1996 F1 World Championship

  • 1996
  • F1
  • F1 World Championship
Champion
Other seasons
Other 1996 Championships
Drivers' Champion
Constructors' Champion
Most Wins
Races
16

With Michael Schumacher seduced by the prospect of returning Ferrari to World Championship success (and a reputed $25m annual salary), Williams began 1996 as overwhelming favourites for the title. Damon Hill emerged from two years in the German’s shadow to win six times and clinch the championship some 28 years after his father Graham’s second title. Even so, Hill would be dropped from the 1997 Williams line-up.

For this season Hill was joined at Williams by another son with a famous racing name. Jacques Villeneuve arrived as reigning Champ Car Champion and Indianapolis 500 winner and immediately impressed. He qualified for his debut in Australia on pole position and would have won but for falling oil pressure. He later withstood Schumacher’s challenge at the Nurburgring to win on only his fourth GP start. Another three victories maintained Villeneuve’s challenge until the very last race.

Schumacher finished third in the championship in his first season at Ferrari. He scored the first of three wins after a wet-weather performance in Spain that ranked among the greatest ever. He also scored victories at Monza and Belgium but poor reliability and an uncharacteristic mistake at Monaco prevented a sustained challenge.

Benetton not only suffered from the loss of Schumacher but also the reliability that had helped secure the title a year earlier. Jean Alesi and Gerhard Berger arrived from Ferrari: Alesi would have won in Monaco but for suspension failure and a blown engine three laps from the finish at Hockenheim denied Berger a certain win.

Although McLaren would also endure a year without victory, the team was boosted by the remarkable return of Mika Hakkinen after his life-threatening injuries at the final race of 1995. His drive to third at Monza after being delayed by a broken front wing was the highlight of a promising season. David Coulthard led at Imola after a demon start and finished second at Monaco when he could have won. Here Olivier Panis profited from the misfortunes of others, and with some opportune passing, scored Ligier’s first victory in 15 years.

The most memorable moments in a poor season for Jordan were Martin Brundle’s huge accident in the opening laps in Melbourne and Rubens Barrichello qualifying on the front row for his home race three weeks later. Heinz-Harald Frentzen was in the spotlight after he was named Hill’s replacement at Williams, but his final year with Sauber had been a disappointment.

Entry into Formula 1 was now restricted to 12 team franchises although all 12 were not filled for the whole season until 2010.

Races

Round Race name Date Circuit Laps Winner

1

Transurban Australian Grand Prix

10/03/1996

Albert Park

58

Damon Hill

Rothmans Williams Renault

2

Grande Premio do Brasil

31/03/1996

Interlagos

71

Damon Hill

Rothmans Williams Renault

3

Gran Premio Marlboro de Argentina

07/04/1996

Buenos Aires

72

Damon Hill

Rothmans Williams Renault

4

Grosser Preis von Europa

28/04/1996

Nurburgring

67

Jacques Villeneuve

Rothmans Williams Renault

5

Gran Premio di San Marino

05/05/1996

Imola

63

Damon Hill

Rothmans Williams Renault

6

Grand Prix de Monaco

19/05/1996

Monte Carlo

75

Olivier Panis

Ligier Gauloises Blondes

7

Gran Premio Marlboro de Espana

02/06/1996

Catalunya

65

Michael Schumacher

Scuderia Ferrari

8

Grand Prix Molson du Canada

16/06/1996

Montreal

69

Damon Hill

Rothmans Williams Renault

9

Grand Prix de France

30/06/1996

Magny-Cours

72

Damon Hill

Rothmans Williams Renault

10

British Grand Prix

14/07/1996

Silverstone

61

Jacques Villeneuve

Rothmans Williams Renault

11

Grosser Mobil 1 Preis von Deutschland

28/07/1996

Hockenheim

45

Damon Hill

Rothmans Williams Renault

12

Marlboro Magyar Nagydij

11/08/1996

Hungaroring

77

Jacques Villeneuve

Rothmans Williams Renault

13

Grand Prix de Belgique

25/08/1996

Spa-Francorchamps

44

Michael Schumacher

Scuderia Ferrari

14

Pioneer Gran Premio d'Italia

08/09/1996

Monza

53

Michael Schumacher

Scuderia Ferrari

15

Grande Premio de Portugal

22/09/1996

Estoril

70

Jacques Villeneuve

Rothmans Williams Renault

16

Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix

13/10/1996

Suzuka

52

Damon Hill

Rothmans Williams Renault

3,128

Championships

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12,833

Results

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15,933

Drivers

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8,248

Teams

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856

Circuits

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