2003 F1 World Championship

  • 2003
  • F1
  • F1 World Championship
Champion
Other seasons
Other 2003 Championships
Drivers' Champion
Constructors' Champion
Most Wins
Races
16

Michael Schumacher won the World Championship once more but this was a far more competitive season than before. Eight drivers from five different teams won races and new McLaren superstar Kimi Raikkonen challenged for the title race until the final weekend.

The new Ferrari F2003-GA was only deemed reliable enough to race from the Spanish Grand Prix and Schumacher promptly won the next three races. However, any thoughts of another runaway success were soon dashed. When Schumacher’s Bridgestone-shod Ferrari finished a lapped eighth in Hungary, the title momentum seemed to be with Michelin’s McLaren-Mercedes, Williams-BMW and Renault teams.

That was something of a wakeup call and the German’s cause was helped by an FIA ruling that forced Michelin to change its tyre construction before the Italian GP. Schumacher duly won the next two races and clinched the title by just two points at the Japanese finale. Rubens Barrichello stepped out of Schumacher’s shadow to win from pole position at Silverstone (on the day that Father Neil Horan’s one-man track invasion threw the race into chaos) and in Japan.

The radical new McLaren MP4/18 never raced but David Coulthard and Kimi Raikkonen won the opening two rounds in Australia and Malaysia with an updated 2002 car. Neither stood on the top step of the podium again but seven second place finishes, and a new points system that rewarded consistency rather than victories, kept Raikkonen in the hunt all season. The taciturn Finn eventually finished as championship runner-up in just his third F1 season.

The Williams FW25-BMW was ready for the start of the season although the team was unable to take full advantage of their rival’s delays. Both Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher won twice but the former lost possible further victories with a couple of errors and a drive through penalty in America while the German was just too inconsistent. They were classified in a disappointing third and fifth positions respectively.

In Fernando Alonso, Renault discovered a true world class star. The highlight was his dominant lights-to-flag victory in Hungary that made him the youngest F1 winner so far – replacing Bruce McLaren in the record books almost 44 years after the New Zealander’s maiden win.

Jordan’s Giancarlo Fisichella scored a bizarre first victory despite retiring from the wet Brazilian GP just as Alonso crashed into Mark Webber’s stricken Jaguar. With the race abandoned, Fisichella was only announced as the winner two weeks later, belatedly receiving his trophy on the Imola startline.

Jenson Button outperformed Jacques Villeneuve at BAR-Honda. The Englishman led the United States GP at Indianapolis and seemed set for a first podium finish before retiring. The mayhem that was the British GP even allowed the cash-rich but underwhelming Toyota team run 1-2 for a time. They qualified well in Japan but neither Olivier Panis nor debutant Cristiano da Matta could finish better than fifth during the campaign.

New single-car qualifying rules were introduced to ensure on-track action throughout the hour. Drivers ran on their own to set their qualifying time with cars then held in parc ferme until the race. That meant drivers qualified with their car fuelled for its first race stint. It was an initiative that brought some welcome unpredictability and strategy to the weekend. New rules banning electronic driver aids were due at the British GP but did not materialise.

Races

Round Race name Date Circuit Laps Winner

1

Foster's Australian Grand Prix

09/03/2003

Albert Park

58

David Coulthard

West McLaren Mercedes

2

Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix

23/03/2003

Sepang

56

Kimi Raikkonen

West McLaren Mercedes

3

Grande Premio do Brasil

06/04/2003

Interlagos

54

Giancarlo Fisichella

Jordan Ford

4

Gran Premio Foster's di San Marino

20/04/2003

Imola

62

Michael Schumacher

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

5

Gran Premio Marlboro de Espana

04/05/2003

Catalunya

65

Michael Schumacher

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

6

Grosser A1 Preis von Osterreich

18/05/2003

Spielberg

69

Michael Schumacher

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

7

Grand Prix de Monaco

01/06/2003

Monte Carlo

78

Juan Pablo Montoya

BMW Williams F1

8

Grand Prix Air Canada

15/06/2003

Montreal

70

Michael Schumacher

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

9

Grosser Allianz Preis von Europa

29/06/2003

Nurburgring

60

Ralf Schumacher

BMW Williams F1

10

Mobil 1 Grand Prix de France

06/07/2003

Magny-Cours

70

Ralf Schumacher

BMW Williams F1

11

Foster's British Grand Prix

20/07/2003

Silverstone

60

Rubens Barrichello

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

12

Grosser Mobil 1 Preis von Deutschland

03/08/2003

Hockenheim

67

Juan Pablo Montoya

BMW Williams F1

13

Marlboro Magyar Nagydij

24/08/2003

Hungaroring

70

Fernando Alonso

Mild Seven Renault F1

14

Gran Premio Vodafone d'Italia

14/09/2003

Monza

53

Michael Schumacher

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

15

United States Grand Prix

28/09/2003

Indianapolis

73

Michael Schumacher

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

16

Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix

12/10/2003

Suzuka

53

Rubens Barrichello

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

3,128

Championships

View

12,833

Results

View

15,933

Drivers

View

8,248

Teams

View

856

Circuits

View