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1999 French Grand Prix

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1999 French Grand Prix
Race 7 of 16 in the 1999 Formula One World Championship
Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours (last modified in 1992)
Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours (last modified in 1992)
Race details
Date 27 June 1999
Official name LXXXV Mobil 1 Grand Prix de France
Location Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, Magny-Cours, France
Course Permanent racing facility
Course length 4.250 km (2.641 mi)
Distance 72 laps, 305.814 km (190.140 mi)
Weather Overcast, mild, dry at first, rain later on
Pole position
Driver Stewart-Ford
Time 1:38.441
Fastest lap
Driver United Kingdom David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes
Time 1:19.227 on lap 8
First Jordan-Mugen-Honda
Second McLaren-Mercedes
Third Stewart-Ford

The 1999 French Grand Prix (formally the LXXXV Mobil 1 Grand Prix de France) was a Formula One motor race held on 27 June 1999 at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours near Magny-Cours, France. It was the seventh race of the 1999 Formula One season. The 72-lap race was won by Heinz-Harald Frentzen driving a Jordan car after starting from fifth position. Mika Häkkinen finished second driving for McLaren, with Rubens Barrichello finishing third for the Stewart team. The remaining points-scoring positions were filled by Ralf Schumacher (Williams), Michael Schumacher (Ferrari), Eddie Irvine (Ferrari).

As a consequence of the race, Häkkinen extended his lead in the World Drivers' Championship to eight points over Schumacher, with Irvine a further 14 behind. In the World Constructors' Championship, McLaren reduced the lead over Ferrari to six points with Williams passing Benetton for fourth position, 43 points behind Ferrari.



Heading into the seventh round of the season, McLaren driver Mika Häkkinen was leading the World Drivers' Championship with 34 points; Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher was second on 30 points, 4 points behind Häkkinen. Behind Häkkinen and Schumacher in the Drivers' Championship, Eddie Irvine was third on 25 points in the other Ferrari, with Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Giancarlo Fisichella both on 13 points. In the Constructors' Championship, Ferrari were leading on 55 points and McLaren were second on 46 points, with Jordan third on 16 points.

Following the Canadian Grand Prix on 13 June, the teams conducted testing sessions at the Magny-Cours circuit from 16–18 June. David Coulthard (McLaren) set the fastest time on the first day, while Eddie Irvine was fastest on the second and final day of testing.[1] Williams made modifications to the suspension of their cars, resulting in several spins. Among the other teams, Minardi elected to perform aerodynamic mapping work at the Automotive Safety Center using their test driver Gastón Mazzacane. Arrows performed shakedown runs at the Santa Pod Raceway.[2]

On 16 June, Jordan driver and 1996 World Drivers' Champion Damon Hill announced that he would retire from Formula One racing at the end of the season.[3] Hill later said a factor in his decision was the amount of testing undertaken by the teams and his own personal performance during the season, although he considered retiring with immediate effect.[4]

Practice and qualifying

Two practice sessions were held before the Sunday race—one on Friday from 11:00 to 14:00 local time, and a second on Saturday morning between 09:00 to 11:00. The first practice session took place in dry conditions. The ambient temperature was 24 °C (75 °F).[5]

The second practice session was held in overcast and wet weather conditions, with a drop in the track temperature to 19 °C (66 °F) and the ambient temperature to 20 °C (68 °F).[5]

Rubens Barrichello, who took pole position in his Stewart car
Rubens Barrichello, who took pole position in his Stewart car

Saturday afternoon's qualifying session was held from 13:00 to 14:00 local time. Each driver was limited to twelve laps with the implementation of a 107% rule to exclude slow drivers from competing in the race. The session was held in wet conditions; the ambient and track temperature were both 18 °C (64 °F).[5] Rubens Barrichello clinched his first pole position of the season, in his Stewart, in a time of 1:38.441. He was joined on the front row by Jean Alesi, who was four-tenths of a second behind. Olivier Panis was third in his Prost.[6] Coulthard took fourth despite going into the gravel and spinning off late in the session. Heinz-Harald Frentzen was fifth, with Michael Schumacher completing the top six.[7]

Due to the wet conditions, a then-record five drivers - Damon Hill, Marc Gené, Luca Badoer, Pedro de la Rosa, and Toranosuke Takagi - all failed to meet the 107% time. Hill missed out by just three milliseconds, the slimmest-ever margin. Due to the wet conditions, and the drivers' competitiveness in practice, all five drivers were permitted to race due to "exceptional circumstances".[8]


On Sunday morning, a pre-race warm up session took place at 09:30 local time, and lasted for 30 minutes. It took place in wet weather conditions, with the track temperature at 15 °C (59 °F) and the ambient temperature was 14 °C (57 °F).[5] Coulthard set the fastest lap with a time of 1:32.091. He was followed on the timesheets by Ferrari drivers Irvine and Michael Schumacher who completed the top three positions.[9]

The race took place in the afternoon from 14:00 local time, and started on a dry track, with an ambient temperature of 19 °C (66 °F) and a track temperature of 20 °C (68 °F).[5] Rubens Barrichello managed to get away quickly to maintain first position.[10] Jean Alesi, starting second, was slower than Barrichello and held up drivers after the start. David Coulthard was able to pass Alesi on lap two. Mika Häkkinen stormed up through the field from his starting position of fourteenth to ninth place by lap two.[8] Häkkinen caught and passed Olivier Panis for sixth place and then caught Michael Schumacher in fifth on lap five. As this happened Herbert retired thanks to a gearbox problem. Coulthard passed Barrichello on lap six by outbraking him into the Adelaide hairpin.[8] And then Diniz retired thanks to transmission failure on lap 7. Mika Häkkinen attempted to pass Michael Schumacher on lap nine by slipstreaming him down the long straight before the Adelaide hairpin, but was on the outside coming into Adelaide and Schumacher was able to stay just ahead. Häkkinen repeated the move on the very next lap, this time to the inside, and was able to stay in front of Schumacher. Schumacher at this point was struggling on a car that was set up for a wet race.[10]

David Coulthard suffered a complete electrical failure (alternator failure) on lap 10 and retired, giving the lead back to Rubens Barrichello.[10] Mika Häkkinen caught Heinz-Harald Frentzen on lap 12, then hounded him for three laps before passing him in a repeat of the move he had pulled on Michael Schumacher earlier.[8] Frentzen tried to fight back, and was able to pull alongside Häkkinen, but Häkkinen's inside line through turn six cemented his position. Behind in the midfield Irvine overtook another car. This time it was Alexander Wurz in the Benetton. On Lap 16 Häkkinen caught up with Jean Alesi quickly, but was stuck behind him for several more laps. Häkkinen used the slipstream to pull alongside Alesi on lap 19, but they both locked up into Adelaide and only barely made the corner.[8] Häkkinen was able to stay ahead, and began to chase down Barrichello, four and a half seconds ahead.

Rain began to fall on lap 21. Eddie Irvine pulled into the pits just as the rain started, but Ferrari was not ready for him and his pit stop took 43 seconds (42.9) after his mechanics initially put a fresh set of dry-weather tyres on his car.[8] Well after the Irvine pit stop disaster happened Giancarlo Fisichella spun, without retiring. A scramble into the pits ensued, but the leaders were all able to hold their positions. One lap after Hill pitted he got a puncture, because he hit a wall. Jean Alesi spun out of third place on lap 25 in Chateaux d'Eau and retired, because he beached his car in the gravel. The safety car was then deployed due to the amount of water on the track.[8] On Lap 26 Villeneuve pitted for wet tyres, and before Villeneuve pitted Zonta spun. The amount of water on the track was so great that four drivers – Jacques Villeneuve, Alexander Wurz, Marc Gené and Alessandro Zanardi – spun while following the safety car.[10] On Lap 29 Takagi pitted for a new nose. Damon Hill retired with electrical failure while behind the safety car.[10] The safety car came in at the end of lap 35. The restart went cleanly, with no place changes amongst the front-runners.

Mika Häkkinen made a dive-bomb attempt to pass Rubens Barrichello under braking into Adelaide on lap 38, but he put his inside wheels up onto the curbing and spun the car a full 360 degrees.[8][10] Mika Häkkinen fell to seventh place. Michael Schumacher passed Heinz-Harald Frentzen through Adelaide on the next lap.[8] Schumacher made a very late braking move to momentarily pass Barrichello into Adelaide on lap 42, but he went very wide and Barrichello cut back under Schumacher to retake the lead. Schumacher repeated the move two laps later, but this time he didn't go wide and was able to gain first place.[8]

Heinz-Harald Frentzen. who won the race by 11 seconds (picture taken in 2006 while driving for Audi in the DTM series)
Heinz-Harald Frentzen. who won the race by 11 seconds (picture taken in 2006 while driving for Audi in the DTM series)

After 47 laps, a long train formed behind Olivier Panis in fourth, with Ralf Schumacher, Eddie Irvine, and Mika Häkkinen being held up behind him.[8] Ralf Schumacher got past Panis on lap 50, and then Irvine came into the pits, sticking with wet tyres. Häkkinen got a good run out of Adelaide on lap 51 and passed Panis for fifth place into Nurburgring corner. On the same lap, Michael Schumacher suffered an electrical malfunction and lost most of his eight-second lead to Rubens Barrichello.[10] He pitted three laps later, changing his steering wheel in addition to tyres.[8] Mika Häkkinen got past Heinz-Harald Frentzen for second place on lap 57, with Frentzen running wide at Adelaide. Häkkinen passed Barrichello on lap 60 to retake the lead.[8]

Mika Häkkinen and Rubens Barrichello pitted for extra fuel on lap 66, which let Heinz-Harald Frentzen through into the lead.[11] During Frentzen's one and only pit stop to change onto wet tyres, the Jordan team had fortuitously filled his car with enough fuel to finish the race.[8] Ralf Schumacher passed Michael Schumacher on lap 70, with Michael Schumacher appearing to still have car trouble. Frentzen won the race after 72 laps to secure his first victory of the season in a time of 1:58.24.343. Häkkinen held position to finish second, with Barrichello third, 43 seconds behind.[12]


The top three finishers appeared on the podium and in the subsequent press conference.

Damon Hill hinted after the race that this one could have been his last, or if he did compete at Silverstone in the next race he might leave Formula One afterwards.[8]

Toranosuke Takagi was disqualified for using tyres which had been marked for his team-mate, Pedro de la Rosa.[13]

As a consequence of the race, Häkkinen extended his lead in the World Drivers' Championship to eight points over Schumacher, with Irvine a further 14 behind. In the World Constructors' Championship, McLaren reduced the lead over Ferrari to six points with Williams passing Benetton for fourth position, 43 points behind Ferrari.



Pos No Driver Constructor Lap Gap Grid
1 16 Brazil Rubens Barrichello Stewart-Ford 1:38.441   1
2 11 France Jean Alesi Sauber-Petronas 1:38.881 +0.440 2
3 18 France Olivier Panis Prost-Peugeot 1:40.400 +1.959 3
4 2 United Kingdom David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes 1:40.403 +1.962 4
5 8 Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen Jordan-Mugen-Honda 1:40.690 +2.249 5
6 3 Germany Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1:41.127 +2.686 6
7 9 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella Benetton-Playlife 1:41.825 +3.384 7
8 19 Italy Jarno Trulli Prost-Peugeot 1:42.096 +3.655 8
9 17 United Kingdom Johnny Herbert Stewart-Ford 1:42.199 +3.758 9
10 23 Brazil Ricardo Zonta BAR-Supertec 1:42.228 +3.787 10
11 12 Brazil Pedro Diniz Sauber-Petronas 1:42.942 +4.501 11
12 22 Canada Jacques Villeneuve BAR-Supertec 1:43.748 +5.307 12
13 10 Austria Alexander Wurz Benetton-Playlife 1:44.319 +5.878 13
14 1 Finland Mika Häkkinen McLaren-Mercedes 1:44.368 +5.927 14
15 5 Italy Alessandro Zanardi Williams-Supertec 1:44.912 +6.471 15
16 6 Germany Ralf Schumacher Williams-Supertec 1:45.189 +6.748 16
17 4 United Kingdom Eddie Irvine Ferrari 1:45.218 +6.777 17
107% time: 1:45.332
18 1 7 United Kingdom Damon Hill Jordan-Mugen-Honda 1:45.334 +6.893 18
19 1 21 Spain Marc Gené Minardi-Ford 1:46.324 +7.883 22
20 1 20 Italy Luca Badoer Minardi-Ford 1:46.784 +8.343 21
21 1 14 Spain Pedro de la Rosa Arrows 1:48.215 +9.774 19
22 1 15 Japan Toranosuke Takagi Arrows 1:48.322 +9.881 20
1.^ -Due to the poor weather conditions, all cars from 18th to 22nd on the grid failed to qualify within the 107% rule. However, the stewards chose to waive the rule due to the spacing of the entire field caused by the weather problems. They were ordered in grid by free practice times, therefore Hill started 18th, de la Rosa 19th, Takagi 20th, Badoer 21st and Gené 22nd.


Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 8 Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen Jordan-Mugen-Honda 72 1:58:24.343 5 10
2 1 Finland Mika Häkkinen McLaren-Mercedes 72 +11.092 14 6
3 16 Brazil Rubens Barrichello Stewart-Ford 72 +43.432 1 4
4 6 Germany Ralf Schumacher Williams-Supertec 72 +45.475 16 3
5 3 Germany Michael Schumacher Ferrari 72 +47.881 6 2
6 4 United Kingdom Eddie Irvine Ferrari 72 +48.901 17 1
7 19 Italy Jarno Trulli Prost-Peugeot 72 +57.771 8  
8 18 France Olivier Panis Prost-Peugeot 72 +58.531 3  
9 23 Brazil Ricardo Zonta BAR-Supertec 72 +1:28.764 10  
10 20 Italy Luca Badoer Minardi-Ford 71 +1 Lap 21  
11 14 Spain Pedro de la Rosa Arrows 71 +1 Lap 19  
Ret 9 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella Benetton-Playlife 42 Spun off 7  
Ret 7 United Kingdom Damon Hill Jordan-Mugen-Honda 31 Electrical 18  
Ret 5 Italy Alessandro Zanardi Williams-Supertec 26 Engine 15  
Ret 22 Canada Jacques Villeneuve BAR-Supertec 25 Spun off 12  
Ret 10 Austria Alexander Wurz Benetton-Playlife 25 Spun off 13  
Ret 21 Spain Marc Gené Minardi-Ford 25 Spun off 22  
Ret 11 France Jean Alesi Sauber-Petronas 24 Spun off 2  
Ret 2 United Kingdom David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes 9 Electrical 4  
Ret 12 Brazil Pedro Diniz Sauber-Petronas 6 Transmission 11  
Ret 17 United Kingdom Johnny Herbert Stewart-Ford 4 Gearbox 9  
DSQ 15 Japan Toranosuke Takagi Arrows 71 Wrong tyres 20  

Championship standings after the race

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


  1. ^ Lupini, Michele. "Ready, Eddie, Go!". Atlas F1 Autosport. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  2. ^ "Irvine tops testing at Magny-Cours". 21 June 1999. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  3. ^ "End of the road for Hill". BBC News (BBC). 16 June 1999. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  4. ^ "Damon Hill Retirement Announcement". 25 June 1999. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Grand Prix of France". Gale Force F1. Archived from the original on 11 August 2006. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  6. ^ "Rain hits French GP qualifier". BBC News (BBC). 26 June 1999. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  7. ^ "Barrichello, Alesi front row". Gale Force F1. 26 June 1999. Archived from the original on 11 August 2006. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Grand Prix of France Review". Autosport Atlas F1. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  9. ^ "Coulthard on top in warm-up". Autosport (Haymarket Publications). 27 June 1999. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g "Formula One's Greatest Races: The 1999 French Grand Prix". Formula One's Greatest Races. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  11. ^ "French Grand Prix, 1999 Race Report". GP Encyclopedia. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  12. ^ a b "1999 French Grand Prix". Archived from the original on 9 January 2015. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  13. ^ "Takagi Disqualified | F1 News | Jun 1999". Crash.Net. 28 June 1999. Retrieved 28 July 2012.
  14. ^ "1999 French GP". Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  15. ^ "1999 French GP". Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  16. ^ a b "France 1999 - Championship • STATS F1". Retrieved 17 March 2019.

Previous race:
1999 Canadian Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1999 season
Next race:
1999 British Grand Prix
Previous race:
1998 French Grand Prix
French Grand Prix Next race:
2000 French Grand Prix
This page was last edited on 29 July 2020, at 15:11
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