1997 F1 World Championship

  • 1997
  • F1
  • F1 World Championship
Champion
Other seasons
Other 1997 Championships
Drivers' Champion
Constructors' Champion
Most Wins
Races
17

Jacques Villeneuve was happy to cultivate an image as F1’s anti-hero during his early Grand Prix career. Cocky, quick and unconventional during that time, he fulfilled the promise of his first season with seven wins during 1997. He entered the season finale at Jerez just one point behind Michael Schumacher’s increasingly competitive Ferrari.

Schumacher may be the leading driver of his generation but his actions at Jerez drew condemnation from all corners of the sport. On lap 48 of the title-deciding race, Villeneuve passed him for the lead. An FIA hearing later ruled that Schumacher responded by deliberately driving into the Williams-Renault in an attempt to eliminate his rival and protect his points lead. He was stripped of all of his season’s points and second position in the championship for driving outside the rules. Meanwhile, Villeneuve finished third in the race to clinch the title.

Villeneuve outperformed his Williams team-mate Heinz-Harald Frentzen, who despite a victory at Imola and podium finishes in six other races, experienced a season hampered by mistakes and incorrect strategy calls. Defending champion Damon Hill moved to the Tom Walkinshaw-owned Arrows-Yamaha team but the combination struggled until Hungary. Suddenly his Bridgestone tyres was the correct rubber that day and Hill led convincingly until mechanical failure on the last lap robbed him of Arrows’s first victory.

McLaren returned to the winners’ circle after 49 unsuccessful races when David Coulthard won in Australia, the first race for new sponsor West. He logged another victory at Monza, while team-mate Mika Hakkinen won for the first time at Jerez when both Villeneuve and Coulthard (who was obeying team orders) let him through in the closing laps.

At Jordan, youth took precedence over experience in 1997. The team hired Giancarlo Fisichella and Ralf Schumacher, two drivers with a total of eight previous GPs between them. They collided during the Argentine GP, but the 21-year-old German recovered to become the youngest podium finisher so far. Technical gurus Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne left Benetton to join Ferrari, but Gerhard Berger did score Benetton’s final GP victory in Germany.

Olivier Panis impressed in the Bridgestone-shod Prost (formerly Ligier) before his season was cut short by injuries sustained in Montreal. Replacement Jarno Trulli confirmed the car’s potential by finishing fourth in Germany and leading a week later in Austria. Rubens Barrichello finished second in Monte Carlo for Jackie Stewart’s new Ford-backed team, but despite good qualifying performances, the team was hampered by poor reliability.

Races

Round Race name Date Circuit Laps Winner

1

Qantas Australian Grand Prix

09/03/1997

Albert Park

58

David Coulthard

West McLaren Mercedes

2

Grande Premio do Brasil

30/03/1997

Interlagos

72

Jacques Villeneuve

Rothmans Williams Renault

3

Gran Premio Marlboro de Argentina

13/04/1997

Buenos Aires

72

Jacques Villeneuve

Rothmans Williams Renault

4

Gran Premio di San Marino

27/04/1997

Imola

62

Heinz-Harald Frentzen

Rothmans Williams Renault

5

Grand Prix de Monaco

11/05/1997

Monte Carlo

62

Michael Schumacher

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

6

Gran Premio Marlboro de Espana

25/05/1997

Catalunya

64

Jacques Villeneuve

Rothmans Williams Renault

7

Grand Prix Player's du Canada

15/06/1997

Montreal

54

Michael Schumacher

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

8

Grand Prix de France

29/06/1997

Magny-Cours

72

Michael Schumacher

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

9

RAC British Grand Prix

13/07/1997

Silverstone

59

Jacques Villeneuve

Rothmans Williams Renault

10

Grosser Mobil 1 Preis von Deutschland

27/07/1997

Hockenheim

45

Gerhard Berger

Mild Seven Benetton Renault

11

Marlboro Magyar Nagydij

10/08/1997

Hungaroring

77

Jacques Villeneuve

Rothmans Williams Renault

12

Grand Prix de Belgique

24/08/1997

Spa-Francorchamps

44

Michael Schumacher

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

13

Gran Premio Campari d'Italia

07/09/1997

Monza

53

David Coulthard

West McLaren Mercedes

14

Grosser Preis von Osterreich

21/09/1997

Spielberg

71

Jacques Villeneuve

Rothmans Williams Renault

15

Grosser Preis von Luxemburg

28/09/1997

Nurburgring

67

Jacques Villeneuve

Rothmans Williams Renault

16

Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix

12/10/1997

Suzuka

53

Michael Schumacher

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

17

Grand Prix of Europe

26/10/1997

Jerez

69

Mika Hakkinen

West McLaren Mercedes

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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