition. Unfortunately, the opposite happened."


Drivers' Championship

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Constructors' Championship

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by tBone 24 Feb 2021, 09:07
GRAND PRIX NEWS
Your monthly source for racing news, stories and rumors | Wednesday 7th August, 1996


Who Will Take Bridgestones?

Formula 1 will again have a second tyre manufacturer in 1997, because Bridgestone will make its entry into the sport. The Japanese manufacturer has started testing a few weeks ago, when Brazilian Tarso Marques ran a TWR-owned Ligier on Bridgestone tyres on the Suzuka circuit. The choice of that car is no coincidence: Tom Walkinshaw's TWR is also the owner of the Arrows team, the only team that has an officially confirmed contract with Bridgestone for the 1997 season. The 1995-spec Ligier is of course an inheritance from the time that Walkinshaw managed the French team.

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The situation at Goodyear is rather different. The American supplier has already signed contracts with Williams, McLaren, Jordan, Ferrari and Sauber for next year. The only remaining team from the current constructors' top six, is Benetton, but they are also expected to confirm a deal with Goodyear soon. Goodyear is obliged to supply at least 40% of the grid with tyres if called upon to do so. Even if Simtek returns and the new Stewart, Lola and Dome teams all participate in 1997, Goodyear already fulfills that requirement as soon as Benetton signs. It seems unlikely that Goodyear wants to supply more teams, because it will add more costs than benefits. The only curious detail is that Dome is currently testing a car on Goodyear tyres, although the Japanese connection may move them to Bridgestone anyway.


Preparations at the New Teams

No less than three completely new teams are still planning to enter the F1 grid from 1997 onwards. That means that 30 cars will be competing in every qualifying session to make it to the 26-car grid, even if Simtek does not return next year. In other words, four cars will not qualify, so if a team arrives underprepared at the start of the season, there is a serious chance they will never start a race at all. Grand Prix News investigated what the current status of Dome, Lola and Stewart is and how they are going to avoid such a shameful fate.

Japanese constructor Dome has been testing at several Japanese circuits with the F105. Dome is an experienced manufacturer of race cars and reports from Japan indicate that the car is setting reasonably competitive lap times. Their team seemed to materialize over the past few weeks, as two important contracts have been signed. Engines will come from Mugen in 1997: after long negotiations it was decided that Dome can use 1996-spec engines in 1997. Furthermore, a first major sponsor has been signed to help the team prepare for next season: 7-Eleven logos have appeared on the test car, because the convenience store chain will financially support Dome's testing program for the rest of this year. An extension of this deal for 1997 seems very likely. It is also very probable that Japanese test driver Shinji Nakano will sign for the team. He has done the majority of the testing and will travel with the team to Europe to accumulate more mileage. For the second driver seat, Marco Apicella, who also already did some testing, Jörg Müller and Tom Kristensen are mentioned as candidates.

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Despite being the only constructor of the three with prior F1 experience, and a lot of that, Lola's 1997 entry remains a bit of a mistery so far. After the test mule that was run by the team last year, not too much news has surfaced. Lola's owner Eric Broadley has confirmed that the team is still looking to get a big enough budget in place. A major partner has not yet been found until now and the rumor mill has fallen quiet on that topic. An engine deal is also not yet in place, although whispers have been heard lately that Lola is actually looking to build its own engines in the near future. A combination of a sponsorship deal and an engine badging deal would be an interesting possibility for Lola, but developing an engine will not yet be possible for 1997. If the team decides to compete next year anyway, it will need a deal as a stopgap. A Ford or Hart V8 looks like the only option. Picking drivers looks loke a slightly lower priority for Lola so far.

Stewart Grand Prix, owned by F1 legend Jackie Stewart and his son Paul, is widely considered as the most convincing new team so far. Although a car will not be launched until December, the team has already acquired one important and strong weapon: a development deal with Ford will make Stewart a works team from the word go. They are also close to complete a healthy budget for 1997, since strong rumors suggest that a deal with HSBC will be agreed within the next few weeks. Drivers have not been confirmed yet, but it is likely that Stewart can come to some good deals right after the top teams finalize their line-ups.


Short but Sweet

Malaysia getting serious to organize GP • Ligier keeps Mugen engines in 1997 • Shannon said to buy Simtek assets • Alain Prost reportedly close to buy Ligier team • L'Oréal to remain title sponsor for Larrousse DAMS next year

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by tBone 27 Feb 2021, 23:04
Just a little heads up: the saga will be updated on a somewhat lower frequency now. I had continued writing during the forum shutdown, but I completely caught up now.

Anyway, to avoid you getting bored: here are some higher resolution pics of the custom liveries I made for the 1996 season. The template is a 1998 McLaren, made by Semic and available on International Motorsport Graphics.

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by tBone 02 May 2021, 14:39
OK guys, I hadn't expected a frequency this low from myself... But Nathan is back!


1996 Hungarian Grand Prix

Benetton celebrated their successes in the German GP, but the Hungaroring is a completely different challenge. The Williams team is the clear favourite to come back on top, but can Villeneuve again get closer in the championship battle or will Hill take a big step towards his first title? And what about Schumacher, who finished 2nd two races in a row: can he take his first win for Ferrari?


Qualifying

It was business as usual with Damon Hill on pole position, but Jacques Villeneuve once again struggled in qualifying and could only manage a 5th position. Jean Alesi, Johnny Herbert and Michael Schumacher filled in the positions between the two Williams cars, while Heinz-Harald Frentzen drove an excellent lap to take 6th. The DFCs were remarkably close together: only 1/1000 s split Nathan van Dijk and Pedro Diniz. All the way at the back, Ricardo Rosset and Giovanni Lavaggi made up the final row, as Hiro Matsushita managed to avoid that fate for the first time in his career.

Code: Select all
1  Damon Hill            Williams-Renault     1:17.928
2  Jean Alesi            Benetton-Renault       +0.134
3  Johnny Herbert        Benetton-Renault       +0.366
4  Michael Schumacher    Ferrari                +0.444
5  Jacques Villeneuve    Williams-Renault       +0.585
6  Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber-Ford            +0.650
7  Rubens Barrichello    Jordan-Peugeot         +1.033
8  Eddie Irvine          Ferrari                +1.103
9  Gerhard Berger        Sauber-Ford            +1.233
10 Olivier Panis         Ligier-Mugen Honda     +1.303
11 David Coulthard       McLaren-Mercedes       +1.433
12 Luca Badoer           Ligier-Mugen Honda     +1.457
13 Mika Hakkinen         McLaren-Mercedes       +1.538
14 Nathan van Dijk       DFC-Ford               +2.019
15 Pedro Diniz           DFC-Ford               +2.020
16 Jos Verstappen        Arrows-Hart            +2.036
17 Martin Brundle        Jordan-Peugeot         +2.217
18 Mika Salo             Tyrrell-Yamaha         +2.395
19 Ukyo Katayama         Tyrrell-Yamaha         +2.517
20 Emmanuel Collard      Larrousse DAMS-Ford    +3.244
21 Pedro Lamy            Minardi-Ford           +3.280
22 Hiro Matsushita       Larrousse DAMS-Ford    +4.066
23 Ricardo Rosset        Arrows-Hart            +4.357
24 Giovanni Lavaggi      Minardi-Ford           +4.758



Race

Both Ferraris had an excellent start, Michael Schumacher taking the lead and Eddie Irvine moving up to 6th. Damon Hill came out of the first corner in 2nd, followed by Johnny Herbert, Jean Alesi and Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Jacques Villeneuve dropped back to 7th, having gotten stuck on the outside of turn 1. In the midfield, it was Nathan van Dijk who stood out: the Dutchman moved up to 10th, while his teammate Pedro Diniz clashed with Mika Salo. Both the Brazilian and the Finn dropped all the way to the back of the field.

Well the rest of my report got lost when submitting it failed, so here's a lap-by-lap overview instead...

Lap 2 Hill passes Schumacher, turn 1, 1st
Alesi passes Herbert, turn 1, 3rd
Villeneuve passes Irvine, turn 1, 6th
Lap 4 Villeneuve passes Frentzen, turn 1, 5th
Lap 10 1. Hill
2. Schumacher
3. Alesi
4. Herbert
5. Villeneuve
6. Frentzen
Lap 14 Lavaggi retires from 24th
Lap 15 Villeneuve pits with electrical problem, drops to 15th
Lap 17 Frentzen retires from 5th
Lap 20 Coulthard pits, drops to 15th
1. Hill
2. Schumacher
3. Alesi
4. Herbert
5. Barrichello
6. Badoer
Lap 21 Schumacher pits, drops to 5th
Lap 22 Villeneuve passes Badoer, turn 1, 6th
Schumacher passes Barrichello, turn 14, 4th
Lap 25 Hill pits, drops to 4th right behind Schumacher
Lap 26 Collard retires from 19th
Lap 27 Hill passes Schumacher, turn 1, 3rd
Villeneuve pits, drops to 8th
Badoer retires from 6th
Lap 28 Salo retires from 13th
Lap 29 Herbert pits, drops to 4th
Barrichello pits, drops to 10th
Lap 30 1. Alesi
2. Hill
3. Schumacher
4. Herbert
5. Irvine
6. Villeneuve
Lap 31 Villeneuve passes Irvine, turn 1, 5th
Lap 32 Lamy retires from 16th
Lap 33 Alesi pits, drops to 4th
Irvine pits, drops to 12th
Lap 40 1. Hill
2. Schumacher
3. Herbert
4. Alesi
5. Villeneuve
6. Coulthard
Lap 41 Herbert passes Schumacher, turn 1, 3rd
Lap 42 Hakkinen passes Coulthard, turn 14, 6th
Lap 48 Schumacher pits, drops to 5th
Lap 50 Hill pits, drops to 2nd
Herbert pits, drops to 3rd
1. Alesi
2. Hill
3. Herbert
4. Villeneuve
5. Schumacher
6. Hakkinen
Panis retires from 10th
Lap 51 Hakkinen pits, drops to 9th
Herbert spins, drops to 5th
Van Dijk retires from 10th
Lap 52 Villeneuve pits, drops to 5th
Coulthard pits, drops to 9th
Lap 53 Hill passes Alesi, turn 8/9 chicane, 1st. Forces Alesi wide, Alesi spins, drops to 3rd
Lap 54 Villeneuve spins, but keeps 5th
Lap 57 Hakkinen passes Barrichello, turn 1, 6th
Lap 58 Herbert passes Alesi, turn 1, 3rd
Verstappen retires from 12th
Lap 60 1. Hill
2. Schumacher
3. Herbert
4. Alesi
5. Villeneuve
6. Hakkinen
Lap 62 Brundle retires from 11th
Lap 63 Alesi retires from 4th
Lap 64 Schumacher pits with puncture, drops to 4th right behind Villeneuve
Rosset retires from 12th
Lap 65 Schumacher passes Villeneuve, turn 1, 3rd
Lap 66 Herbert retires from 2nd
Lap 70 1. Hill
2. Schumacher
3. Villeneuve
4. Hakkinen
5. Coulthard
6. Barrichello

Results
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Drivers' Championship

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Constructors' Championship

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by tBone 05 May 2021, 08:11
Kinnikuniverse wrote:Welcome back! Can't wait for 97 with all the new teams!

Thanks! To be honest, I still haven't made my mind up about the silly season. It's going to be fun to place all those underdog drivers!

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by Bleu 05 May 2021, 18:45
Funny that Salo and Diniz actually clashed in 1996 Hungarian Grand Prix on the first lap, putting both of them out. Salo instantly, Diniz limped to the pits.
by tBone 06 May 2021, 18:21
Press Release - Rothmans Williams Renault

Rothmans Williams Renault is delighted to announce its driver line-up for the coming two years. First of all, Jacques Villeneuve's contract has been extended to the end of 1998. When asked about his contract extension, Villeneuve said: "It is fantastic to be rewarded with a new contract at such an early stage. The team has been incredible in guiding me in my first season and I am looking forward to fight for the championship in the following two years."

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The driver lineup of Rothmans Williams Renault will be completed by German Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Frentzen will join the team from 1997 on a two year contract. Team owner and principal Frank Williams commented: "We decided it would be a good decision if Heinz-Harald would join our team. He has been on our radar almost directly since his debut in 1994 and he has consistently impressed us. We are looking forward to work with him and Jacques in the next two seasons."


Press Release - Petrobras DFC Ford

Petrobras DFC Ford is proud to announce two new deals regarding the 1997 Formula One season. Firstly, the partnership with Ford will be extended for another year, ensuring the team of the powerful V10 engines in 1997. Team principal Guido Forti commented: "It is great news that we are able to continue our alliance with Ford. DFC has taken a big step forward this year and Ford has greatly contributed to our improvements."

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Furthermore, Petrobras DFC Ford has finalized negotiations for its driver line-up for next year. Joining Pedro Diniz, who had already extended his contract until the end of 1998, will be fellow Brazilian Christian Fittipaldi. Fittipaldi is no stranger to Formula One: he gained a vast amount of experience in the 1992, '93 and '94 seasons. Since then, he has driven in CART, where he secured several podium finishes, including an impressive 2nd place in his maiden entry in the Indianapolis 500.

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by tBone 07 May 2021, 19:06
1996 Belgian Grand Prix

Only days before the race where Damon Hill could mathematically secure the championship, his team Williams dropped a bomb: Hill will need to look elsewhere for a seat in 1997. To secure the title and take the number 1 with him next year, Hill will need to outscore Villeneuve by 8 points on the brilliant track of Spa-Francorchamps. An unlikely scenario, perhaps, but the Briton will definitely try to seal the deal at the earliest opportunity. Another driver who lost his place at his team for next year is Nathan van Dijk. The young Dutchman has had some impressive performances so far this year, but he too could use some more good results to attract attention from new teams. Summarised, we can say there is plenty to look for in this edition of the Belgian Grand Prix!


Qualifying

Damon Hill took another step towards the championship by taking his second pole position in a row, but Jacques Villeneuve was not too far off in 3rd. Jean Alesi split the two, while his teammate Johnny Herbert only managed to take 5th place, behind Michael Schumacher. Just like in Hungary, it was Heinz-Harald Frentzen showing why Williams sees a talent in him by completing the top 6. Another strong performer was Rubens Barrichello, who qualified in 7th and beat his teammate by more than a second.

Results
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Race

Jean Alesi had the best start and he was already leading before the braking zone for La Source. Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve joined in 2nd and 3rd. Michael Schumacher had not gotten away well, but he took a smart line around the outside of the hairpin to re-claim his 4th place, keeping Johnny Herbert and Heinz-Harald Frentzen behind again. The latter would lose his 6th place on the run to Les Combes, however, when Eddie Irvine passed him. The roles were reversed in the next lap on the same place and the German Sauber driver was back in the points. Irvine's race would soon be over, as the Ulsterman's transmission failed as early as lap 4.

The first stint was rather uneventful after those first few laps, until difficult track circumstances started to play a role. Frentzen was the first victim when he spun off at Malmedy in lap 10. The German could continue his race, but he had dropped to 17th, promoting Rubens Barrichello into the points. Alesi was showing an impressive pace in the first stint, but his speed was put into perspective when he had to refuel as early as lap 12. The Benetton driver came back in 5th place, but just one lap later he was the next one to spin off when he lost control at the top of Raidillon. Amazingly, he got away with an undamaged car, but the incident had cost him another two places. Schumacher was the next one to make his first stop in lap 14, while Villeneuve and Barrichello followed in lap 15. Hill and Herbert had chosen a longer first stint and stayed out until lap 18. After they had stopped as well, Hill had kept the lead. He was followed by Villeneuve, Schumacher, Herbert, Barrichello and Alesi.

As the race neared its halfway point, Barrichello saw an impressive race go to waste, his transmission failing in lap 22. The Brazilian's misfortune gave Mika Hakkinen a place in the top 6 now, but the Finn was chased by a quick Olivier Panis in the Ligier. Panis attacked Hakkinen in lap 28 and passed him in Les Combes, but the Finn fought back and tried to regain 6th in the Bus Stop chicane. However, he overshot the braking zone and touched the Frenchman, causing both of them to spin while Berger, who was close behind, also had an off trying to avoid the fighting duo. In the end, all three could continue, but they did lose a lot of time. Another driver who lost time was Villeneuve, who dropped to 5th behind Alesi after making a mistake in Rivage.

Hill made his second stop after a remarkably short middle stint in lap 29. Meanwhile, Herbert had closed the gap to Schumacher and was fighting his former teammate for what was now the lead in the race. At Les Combes, the Briton outbraked the German and gained the position. Herbert then had to make his stop in lap 31, while Schumacher could stay out for one more lap. He could not use that extra lap to his advantage, though: Herbert was still in front of him after the pitstops, while Hill was back in the lead. Herbert was driving absolutely on the limit to keep Schumacher behind in the final stint and the pressure proved too much when he spun at the Bus Stop chicane in lap 35. He recovered after dropping back to behind his teammate Alesi, who was now in 3rd place. The track was very tricky in the closing stages and Alesi once again fell victim in lap 38. The Frenchman had too much wheelspin out of La Source and spun. To make matters worse, Herbert could not avoid him and drove into his teammate's car. Both of them suffered too much damage to finish the race and the incident cost the Benetton team a valuable 3rd and 4th place.

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Damon Hill wins his 7th of the season in Belgium

Hill still led the race and headed for another dominant victory, but he would not be crowned champion yet, since the Benetton incident had promoted Villeneuve up to 3rd. Schumacher was splitting the two Williams on course for another 2nd place, while Panis occupied an excellent 4th place. The McLaren duo of Hakkinen and Coulthard completed the top six at that stage, but one change would take place in the final few laps. Panis was forced to visit the pits one more time with a puncture and had to drop to 5th. Despite a furious charge in the last three laps, he was not able to close the gap to Hakkinen again and had to settle for two points.

Results
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Post-Race Quotes

Damon Hill (1st): "Things are looking really good for the championship now. I think I once again got the maximum performance out of the car and everything went really well this weekend."
Michael Schumacher (2nd): "It was difficult out there today. Circumstances were really tricky, but I particularly enjoyed the battles with Johnny Herbert and of course, I'm glad I came out on top."
Jacques Villeneuve (3rd): "Not a great race for me unfortunately. It's a shame I lost so much time with that spin, but we got lucky to still salvage a podium. Let's see if I can keep stretching the title battle, who knows."
Nathan van Dijk (retired): "I think this was our most competitive race in quite a while. I was able to keep up with some guys who finished in the points, so who knows what would have been possible if my suspension had lasted until the end."
Jos Verstappen (retired): "This track is always a great place to be and the car felt quite good in the practise sessions. Qualifying wasn't particularly good, but not bad neither. The race was over after a lap and a half, so there's not too much to say about that."


Drivers' Championship

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Constructors' Championship

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by tBone 10 May 2021, 19:37
GRAND PRIX NEWS
Your monthly source for racing news, rumors and stories | Wednesday 4th September, 1996


Damon Hill: Where To Go?

The rumors had been spread for months, but the news became official mere days before the Belgian Grand Prix: Damon Hill will not drive for Williams next year. Hill will most probably win the championship this year, which means that F1 is facing the special situation where a reigning champion is a free agent very late in the year. The Briton is undoubtedly the hottest property available at this moment, but many seats have already been taken. These circumstances raise the question: where will Damon Hill go to next season? Grand Prix News analysed the options and their likelihood.

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The current constructors' championship has quite a clear top 4: Williams, Benetton, Ferrari and McLaren are the most consistently competitive teams. If Hill wants to have a good chance of defending his title in 1997, he will definitely need to join one of them. Chances of Hill joining Ferrari are very slim: Michael Schumacher is their certain #1 for the next years and it does neither seem likely that Hill wants to be a #2 driver, nor would it make sense for Ferrari to buy Eddie Irvine out of his contract. McLaren drivers Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard both have a contract for 1997 as well, but neither of them has the star status of Schumacher and Hill. It may not be likely, but Ron Dennis could consider buying one of them out of their contract to please Mercedes-Benz after an otherwise disappointing year. Benetton could be a realistic option, with Johnny Herbert's seat alongside Jean Alesi still open for next year. Sources close to the team suggest that Herbert is quite close to extending his contract by a year and Hill's salary would be a lot higher. The biggest question here is whether Briatore can find the extra budget and whether he thinks Hill is worth that.

Teams in the upper midfield could be a solid backup option for Hill. Sauber and Jordan in particular look like teams who are ambitious to challenge for the top positions in a few years' time and the same could apply for Ligier if the rumored buyout by Alain Prost goes ahead. Jordan - where no driver has been confirmed yet for 1997 - looks to be the most stable option of those three, with factory support from Peugeot and a healthy sponsorship budget secured for the next season. A star signing like Hill could be just what Jordan needs to convince those partners to continue and further increase their involvement in the further future. Sauber does not seem to have the budget to meet Hill's salary demands and they do not yet have an engine deal in place: two factors that make the signing of the Briton very unlikely. It looks like Ligier's future is even less certain at the moment, but if Hill's former teammate Prost leads a buyout and gives the team new impetus, it could become a place where the 35-year-old feels at home. The scenario would be nice, but it still involves a lot of ifs and buts and it is already quite late in the year.

Two other options are left, but both of them would be a big gamble for a world champion who will be 36 next year. Jackie Stewart's new team will enjoy tremendous support from Ford and an experienced lead driver like Hill would be perfect to help the team hit the ground running. Money will be no issue for Ford if they want to sign a star and the publicity will be attractive for the American giant. Still, it is an all-new team with little experience, so competitiveness is not guaranteed. The last possibilty for Hill would be Arrows. Taken over by the highly ambitous TWR operation, Arrows is heavily investing to move to the front in the next few years. Tom Walkinshaw's "wheeler dealer" mentality is a guarantee to scrape the budget together, although some sacrifices would need to be made. A second driver with a big sponsor budget would be necessary, but Arrows' current paydriver Ricardo Rosset is not considered to be fast enough. Jos Verstappen does not bring a big enough budget, so Walkinshaw needs to look at other options. Kenny Brack - currently test driver at the team - is currently doing very well in F3000 and brings a reasonable budget, sponsored by Swedish companies Ericsson and H&M. Nathan van Dijk, sponsored by Aegon, and Ukyo Katayama with his Mild Seven sponsorship could also fit that mould.


And What About Nathan and Jos?

Damon Hill's release from Williams was the biggest news in Formula 1 in the past weeks, but Nathan van Dijk also was suddenly left without a seat for next year. Van Dijk has had a decent season so far, but this year's DFC is not competitive enough to consistently compete for points. Despite the Dutchman's solid performances in several races, the Italo-Brazilian team opted to poach Christian Fittipaldi from CART, leaving Van Dijk to look for a new job. As we mentioned in the Damon Hill article, he could go to Arrows, which might be at the expense of fellow Dutchman Jos Verstappen. What are the options for the Dutchies?

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Van Dijk's stocks have definitely risen this year as he has occasionally shown signs of great promise. His sponsor budget is rumored to be around $5 million, which further improves his chances of a race seat in 1997. His management is said to be in talks with Jordan, Sauber, Ligier and Arrows at the moment. Jordan may be the preferred option, but the competition for those two seats is big: from young talents like Ralf Schumacher and Giancarlo Fisichella to experienced stars like Damon Hill, Johnny Herbert and even Nigel Mansell: just about every available driver is linked to the Silverstone-based team. At Sauber, Van Dijk would join Gerhard Berger as second driver. The deal would make sense from both parties: Sauber could use a financial boost and Van Dijk could join a stable, competitive midfield team and he could learn a lot from an experienced, high quality teammate. Ligier seems an unlikely option: Luca Badoer has done well there after a difficult start to the season and Damon Hill would be a way more established alternative for the Italian. Arrows could be a good match as well, as we explained in the article on Damon Hill. From the Dutchman's perspective however, that deal may be less preferred: all resources would be focused on Hill and the team has not been too competitive for quite a while.

Jos Verstappen looked set to stay at Arrows for a long time, but the Damon Hill scenario has cast a cloud over his future. Verstappen may well need to move elsewhere, but his 1996 has been rather unremarkable, although he definitely was not helped by his car. Verstappen is also under consideration at Sauber, but he brings less sponsorship than Van Dijk or other candidates like Norberto Fontana. Leading the new Stewart team could be a possibility as well. The team is looking for a fast driver with as much experience in F1 as possible; Verstappen now has three full seasons under his belt and has shown he can be quick. If Sauber and Stewart do not work out, the Dutchman will probably need to look at the less desired teams like Tyrrell, Minardi or even the new Dome or Lola teams.


Short but Sweet

West is McLaren's new title sponsor • VW/Audi rumored to join forces with Benetton or DFC in the future • Adrian Newey to join McLaren after gardening leave • Yamaha likely to supply Arrows with engines in 1997 • Dome, DFC, Stewart confirm '97 tyre deals with Bridgestone • Ricardo Rosset in negotiations with Minardi, Lola

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by Kinnikuniverse 13 May 2021, 14:55
Here's my predictions for the 1997 drivers line-up

Ferrari
Michael Schumacher
Eddie Irvine

Williams
Jacques Villeneuve
Heinz-harald Frentzen

Benetton
Jean alesi
Johnny Herbert

Mclaren
Mika hakkinen
David coulthard

Jordan
Giancarlo Fisichella
Damon Hill

Ligier
Olivier Panis
Luca Badoer

Arrows
Ukyo Katayama
Kenny Brack

Tyrell
Mika salo
Ralf Schumacher

Larrousse-DAMS
Emmanuel Collard
Tom Kristensen

Stewart
Rubens barrichello
Jos verstappen

Sauber
Gerhard berger
Nathan Van dijk

DFC
Pedro diniz
Christian Fittipaldi

Minardi
Jarno Trulli
Norberto Fontana

Dome
Marco Apicella
Shinji Nakano

Lola
Vicenzo Sospiri
Ricardo rosset
by tBone 14 May 2021, 17:20
1996 Italian Grand Prix

As F1 arrives at the legendary circuit of Monza, Damon Hill only needs one more point to be a world champion. A championship celebration for a Williams driver in front of the Italian crowd would be an interesting occasion, but the tifosi will have high hopes of Ferrari's new star: Michael Schumacher. His recent results have been rather good and his first win for Ferrari cannot be far away anymore. For the neutral spectator, perhaps the most interesting thing to watch is all the new upgrades that teams have brought to give their season a final boost. How will they handle one of the fastest tracks on the calendar?


Qualifying

Damon Hill took another pole position with a fine lap, but the tifosi were the most excited about the man joining him on the front row: Michael Schumacher. The German pulled out an excellent tour of the Monza track to narrowly beat Alesi, Villeneuve and Herbert. Barrichello and Brundle had a good qualifying for Jordan as well, taking 6th and 8th on the grid and showing how powerful Peugeot's engine is. DFC also did well, with both Diniz and Van Dijk on the seventh row.

Results
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Race

The first thing that was obvious was how bad Michael Schumacher's start was in comparison to Damon Hill's. Schumacher's teammate, Eddie Irvine, did have a terrific getaway, but the Ulsterman was a bit too optimistic when braking for the Variante del Rettifilo. He was on the inside, braked too late, touched Hill and both ended up in the gravel and would have to catch up from the back of the field. Because everyone on the outside had to slow down to avoid getting wiped off the track, two midfielders profited and surprisingly led the race: Olivier Panis was in 1st position after the first chicane, followed by Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Johnny Herbert had taken 3rd, but he would already in the first lap be passed by Jean Alesi and Michael Schumacher, while Jacques Villeneuve completed the top 6.

Villeneuve needed to win to keep his title hopes alive, but he would even drop out of the top 6 when Barrichello passed him in lap 2. After a tough fight for a couple of laps, the Canadian rookie did come out on top in lap 5, giving the Brazilian no chance to counter his overtaking manoeuver anymore. Meanwhile at the front, Panis and Frentzen saw their lead margin reduce at a rapid pace. Frentzen was the first victim: Alesi and Schumacher got past in lap 3 and Herbert followed in the next lap. Panis was also passed by the faster trio in the subsequent laps. Even after all those position changes, the top 6 was not settled at all. Schumacher chased Alesi for the lead and overtook him in lap 7 with a brilliant move along the outside of the Parabolica corner, while the crowds on the grandstand got extatic. A bit further back, Villeneuve had caught Frentzen and moved up to 5th position.

The party on the grandstands was getting started when Schumacher started pulling away in the lead, but it would not last for long. The reigning world champion, who was still likely to lose that title in this race anyway, slowed down in lap 9. He had to park his car with a failed transmission and all Italian hopes were gone. It was not Alesi who inherited the lead though, because his teammate Herbert had just overtaken him. Villeneuve was in the meantime still working his way up through the field: the Canadian gained another position by outbraking Panis ina lap 11. He now only had the two Benettons in front of him, while Frentzen and Barrichello completed the top 6.

Herbert was the first driver to make a pitstop in lap 13, promoting Hill back into the points as he just overtook Martin Brundle. Both Barrichello and Hill gained further places by passing Frentzen, before the Williams driver had to make his first stop in lap 15. It appeared that Herbert and Hill were the only frontrunners on a two stop strategy, as the others went for a longer first stint. Alesi was now leading the race by a big margin and if he could make his one-stopper work, he looked good for the win, or at least for his first points since the French GP. Unfortunately it was again not meant to be for the fast French driver: a transmission failure ended another leading driver's hopes. Mere seconds later, Barrichello, who had moved up into 4th by then, also was forced to retire. Jordan declared after the race that an oil leak was the cause of the Brazilian's retirement. More bad luck struck the Silverstone-based team just one lap later, when Brundle - now in 6th place - had to make an unplanned stop due to a loose wheel. At this stage, it was Villeneuve who was leading the race, followed by Panis - again all the way up to 2nd - Frentzen, Gerhard Berger, Herbert and David Coulthard.

Herbert and Hill, the two-stoppers, were making their way back up through the field around the halfway point of the race. They were helped on their resurgence by Berger's misfortunes, the Austrian's Ford engine failing in lap 23. In a chaotic phase the one-stoppers all made their pit stops, starting with Coulthard in lap 25 and ending with Frentzen in lap 31. After the German's stop Herbert was back in the lead, followed by Hill, Villeneuve, Panis, Coulthard, and Hakkinen. Coulthard was having a bad second stint, though, and he was quickly passed by Hakkinen after the latter's stop. Irvine would follow a couple of laps later and Brundle would also beat him in a wheel-to-wheel fight. Meanwhile, Villeneuve would get back in the lead when Hill and Herbert made their second stops. Hill dropped to 5th place, but he drove like a champion and breezed past both Frentzen and Panis in just a few laps after his stop. Herbert had rejoined in 2nd place and was again closing in on Villeneuve.

The anticipation for another battle for the lead was great, but it ended with an anti-climax in lap 39. Herbert's car overheated as a result of a water leak and Benetton recorded their third consecutive race with 0 points. Lighting again struck twice: Frentzen, who was on his way to an excellent 4th place, came into the pits in the same lap. The German had a throttle problem, but Sauber's pit crew were able to get him back on track. He had dropped all the way to 9th place, however, and although he fought back to 7th, he lacked the pace to reel in Brundle for the final point.

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Jacques Villeneuve is victorious in Monza

Villeneuve was not bothered by any trouble: the Canadian took his fourth win in what was still only his rookie season. His teammate Hill followed him to the finish, scoring more than enough points to really step into his father's shoes by becoming Formula One world champion. An excited Panis joined the Williams duo on the podium, after an excellent drive to 3rd. Hakkinen finished 4th after a relatively quiet, but solid race, while Irvine behind him had recovered from the shenanigans at the start to take 5th. Brundle did well to complete the top 6 after a race which was compromised by his unplanned pitstop.

Results

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Post-Race Quotes

Jacques Villeneuve (1st): "It's great to be on the highest step of the podium again. I felt strong in the race today, maybe stronger than I had felt earlier in the weekend. And of course congratulations to Damon for winning the championship. There was nothing more I could have done about it today, but my ambition is definitely to challenge for it again next year."
Damon Hill (2nd): "This is of course the best moment of my career. Finally we have done it and although I don't even fully realise it yet, I can already tell you that it's a wonderful feeling. Just one thing about the race: I really wasn't happy with what Irvine did at the start, it made no sense at all. Anyway, it's time to stop complaining and start celebrating!"
Olivier Panis (3rd): "Well what a race that was! I led a race, that was new for me, but it was a nice experience. I think we were very strong in general this weekend and the race pace was excellent. It's great that we got rewarded with a nice podium finish in the end."
Jos Verstappen (retired): "Just like in Hockenheim, we knew this was going to be a tough race for us here. Nevertheless, I had an interesting strategic battle with the Tyrrells and the car was pretty solid. It's just very disappointing that we couldn't finish again."
Nathan van Dijk (retired): "It's a real shame I retired, because I was very close to Hakkinen during the first stint and I was on a very similar strategy. The team had brought quite a big upgrade package for the last races and it worked very well. I am more confident than ever in the car and I genuinely think we can still score some points in Portugal or Japan."


Drivers' Championship

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Constructors' Championship

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by tBone 16 May 2021, 11:50
1996 Portuguese Grand Prix

Both the constructors' and the drivers' championships have been decided, but that does not mean that the Portuguese GP at Estoril will not be worth watching. The battle for 3rd in the drivers' and 2nd in the constructors' championship is still on and the fight in the midfield is perhaps even more intense. All teams will try to grasp every opportunity they can get in one of the last races of 1996!


Qualifying

Jean Alesi claimed pole position with a very good lap, beating Damon Hill - having driven an amazing lap himself and beating his teammate by 7 tenths - by only 0.017s. Johnny Herbert and Michael Schumacher were on the second row, while Jacques Villeneuve qualified in a slightly disappointing 5th place. McLaren's latest upgrade package seemed to be working rather well, as Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard took 6th and 7th. The biggest surprise in the midfield was a negative one: Martin Brundle only managed the 15th time, despite the fact that his teammate Rubens Barrichello qualified in a solid 8th position.

Results
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Race

Damon Hill had a great start and took the lead, while Jean Alesi struggled to even hang on to 2nd place. He did manage to do so, with Johnny Herbert closely behind him. Michael Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve went side-by-side into the first corner and neither of the two yielded for the next four corners until the German came out on top of that battle, while Mika Hakkinen completed the top 6 after the start. Villeneuve had lost the battle but not the war with Schumacher: the Canadian claimed 4th just a single lap later by passing the double world champion in lap 2. Hakkinen would do the same a couple of laps later, but Alesi drew the most attention when he took the lead in lap 4 with an excellent manoeuver into the first corner.

A top 6 of Alesi, Hill, Herbert, Villeneuve, Hakkinen and Schumacher was settled after those position changes and not too much action occured for several laps. In fact, Alesi was steadily building a lead of a couple of seconds and the French Benetton driver once again looked good for a race win at that stage. However, his excellent drive only lasted 16 laps, until he had to park his car once again with a mechanical failure. This time an oil leak was the cause of his retirement. Rubens Barrichello moved up into the points as a result, but not for long. The Brazilian spun in Parabolica Interior, causing a lot of chaos. Heinz-Harald Frentzen, David Coulthard, Gerhard Berger, Eddie Irvine and Martin Brundle all could not avoid the Jordan, which was facing backwards on the racing line, and had to take a trip through the gravel. In fact, the first one to keep it on the tarmac was Nathan van Dijk, who had been recovering a couple of places after a bad start. The young Dutchman all of a sudden found himself in 6th place, with an excellent prospect of scoring some points if he could keep the pace.

A few laps later, the drivers on a two stop strategy were coming into the pits for their first planned stops. Hakkinen was the first one in lap 20, with Van Dijk following one lap later. Hakkinen was quickly back up to 5th place when he passed Olivier Panis in his out lap, but Van Dijk had dropped all the way to 11th place. Hill and Herbert made their stops in lap 25, while Villeneuve stayed out for two more laps. Their relative positions did not change as a result, but Schumacher - on a one stop strategy - had taken the lead. Hill was fast to close the gap to the German and the new world champion did not take long to overtake his predecessor too: with a clean move in Parabolica Interior, the Williams was back in the lead, relegating Schumacher to 2nd. Herbert followed in 3rd, with Villeneuve, Hakkinen and Coulthard completing the top 6. The Scottish McLaren driver was the other one in the top 6 on a one-stopper.

Herbert was faster than Hill in the second stint and he had no trouble passing Schumacher as well. The Benetton driver closed the gap to the Williams and although Hill managed to defend his position for a short amount of time, Herbert took the lead in lap 33. Schumacher had held on to 3rd place in the meantime, until he had to make his only stop of the race in lap 36. He came back in 5th place, behind Villeneuve and Hakkinen. Coulthard was the last driver in the top 6 to make his pit stop, coming in in the 38th lap and rejoining in 7th place, behind Van Dijk. The Dutchman was once again back in the points and his 6th place would even become a 5th after a big cloud of smoke hung over the track. It came from Herbert's Benetton, or better said: of his Renault engine which had blown. Yet another promising weekend ended with 0 points for the team which had won the championship a year ago.

With not too much battling going on, the most interesting thing was to watch strategies. Both the fight for the podium places and for the final points positions looked to be decided in that way, with one-stoppers and two-stoppers competing. Schumacher had made his only stop and although Hill could get tyres and fuel without losing the lead, Villeneuve and Hakkinen did come back behind the German again. Villeneuve was not too far off, though, and the Canadian was significantly faster on fresher tyres. Van Dijk was fighting Coulthard and Barrichello for 5th and 6th place, the Dutchman being the only one to make a second stop and coming back on track in 7th. Similar to Villeneuve ahead of him, Van Dijk also had a strong pace on fresh tyres.

The battle for 2nd place was tense and Schumacher managed to keep Villeneuve behind for several laps with some excellent defensive driving. The Canadian did show his skills in lap 56 to decide the battle: with a clever late move, he caught Schumacher off guard in Parabolica Interior and conquered 2nd place. Almost a lap behind them, Van Dijk was catching Barrichello. Just when the Dutch talent had almost closed the gap, that battle ended in an anti-climax with Barrichello's transmission failing. Coulthard was Van Dijk's next target, but as his tyres got older, his advantage over the Scot got smaller and it seemed like Coulthard would be able to manage the gap.

Managing the gap was also what Schumacher was doing to hang on to 3rd place and he succeeded: Hakkinen could not get close enough anymore and Schumacher was even able to stay rather close to Villeneuve, albeit never within shooting distance. Hakkinen's teammate was even less lucky: although he looked able to keep his 5th place, his car decided otherwise. McLaren had not suffered a retirement since the European GP, but Coulthard's transmission ended the team's reliability streak 10 laps before the finish. Van Dijk was the lucky one to get promoted to 5th place, while Irvine now completed the top 6.

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Another victory for the new world champion

The final 10 laps were uneventful for the top 5, but Irvine had to be careful for Berger in 7th, who was gaining ground with more than half a second per lap. However, the race was one or two laps too short for the Austrian to get in a position where he could attempt an overtake; he finished just under a second behind Irvine. None of that bothered the new world champion, though. Damon Hill cruised through the final laps and won his eighth race of the year. Jacques Villeneuve finished 2nd to make it the fourth Williams 1-2 of 1996, while Michael Schumacher added a fifth podium to his strong second half of the season. Mika Hakkinen moved up to 3rd in the championship by finishing 4th and scoring three points, while Nathan van Dijk got the best result of his career with an excellent 5th place. The Dutch DFC driver had a clinical drive at a time when he needed to be in the spotlights for a seat for 1997, even beating Eddie Irvine's Ferrari to the finish.

Results
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Post-Race Quotes

Damon Hill (1st): "This was an interesting race, with some challenging battles with the Benettons and the different strategy of Schumacher. We were probably a bit lucky with the issues Benetton had, but in general it was a good weekend anyway. I hope I can close this amazing part of my career with another good result in Japan."
Jacques Villeneuve (2nd): "I couldn't really get it together in qualifying; definitely something to improve for next year. In the race I felt pretty strong, especially in the wheel-to-wheel battles. It was good to win all of those and to bring home a second place."
Michael Schumacher (3rd): "We tried something different with the one stop strategy and the gamble almost paid off. I couldn't keep Villeneuve behind after all, but I don't think we would have done any better on a 2-stopper. Third is still a pretty good result and I'm still looking to get third in the championship too."
Nathan van Dijk (5th): "We chose a very aggressive strategy with two early stops, which meant I would need to gain a lot of positions on the track. The start was not really good unfortunately, but with the chaos in the first stint, I got out a bit lucky. We could show the pace after that and proved that the car is seriously good in the race."
Jos Verstappen (9th): "After the problems and the very early stop, I had to come from the back. It was pretty fun to overtake a couple of guys and I'm glad we could finally finish a race again."


Drivers' Championship

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Constructors' Championship

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Last edited by tBone on 17 May 2021, 17:41, edited 1 time in total.

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by dr-baker 17 May 2021, 17:10
tBone wrote:
Image
Jacques Villeneuve is victorious in Monza

What happened to the chequered flag marshal's legs? I blame the crocodile that he brought onto the track with him.

watka wrote:I find it amusing that whilst you're one of the more openly Christian guys here, you are still first and foremost associated with an eye for the ladies!
dinizintheoven wrote:GOOD CHRISTIANS do not go to jail. EVERYONE ON FORMULA ONE REJECTS should be in jail.
MCard LOLA
by tBone 17 May 2021, 17:44
dr-baker wrote:
tBone wrote:
Image
Jacques Villeneuve is victorious in Monza

What happened to the chequered flag marshal's legs? I blame the crocodile that he brought onto the track with him.

Oh dear, that's not good. Looking at that image again, I'm also wondering who Andy is and why his name is on that sign...

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by dr-baker 18 May 2021, 06:47
tBone wrote:
dr-baker wrote:
tBone wrote:
Image
Jacques Villeneuve is victorious in Monza

What happened to the chequered flag marshal's legs? I blame the crocodile that he brought onto the track with him.

Oh dear, that's not good. Looking at that image again, I'm also wondering who Andy is and why his name is on that sign...

I now think it's obvious that Andy is the name of the crocodile.

watka wrote:I find it amusing that whilst you're one of the more openly Christian guys here, you are still first and foremost associated with an eye for the ladies!
dinizintheoven wrote:GOOD CHRISTIANS do not go to jail. EVERYONE ON FORMULA ONE REJECTS should be in jail.
MCard LOLA
by tBone 21 May 2021, 08:13
Press Release - Mild Seven Benetton Renault

Mild Seven Benetton Renault confirms that it will keep the same driver duo in 1997. Jean Alesi had already signed a 2-year deal, which will continue next year. Johnny Herbert has extended his contract by another year to start his third full season with the team. Herbert said "It is great to be able to stay another year with Benetton. Although we have had a challenging season this year, I think it is good that we maintain stability and I am sure we can bounce back and maybe even challenge for the championship next year."


Press Release - Benson & Hedges Total Jordan Peugeot

A new, talented driver will be joining Benson & Hedges Total Jordan Peugeot in the next years. German driver Ralf Schumacher will make his Formula 1 debut with the team in 1997 and he has signed a contract until the end of 1999. Schumacher, brother of former Jordan driver Michael, is currently active in Formula Nippon, where he is leading the championship with one race to go, and in the All Japan Grand Touring Car Championship, where he has won three races this year. The team's second driver will be announced in due course.


Press Release - Ligier Gauloises Blondes

After Olivier Panis had already been confirmed, Ligier Gauloises Blondes is glad to announce the contract extension of Luca Badoer as well. Badoer has had a satisfying season with the team in 1996 so far and has been rewarded with a race seat for 1997. Both the team and the driver look forward to working together again next year and both hope to further improve their performance.

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by tBone 05 Jun 2021, 13:01
GRAND PRIX NEWS
Your monthly source for racing news, stories and rumors | Wednesday 2nd October, 1996


Life After Williams

Damon Hill is the 1996 Formula One world champion, that is a fact now. It is also a fact that he will leave the Williams team, despite that success. It is not the first time that a champion leaves Williams right after winning the title, it is quite the opposite actually: their previous three champions also did not defend their championship with the team. Grand Prix News refreshes your memory, looking back at how they fared after their title-winning year and assessing whether Hill should really be worried about his future, or he will be alright.

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The last driver before Damon Hill to win a championship for Williams, was Alain Prost. The Frenchman was already 38 years old at the time and he had been in F1 for 13 years and he had won four championships. Prost decided to retire at the end of the year, partly because of the fact that Senna would join the team in 1994. He did test several times for McLaren, but never raced again, neither in Formula One, nor in another class. It is highly unlikely that Hill will follow the same scenario as his former teammate: although he is already 36, Hill has only been in F1 for five years and he seems eager for more success before he retires.

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The year before Prost's fourth title, it was Nigel Mansell who won it with Frank Williams' team. Mansell was 39 in 1992 and he left in similar fashion to the Frenchman after him. Prost had been signed and Mansell did not want to be together in a team with him, nor did Williams want to pay for the high financial demands Mansell had raised. He decided to retire from F1 and moved to IndyCar, where he won the championship in 1993, but had a difficult 1994. At the end of that year, he did come back to F1 and even to Williams, supporting Hill's title bid and winning the final race of the season. An adventure with McLaren in 1995 was far less successful and ended prematurely. The IndyCar route is theoretically a possibility for the man who got number 0 as a result of Mansell's retirement, but it is not the most probable one. Hill does have a strong desire to stay in Formula One, but what he can learn from Mansell is that a switch to another team could hurt his reputation.

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A Williams driver also won the championship during Mansell's first stint with the team, but it wasn't the driver from Worcestershire himself. Nelson Piquet - aged 35 at the time - won the title in 1987, but he too was dissatifsied about Williams' driver policy. He chose to leave the team and move to Lotus, where he was promised a number one status. He would never equal the successes of his Brabham and Williams days, though: during his two year stint at Lotus, he did not manage to win a single race. Some redemption came when he joined Benetton for 1990 and 1991, the Brazilian winning three more races, but he never really challenged for a championship again. Piquet's post-Williams career is another example of life not getting better after leaving the team from Didcot. However, it does also show that multiple race wins are still possible and that is something that both Damon Hill and the team he will be driving for, can definitely hope for.


An Update from Nathan

In 1996 Nathan van Dijk was the highest ranked Dutch driver in Formula One and he became only one of only four Dutchmen to ever score points, but despite those achievements he is still without a seat for next year. In a Grand Prix News exclusive feature, Nathan himself has written a monologue, reflecting on his career so far, discussing this season and looking forward to 1997 and beyond.

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"First of all, I would like to mention that it is great that so many people are following my career with interest. It is quite a special feeling to sit in a Formula One car, but it is even more special to look into the grandstands at those moments and to see people cheering for you. It seems like the banners with my name are slowly getting more and more common, which is amazing. I hope I can give those fans more to cheer for next year!"

"Grand Prix News asked me to look back at this season in particular. It was an entirely different season from my rookie year in 1995: I am now the more experienced driver in the team, but especially the vastly increased resources of DFC made a difference. We were very happy to have closed the gap to the midfield right at the first race and scoring a point was a terrific reward. The car was good, but developing it proved to be quite tough and the car for 1997 was prioritized at a pretty early point in time. We did get one very good upgrade just a few weeks ago and our performance improved significantly. That upgrade is the main reason I was fast in Portugal and finished fifth, but more importantly it is the main reason why I think this team is going to improve further in 1997."

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"Many questions have been asked about DFC's decision to drop me and to hire Christian Fittipaldi for next year. I am personally trying not to focus too much on the situation as long as there are races to go. The only thing I can do now to prove that I deserve a seat in F1, is to perform well. Having said that, of course I do need to admit that it was a disappointment to not have my contract extended. I still think that DFC would have been the best place to be for me in 1997, but they chose someone else. I think I did a good job nevertheless, but DFC had the opportunity to hire a more experienced driver and they went for it. You just need to accept that those things can happen and at least the team told me quite early in the year, so there is plenty of time to look for another seat. I do also really want to say that whatever happened, I am still incredibly grateful that this team gave me an amazing chance to drive in F1 with the very limited experience I had at the time."

"As I already said: I think I have proven this year that I really belong in Formula 1. I am capable to battle for the points and especially my race pace has been consistently strong. My major weakness this year was qualifying: Pedro Diniz beat me a couple of times too often for my liking. For some reason, I occasionally struggled to get a good qualifying setup. Hopefully I can improve that next year. About next year: I am pretty confident that I will still have a seat in Formula 1. I am basically in talks with all the teams who still have seats available and things do not look too bad. Unfortunately I am not able to tell anything more than that at this moment, but it seems likely that something for 1997 can be announced still this year. I hope to see all of you again then, but let's first enjoy the Japanese GP with hopefully a good result!"


Short but Sweet

Ford V8s in '97 again for Larrousse DAMS • Strong rumor: Hill to be presented by Arrows after Japanese GP • 7-Eleven will be Dome's main sponsor next year • Fisichella fast, testing Benetton at Estoril • Stewart signed deal with HSBC as main sponsor for 5 years • Morbidelli reportedly close to race seat with Dome

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by tBone 06 Jun 2021, 19:24
1996 Japanese Grand Prix

The Williams team are already celebrating an incredibly successful season, but there is still plenty to look for behind them in the last race of the season. The battle for third in the drivers' championship is very interesting, with Mika Hakkinen, Johnny Herbert, Jean Alesi and Michael Schumacher all within 2 points of one another. Several teams and drivers will still be looking for a day success too: Ferrari and McLaren would love to win at least one race this year, drivers like Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Gerhard Berger and Martin Brundle would do anything for a podium and teams at the bottom of the table are eager for one last chance to score a point.


Qualifying

Williams' 1996 success was also continued in the last qualifying of 1996 as they locked out the front row. Damon Hill beat Jacques Villeneuve to pole position by mere hundredths of a second. Three of the four protagonists in the battle for 3rd in the championship qualified closely together: Johnny Herbert and Michael Schumacher found a place on the 2nd row, with Jean Alesi just behind them. Mika Hakkinen and McLaren had a less impressive qualifying, the Finn only managing and 8th place while his teammate had to settle for 10th. The Sauber team was also a bit disappointing, with Heinz-Harald Frentzen in 12th and Gerhard Berger 13th.

Results
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Race

Damon Hill and Johnny Herbert, both starting from the left side of the grid, got off the line the fastest and took 1st and 2nd place out of the first corner. Rubens Barrichello, coming from the opposite side, also gained a lot of ground to take 3rd while Mika Hakkinen moved up from 8th to 4th. Jean Alesi kept 5th, while Jacques Villeneuve had dropped to 6th after a poor start, which also got Michael Schumacher stuck in the field. The German would need to come from 8th place after the first corner. Still in the first lap, Villeneuve made up a bit for his difficult getaway, passing Alesi in the Casio Triangle. The French Benetton driver did not give up in his battle with the Canadian rookie: he regained his position in a similar way just one lap later. Alesi showed one lap later that he is one of the best wheel-to-wheel fighters in the field with a daring move on Hakkinen going into 130R. Hakkinen lost momentum as a result and Villeneuve also passed him in the Casio Triangle.

Another driver with a lot of ground to gain after the first lap, was Schumacher. The man who carried the number 1 for the last race efficiently sliced through the field in the first stint, taking 6th from Hakkinen in lap 4, 5th from Villeneuve in lap 7, 4th from Alesi one lap later and in lap 9 he was the first of a long train of cars who actually managed to overtake Barrichello. The Brazilian had driven another impressive race up until that point, managing to hold onto a podium position for way longer than the pace of the Jordan should have allowed. In the chasing train, Villeneuve had passed Alesi and after Schumacher's move, the Canadian was the next one to finally beat Barrichello in lap 10. Alesi followed suit as Barrichello had lost some speed trying to defend from Villeneuve. After those position changes, a top 6 of Hill, Herbert, Schumacher, Villeneuve, Alesi and Barrichello settled.

Barrichello's strong race was ended way too soon in lap 14, the Brazilian needing to stop his car due to a water leak. Another strong race went unrewarded for the talented Brazilian. Meanwhile, Herbert was pushing hard to stay close to Hill, but he never was able to really attack his compatriot. Villeneuve was trying to do at least the same to Schumacher, but the Canadian tried too much and ran wide in the first turn in lap 17. He had to go through the gravel and dropped to 7th place - behind Eddie Irvine and Hakkinen - as a result. He recovered by closing the gap to Hakkinen and after a good overtaking manoeuver he was back in the points in lap 21. Villeneuve's problems were not over yet, though: he spun off once more a lap later and he had to retire in lap 23 with a loose wheel. The Canadian commented after the race that he suspected that the issue had bothered him for the entire race.

The entire top 6 was on a one stop strategy, but there was some remarkable variation in the moment when drivers chose to make their stops. Irvine was the first one in lap 27, followed two laps later by his teammate Schumacher. Alesi and Hakkinen followed in lap 33, while Herbert and Hill both stayed out until lap 36 and 37 respectively. Herbert had been very close to Hill before the stops, even attempting an attack into the Casio Triangle, but Hill kept his lead. The pitstops themselves had also not led to any position changes, although the gap between Irvine and Hakkinen was a lot smaller than it had been. The Finn fully closed the gap on track, but Irvine proved to be a tough nut to crack. Hakkinen was right on his tail for almost the whole second half of the race, attacking more and more aggressively, but Irvine kept him behind until lap 51. Just two laps before the finish, Hakkinen finally managed to surprise Irvine with a successfull dummy overtake into the Casio Triangle.

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Damon Hill adds one more win to his brilliant season

Hill had extended the gap to Herbert - who secured 3rd in the championship - and Schumacher in the second stint and won the race unthreatendly. Alesi brought his Benetton home in 4th after an uneventful race, but the season ended with a bang after the top 4 had finished. With two bangs, rather: Hakkinen's engine blew and the Finn had to park his car in a big cloud of smoke, mere corners before he would cross the finish line. Irvine inherited 5th and the only other driver in the lead lap was Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Amazingly, also the Sauber's engine smoked heavily as the German came around the 130R corner, but Frentzen managed to roll across the finish line to take the final point of the season.

Results
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Post-Race Quotes

Damon Hill (1st): "I led every lap today, but that doesn't mean it was always easy. Herbert really put me under pressure here, but I was able to manage a gap, especially in the second stint. I'm glad to have ended a successful season in style."
Johnny Herbert (2nd): "It's good to end the season with a good weekend. We were close to a win, but I fell just short of really challenging Hill today. Anyway, this result gives us some good hopes for next year, despite some difficult times prior to this race."
Michael Schumacher (3rd): "A solid end to an interesting season. I have to admit that I had hoped to win a race this year, but let's now save that for next year. The car has improved a lot during this season, as we could also see today, but again we were close, but not yet close enough to really challenge the Williams."
Nathan van Dijk (retired): "I have to admit that this weekend was a bit underwhelming. I really expected us to be a bit higher up the field, but it was not to be. I did have quite a nice fight with Panis in the race and I was winning it, but my engine decided it was time to end the season earlier than I hoped."
Jos Verstappen (retired): "The last weekend was more of the same for me. Qualifying went pretty well, I was in the race around the positions where I usually was this year and like in so many races, the car didn't make it to the finish. Today's race wouldn't have given us any opportunities to score points anyway, so let's hope for more of those opportunities in 1997."


Drivers' Championship

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Constructors' Championship

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by tBone 13 Jun 2021, 18:33
Press Release - Arrows Hart

Arrows Hart is officially announcing its driver duo for 1997. In the second seat will be the team's current test driver and multiple F3000 race winner Kenny Bräck from Sweden. Kenny has impressed the team in the tests he performed during 1996, which is the main reason he has been given the chance to prove himself on a one-year contract.

Furthermore, Arrows Hart is very proud to confirm the signing of its first driver for next year. 1996 Formula One world champion Damon Hill will join the team on its ambitious path to success. Team principal Tom Walkinshaw commented: "It goes without saying that I am delighted that Damon has agreed to join TWR Arrows. The team's goal is to be F1 world champions in the shortest possible time. Damon's recruitment brings the day when we achieve that goal considerably closer and considering the other attractive options available to him, by joining TWR Damon obviously recognizes the enormous potential of our team."


Press Release - Red Bull Sauber Ford

Red Bull Sauber Ford is happy to announce both its engine partner and its second driver for the future. A new engine project will be set up from 1997 onwards, with the engines being branded as Petronas. For 1997 and 1998, the engines will be based on Ferrari technology. Sauber is confident that this secures a competitive engine for the near future and an ambitious, prosperous new engine for the longer term.

Gerhard Berger, who has enjoyed a satisfying 1996 season, had already been confirmed to stay with the team for another year. Joining him will be one of Formula One's most talented young drivers of the moment: Nathan van Dijk. Van Dijk has shown a lot of promise in especially the last season and in his first test with the Sauber C15 he fully convinced the team of his qualities.

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