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1996 Australian Grand Prix

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1996 Australian Grand Prix
Race 1 of 16 in the 1996 Formula One World Championship
Albert Lake Park Street Circuit in Melbourne, Australia.svg
Race details
Date 10 March 1996
Location Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit
Melbourne, Australia
Course Temporary street circuit
Course length 5.302 km (3.295 mi)
Distance 58 laps, 307.516 km (191.110 mi)
Weather Dry with temperatures reaching up to 23 °C (73 °F)[1]
Pole position
Driver Williams-Renault
Time 1:32.371
Fastest lap
Driver Canada Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Renault
Time 1:33.421 on lap 27
First Williams-Renault
Second Williams-Renault
Third Ferrari

The 1996 Australian Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Melbourne on 10 March 1996. It was the first race of the 1996 Formula One World Championship, and the first Australian Grand Prix to be held at Melbourne, taking over from Adelaide.

The 58-lap race was won by Damon Hill, driving a Williams-Renault. Hill's teammate Jacques Villeneuve, making his Formula One debut, took pole position and led for most of the race, before an oil leak enabled Hill to catch and pass him in the closing laps. Eddie Irvine finished third in a Ferrari.



This was second grand prix in a row held in Australia, the previous race being the conclusion to the 1995 season.

Taki Inoue was scheduled to race for the Minardi team as a pay driver but when no money materialised prior to the race he was replaced by Fisichella.[2] Marlboro had expressed interest in Fisichella running early on.[3]

The race was the first to use the new race-start system, still used in Formula 1 today,[4] replacing the old red to green light system. Under the new system, five red lights would come on at one second intervals, starting after the last driver reached his grid box. There would then be a pre-determined pause, and then the five lights would go off simultaneously.[5] This was also the first race to have a single qualifying session on Saturday afternoon; the Friday session was dropped.


Jacques Villeneuve, making his début in Formula One, took pole position.

Both Fortis did not make the race due to the new 107% rule for qualifying, which said any car that qualified 107% slower than the pole time (1:38.837 in this race) would be excluded. Incidentally, the team had logged its best result of 7th one race ago at the season-ending 1995 Australian Grand Prix[6]

The measure was introduced as excessively slow entrants presented potential safety hazards due to a high speed difference.[7]

First start

It was an all-Williams front row with Damon Hill and debutant Jacques Villeneuve in the blue and white Rothmans cars. In the first corner Hill was squeezed by Irvine, lost momentum and was overtaken by both Ferraris in the run down going into the third corner. Behind Hill, Alesi sliced across in front of Hakkinen and Barrichello to claim the corner and began a chain reaction of heavy braking as drivers tried to avoid colliding with one another. David Coulthard veered left under braking and his McLaren hit the side of Herbert's Sauber. Herbert tried to avoid the car and braked heavily. Martin Brundle was behind them and unable to slow sufficiently, hitting the rear of Herbert's and Coulthard's cars and was launched into a barrel roll, ending in a sand trap at turn 3 and breaking his car in two. Brundle was unhurt. The race was halted to allow the circuit to be cleared.[8][4]

Second start and abbreviated race summary

The race was restarted. Brundle spun off after light contact with Pedro Diniz. The Williams dominated again, with Jacques Villeneuve leading Hill. Schumacher held on in third place, but dropped back half a minute with his second pit stop. He developed brake problems on lap 28 and retired five laps later. Irvine assumed third, despite contact Jean Alesi's Benetton on lap 6, when Alesi had attempted to pass him. Towards the end of the race Villeneuve was slowed by an oil leak, which allowed Hill to catch and pass him.

Hill took his 14th Grand Prix victory, equaling his father Graham's overall number of wins. Hill took back to back Australian victories, the previous race being the last round of 1995, in Adelaide. In the end, the podium was Hill-Villeneuve-Irvine.



Pos No Driver Constructor Time Gap
1 6 Canada Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Renault 1:32.371
2 5 United Kingdom Damon Hill Williams-Renault 1:32.509 +0.138
3 2 United Kingdom Eddie Irvine Ferrari 1:32.889 +0.518
4 1 Germany Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1:33.125 +0.754
5 7 Finland Mika Häkkinen McLaren-Mercedes 1:34.054 +1.683
6 3 France Jean Alesi Benetton-Renault 1:34.257 +1.886
7 4 Austria Gerhard Berger Benetton-Renault 1:34.344 +1.973
8 11 Brazil Rubens Barrichello Jordan-Peugeot 1:34.474 +2.103
9 15 Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber-Ford 1:34.494 +2.123
10 19 Finland Mika Salo Tyrrell-Yamaha 1:34.832 +2.461
11 9 France Olivier Panis Ligier-Mugen-Honda 1:35.330 +2.959
12 17 Netherlands Jos Verstappen Footwork-Hart 1:35.338 +2.967
13 8 United Kingdom David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes 1:35.351 +2.980
14 14 United Kingdom Johnny Herbert Sauber-Ford 1:35.453 +3.082
15 18 Japan Ukyo Katayama Tyrrell-Yamaha 1:35.715 +3.344
16 21 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella Minardi-Ford 1:35.898 +3.527
17 20 Portugal Pedro Lamy Minardi-Ford 1:36.109 +3.738
18 16 Brazil Ricardo Rosset Footwork-Hart 1:36.198 +3.827
19 12 United Kingdom Martin Brundle Jordan-Peugeot 1:36.286 +3.915
20 10 Brazil Pedro Diniz Ligier-Mugen-Honda 1:36.298 +3.927
107% time: 1:38.837
DNQ 22 Italy Luca Badoer Forti-Ford 1:39.202 +6.831
DNQ 23 Italy Andrea Montermini Forti-Ford 1:42.087 +9.716


Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 5 United Kingdom Damon Hill Williams-Renault 58 1:32:50.491 2 10
2 6 Canada Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Renault 58 + 38.020 1 6
3 2 United Kingdom Eddie Irvine Ferrari 58 + 1:02.571 3 4
4 4 Austria Gerhard Berger Benetton-Renault 58 + 1:17.037 7 3
5 7 Finland Mika Häkkinen McLaren-Mercedes 58 + 1:35.071 5 2
6 19 Finland Mika Salo Tyrrell-Yamaha 57 + 1 Lap 10 1
7 9 France Olivier Panis Ligier-Mugen-Honda 57 + 1 Lap 11  
8 15 Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber-Ford 57 + 1 Lap 9  
9 16 Brazil Ricardo Rosset Footwork-Hart 56 + 2 Laps 18  
10 10 Brazil Pedro Diniz Ligier-Mugen-Honda 56 + 2 Laps 20  
11 18 Japan Ukyo Katayama Tyrrell-Yamaha 55 + 3 Laps 15  
Ret 20 Portugal Pedro Lamy Minardi-Ford 42 Safety belt 17  
Ret 1 Germany Michael Schumacher Ferrari 32 Brakes 4  
Ret 21 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella Minardi-Ford 32 Clutch 16  
Ret 11 Brazil Rubens Barrichello Jordan-Peugeot 29 Engine 8  
Ret 8 United Kingdom David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes 24 Throttle 13  
Ret 17 Netherlands Jos Verstappen Footwork-Hart 15 Engine 12  
Ret 3 France Jean Alesi Benetton-Renault 9 Collision 6  
Ret 12 United Kingdom Martin Brundle Jordan-Peugeot 1 Collision 19  
Ret 14 United Kingdom Johnny Herbert Sauber-Ford 0 Collision 14  
DNQ 22 Italy Luca Badoer Forti-Ford 107% rule
DNQ 23 Italy Andrea Montermini Forti-Ford 107% rule

Championship standings after the race

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


  1. ^ Weather info for the 1996 Australian Grand Prix at Weather Underground
  2. ^ "Minardi to get Fisichella?". 4 March 1996. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  3. ^ "Five drivers bidding for Minardi". 15 January 1996. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Grand Prix Results: Australian GP, 1996". Archived from the original on 6 May 2009. Retrieved 28 May 2009.
  5. ^ "FIA Formula One World Championship – Lights and Pit Lane" (PDF). 14 March 1996. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 March 2005. Retrieved 20 January 2010.
  6. ^ Forti – Team Summary Archived 5 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "107% Disapproval". Autosport.
  8. ^ "Martin Brundle's Melbourne crash". 11 March 1996. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  9. ^ "1996 Australian Grand Prix". Archived from the original on 1 November 2014. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  10. ^ a b "Australia 1996 – Championship • STATS F1". Retrieved 6 March 2019.
Previous race:
1995 Australian Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1996 season
Next race:
1996 Brazilian Grand Prix
Previous race:
1995 Australian Grand Prix
Australian Grand Prix Next race:
1997 Australian Grand Prix
Preceded by
1995 Australian Grand Prix
Formula One Promotional Trophy
for Race Promoter

Succeeded by
1997 Australian Grand Prix
This page was last edited on 23 May 2020, at 10:57
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