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The madness that was the 1997 F1 season

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#1 Alfisti

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Posted 03 October 2022 - 12:44

I have F1 TV so been watching the race highlights and I had zero recollection of just how insane this season was. The grid positions from race to race were pretty much chucked in a blender, i mean there was some sense of pecking order but other than the Tyrell's and Minardi's, everyone popped their heads up at some point. A team like say Jordan, they could qualify 4th and 6th then next race 13th and 17th, it was absolutely bizarre compared to modern day F1. 


I realise the tyre war had a lot to do with this but even then, the complete randomness of who would qualify where was super refreshing. Other than tyres, was it a confluence of teams on the rise (McLaren, Ferrari) and teams slipping (Benetton) that caused the jumble factor or was it something else? Then you have Williams absolutely ANNIHILIATING everyone in Melbourne by seconds a lap only to be pegged back like 2 weeks later...... it was just freakin weird. 


#2 eab

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Posted 03 October 2022 - 14:51

Cool season as you say but about the seconds a lap and being pegged back 2 weeks later, I have a post-quali interview with Schumacher in which he wasn't too concerned wrt the gap to Williams and was actually quite content and confident things would get (much) better in the race and the rest of the season. The result was skewed by the red flag and the track being a new one at the moment, leading to many teams not having an optimal quali.



Oh and yeah, I think you hit the nail on its head regarding the causes of the 'randomness': tyre war (with some of the smaller teams using the new Bridgestones which had great advantages on specific tracks/in specific conditions), McL and Fer on the rise etc.

Edited by eab, 03 October 2022 - 15:08.

#3 Alfisti

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Posted 03 October 2022 - 15:29

Even cars on the same rubber though, one week would be right up there then next race just absolutely hopeless. It was so random. Not to mention the engines letting go, jesus H I forgot how often that happened, and did they go. One of the Stewart's Cosworths absolutely LUNCHED itself, more smoke than a Texas BBQ...... insane. 

#4 sabrejet

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Posted 03 October 2022 - 15:59

...F1 season. Others were available. Many, many others.

#5 bsc

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Posted 03 October 2022 - 16:17

I do think one of the oddities of 1997 was that the championship was fought out between Schumacher and Villeneuve, yet they never featured on the podium of the same race.

#6 AJCee

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Posted 03 October 2022 - 16:21

Twenty five years ago… times were different back then. We still complained that there wasn’t enough overtaking mind…. Plus ca change and all that.
Although things seemed more corporate and homologous than before back then, it wasn’t as corporate and homologous as today.
And so it goes on….

Edited by AJCee, 03 October 2022 - 16:24.

#7 Gary C

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Posted 03 October 2022 - 18:30

1997 was my first season working for Bernie and FOM. I walked into Bakersville on the Thursday morning in Melbourne and coming out was Patrick Tambay.. I knew I had arrived when I walked past him! Some great memories from that year.

#8 WonderWoman61

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Posted 03 October 2022 - 22:45

The thread title is an interesting way to describe the 1997 F1 Season

Anyone seen this?