2003 Formula One season
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The 2003 Formula One season was the 54th season of FIA Formula One motor racing. It featured the 2003 FIA Formula One World Championship, which commenced on March 9, 2003 and ended on October 12 after sixteen races. World Championship titles were awarded for Drivers and Constructors.
The 2003 season saw the introduction of new regulations intended to increase F1's excitement and to help alleviate the financial difficulties of the smaller teams. One-lap qualifying was introduced as a way for smaller teams to get more television exposure. Optional Friday testing at Grand Prix events was introduced in exchange for fewer miles on stand-alone test days. This was intended to give smaller teams a cheaper alternative to these test days, which were to be banned in 2004. Only one type of wet weather tyre was allowed to be used in wet weather races. The point scoring systems for both the Constructors and Drivers titles were changed from 10, 6, 4, 3, 2, 1 for the first six finishers at each round to 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 for the first eight finishers in an attempt to make the title contests closer.
While Ferrari's Michael Schumacher had won the 2002 championship by 67 points from his team-mate Rubens Barrichello, the 2003 season was much closer. For a great part of the 2003 season, several drivers from several teams had mathematical chances of winning the world championship. Eight different drivers won a Grand Prix, amongst them three first time winners. Kimi Räikkönen, driving for McLaren-Mercedes, and Juan Pablo Montoya, driving for BMW Williams, both had a chance of claiming the 2003 championship until late in the season, with Räikkönen still mathematically in contention at the final race, the Japanese Grand Prix. Räikkönen lost the championship to Schumacher by two points, although he won only one race to Schumacher's six. Ferrari's defence of the constructor's title was challenged throughout the year by Williams and McLaren, one of the few seasons where there were three front running teams.
Notable races include the chaotic Brazilian Grand Prix which was hampered by monsoon conditions, and the British Grand Prix where the track was invaded by the now-defrocked priest Neil Horan, who ran onto the Hangar straight, running towards the 250 km/h train of cars, wearing a green kilt and waving religious banners.
After failing to complete the 2002 season due to financial difficulties, the Arrows team had their application for admission to the 2003 championship rejected by the FIA prior to the season start date. No reason was publicly given by the FIA and Arrows subsequently folded after 25 years in Formula One.
† All engines were 3.0 litre, V10 configuration.
Felipe Massa left his Sauber drive to assume the duties of test driver for Ferrari. Jenson Button left Renault to take Panis's seat at BAR. Fernando Alonso moved up from the Renault test driving slot to a full-time drive, replacing Jenson Button. Heinz-Harald Frentzen joined Sauber to take over from Massa. Frentzen had driven for the Arrows team for part of the 2002 season, but left after the German Grand Prix. The Arrows team folded several days later without contesting another Grand Prix. Takuma Sato left the Jordan team to take the place of several others (Anthony Davidson, Darren Manning, Ryo Fukuda and Patrick Lemarié) as the sole test driver for BAR, being replaced by new driver Ralph Firman.
Toyota announced midway through the 2002 season that both drivers (Mika Salo and Allan McNish) would be replaced. Olivier Panis joined from BAR and Cristiano da Matta signed from the Newman Haas team in the CART series. After being replaced at Toyota, Allan McNish signed with Renault as a test driver. Jaguar replaced both Eddie Irvine and Pedro de la Rosa. Their new drivers were Mark Webber and Antônio Pizzonia. At Minardi, Webber's vacated seat was filled by Justin Wilson. Alex Yoong's Minardi contract from 2002 was not renewed and he was replaced in that team by Jos Verstappen.
|1||Australian Grand Prix||9 March||Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne|
|2||Malaysian Grand Prix||23 March||Sepang International Circuit, Kuala Lumpur|
|3||Brazilian Grand Prix||6 April||Autódromo José Carlos Pace, São Paulo|
|4||San Marino Grand Prix||20 April||Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola|
|5||Spanish Grand Prix||4 May||Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona|
|6||Austrian Grand Prix||18 May||A1-Ring, Spielberg|
|7||Monaco Grand Prix||1 June||Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo|
|8||Canadian Grand Prix||15 June||Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal|
|9||European Grand Prix||29 June||Nürburgring|
|10||French Grand Prix||6 July||Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, Magny-Cours|
|11||British Grand Prix||20 July||Silverstone Circuit|
|12||German Grand Prix||3 August||Hockenheimring|
|13||Hungarian Grand Prix||24 August||Hungaroring, Budapest|
|14||Italian Grand Prix||14 September||Autodromo Nazionale Monza|
|15||United States Grand Prix||28 September||Indianapolis Motor Speedway|
|16||Japanese Grand Prix||12 October||Suzuka Circuit|
- There was no Belgian Grand Prix during the 2003 season, because of the country's tobacco laws, and that several teams (Ferrari, McLaren, Renault, BAR and Jordan) were in violation of these laws due to their then sponsorship. This was later rectified and F1 was allowed to return to Spa-Francorchamps in 2004.
Bold – Pole
† Drivers did not finish the Grand Prix, but were classified as they completed over 90% of the race distance.
- Drivers Championship points were awarded on a 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis to the first eight finishers in each race.
- Constructors Championship points were awarded on a 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis to the first eight finishers in each race.
- Pizzonia was offered a test driving role at Jaguar but turned it down, and would later resurface as a test driver at BMW-Williams.
- Williams driver Marc Gené replaced Ralf Schumacher, in Italy.
- Ralph Firman suffered injuries as a result of a crash during practice in Hungary. He was replaced by Zsolt Baumgartner for two races before returning to finish the season in the EJ13.
- Having started the season driving for Minardi, Justin Wilson later joined the Jaguar team and filled in for the under-performing Antônio Pizzonia for the last 5 races of the season.
- After a string of disappointing results in 2003, Jacques Villeneuve was replaced at BAR by test driver Takuma Sato for the Japanese GP. Villeneuve would later drive for Renault in 2004 as a replacement driver, and sign a multi-year contract at Sauber for 2005 (though he was replaced in 2006).
- Denmark's Nicolas Kiesa took over Wilson's vacated seat in the Minardi.
- Renault took part in the Friday testing session. People thought it was odd because not only were they a manufacturer, they would also get fewer testing miles. However, Mike Gascoyne the technical director for Renault in 2003 said that not only did Renault save money, Renault also got more testing mileage out of their cars.
- formula1.com – 2003 official driver standings
- formula1.com – 2003 official team standings
- 2003 Formula One image gallery Retrieved from www.motorsport.com on 13 October 2009
- 2003 Formula One Technical Regulations Retrieved from web.archive.org on 13 October 2009
- Anointed test driver for one race in 2003
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: 2003 in Formula One|
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