The season is 'Bourne

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
All but twice in the last 15 years has the season started in the Victorian capital of Melbourne since it took over from Adelaide in 1996. So, here is a reminder of the first race in Melbourne in years gone by.

In 1996, it seemed a star was born, as Jacques Villeneuve took pole at Albert Park on his début, joining Carlos Reutemann and Mario Andretti in that exclusive club.

But Villeneuve wasn't the only thing new, with the 107% rule catching out the Forti cars of Badoer and Montermini, and the new "5 Red Lights" start procedure. It was time for World Champion Michael Schumacher's new start with the Ferrari team - 17 years since their last World Drivers' Champion.

He was outqualified by team-mate Eddie Irvine to start with, with the Williams' half a second clear. Schumacher's breaks failed in the race, giving Irvine a podium on Ferrari debut, and leaving Schumacher's revolution for another day.

Villeneuve, meanwhile led away, but his dream was shattered 4 laps from the end by an oil leak which gave Damon Hill the win. Karma would be restored in Hungary the next year...

All three podium finishers would be out by turn 1 in 1997! Hill's Arrows throttle broke before the race, whilst Irvine crashed into Villeneuve and Johnny Herbert at the first. Though Frentzen initally led, it was David Coulthard who took McLaren's first win for 4 years.

The next year, McLaren would be even stronger, and lapped the whole field. Mika Hakkinen got to turn 1 first, and due to a driver agreement took the race by team orders after an error in the pitlane led to Coulthard leading. Michael Schumacher retired early, and he was McLaren's challenge for the rest of the year...

Schumacher was to suffer more bad luck in 1999, stalling on the grid. Again, the Silver Arrows were dominant, with Hakkinen over a second in front of the German in 3rd. But both McLarens failed to finish, Eddie Irvine taking the win in the year he became a surprise title contender.

McLaren took a half second qualifying lead in to the 2000 race too, but two Mercedes failures gifted Schumacher the win. 2001 was sadder, with a collision involving Jacques Villeneuve and Ralf Schumacher causing a freak accident fatal to a marshal. Schumacher won from pole, on a race that saw the debut of his two Ferrari successors, Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso.

Rubens Barrichello started from pole for the Scuderia in 2002. Schumacher started poorly and thus was, unlike his team-mate, not rear-ended by Ralf! Half the field were eliminated in the ensuing carnage, and Michael took the win.

2003 saw McLaren's MP4-17D recover from a poor first single-lap qualification, pit on lap 1 and win the race though David Coulthard with his team-mate in 3rd position, after Juan Montoya spun 6 laps from home. The MP4-17D became the unlikely star of the season, ensuring the MP4-18 never appeared on track.

A year later, we were introduced to the F2004, half a second clear of its nearest rival Montoya in qualifying. Schumacher led home a one-two which typified that particular season as much as an engine failure for McLaren-Mercedes' Kimi Raikkonen on lap 9.

The aggregate single-lap system was delivered its ultimate denouncement in 2005, when a rain-storm allowed Giancarlo Fisichella's poor performance at the 2004 Brazilian GP to be rewarded with a pole, whilst team-mate Alonso and particularly Michael Schumacher raced in the wet on Saturday. Sunday's session was killed stone dead (and abandoned by the Nurburgring anyway), and Fisi had enough of a buffer to win the race. Eddie Irvine had outqualified Schumi on his Ferrari debut in Melbourne, Fisi got himself a similar false dawn.

A Commonwealth Games enforced move in 2006 meant the next opener in Melbourne saw Lewis Hamilton's debut and first podium, as Kimi Raikkonen won first time out for the Prancing Horse. Honda were outqualified by their 2006 car in the form of Super Aguri, and this signified the future for the Earth Car.

In 2008, the first podium was reserved for Nico Rosberg, but the winner was Lewis Hamilton, ahead of Nick Heidfeld. Ferrari scored only one point to show little hint of their challenge for the title that year, as BMW were the runners-up to McLaren in qualifying and the race. Felipe Massa might have got that extra point had he not carelessly crashed into David Coulthard, who went live on air to threaten the Brazilian with a beating.

Well I had Honda in as TBC originally but surely now it's too late for them to make the grid in Melbourne?
I can't help wondering, too, if Brawn are chasing headline times for sponsorship purposes..
In 2009, the doubts were banished about Brawn GP, who not only existed but Button was half a second clear of third placed man Vettel. Barrichello was lucky to come 2nd after two extremely talented drivers (Vettel and Kubica) ended each others races in a collision and knocked both off the podium. The big story was Lewis Hamilton's lie, but Toyota's back-to-front race suggested things from them that never really materialised.

And they're Melbourne's openers in the smallest of nutshells. Apologies to Brogan and Galahad for the doubts, we all said similar things!
 

snowy

Champion Elect
In 1996 you forgot to mention Martin Brundle's almighty crash, launched into the air somersaulting into the gravel at turn 3. It was horrific to watch I can tell you. But heroically he leapt out of the shattered Jordan and ran all the way back to the pits to get in the spare (they had them in those days) and take the restart. It very stirring listening to all those people cheering and applauding him. It brings a lump to my throat thinking about it now.


It looked a lot worse from where I was standing I can tell you, and it also smelt horrific.
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
Thanks, snowy, I forgot about that (obviously). Here's Ralf and Rubens quite frightening crash from 2002.

 

Speshal

World Champion
Valued Member
Cracking round up there TBY :D

In 1996 you forgot to mention Martin Brundle's almighty crash, launched into the air somersaulting into the gravel at turn 3. It was horrific to watch I can tell you.
I did used to get my goat that certain people in the other place used to say "Brudle don't no whut hes talkin about" and them having never seen that clip.

I too remember it vividly as it was a mate's birthday party and a few of us slunk (slinked?) off in the wee small hours to sit in front of the TV - and as Senna's crash was still fairly recent we were sure he was a gonner and for him to jump out and leg it for the pits got a cheer from us.
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
I too remember it vividly as it was a mate's birthday party and a few of us slunk (slinked?) off in the wee small hours to sit in front of the TV - and as Senna's crash was still fairly recent we were sure he was a gonner and for him to jump out and leg it for the pits got a cheer from us.
In my time watching F1, which started a little bit after that one, I can remember thinking someone was in serious trouble on few occasions. Massa's crash at Hungary in 2009 got that sinking feeling as did Kubica's at Canada in 2008. But the one I really recall vividly thinking a driver was dying was this one (about 40 seconds in):

 

Enja

isn't dead.
Valued Member
I have nothing to add but when I saw the thread title I immediately said to myself,

Maaatt Damooon
 

MCLS

Anti F1 fan
Valued Member
Thank god common sense has prevailed, now at least the first race is going to be exciting
 

Jen

Here be dragons.
Contributor
FB and Chad - excitement all round, if only 'cos we have waited for so long
 

ATL11

Podium Finisher
In my time watching F1, which started a little bit after that one, I can remember thinking someone was in serious trouble on few occasions. Massa's crash at Hungary in 2009 got that sinking feeling as did Kubica's at Canada in 2008. But the one I really recall vividly thinking a driver was dying was this one (about 40 seconds in):

always thought Burti was a lucky bloke in this crash with Irvine.....a little to the left and this this bloke was going to hit a lot less tyres! If you look at the feed and 1m 53 in, you can see how close he was to going from a barrier 4 tyres deep to just a single set, he'd of been in the Woods if he'd hit them......
 
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