2000 Brazilian Grand Prix
|2000 Brazilian Grand Prix|
|Race 2 of 17 in the 2000 Formula One World Championship|
|Date||26 March 2000|
|Official name||XXIX Grande Prêmio Marlboro do Brasil|
|Location||Autódromo José Carlos Pace, São Paulo, Brazil|
|Course||Permanent racing facility|
|Course length||4.309 km (2.677 mi)|
|Distance||71 laps, 305.939 km (190.681 mi)|
|Weather||Sunny, Air: 22 °C (72 °F), Track: 35 °C (95 °F)|
|Time||1:14.755 on lap 48|
The 2000 Brazilian Grand Prix (officially the XXIX Grande Prêmio Marlboro do Brasil) was a Formula One motor race held on 26 March 2000 at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace in São Paulo, Brazil. 72,000 people attended the race. It was the second round of the 2000 Formula One World Championship and the 29th overall edition of the event. The 71-lap race was won by Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher after starting from third position. Giancarlo Fisichella of the Benetton team finished in second and Heinz-Harald Frentzen took third for the Jordan outfit.
Mika Häkkinen of the McLaren team took the 23rd pole position of his career by recording the fastest lap in qualifying. He held the lead for the first lap until being overtaken by Michael Schumacher at the beginning of lap two. Thereafter, Michael Schumacher opened up a 17.6 second lead before his first of two pit stops for fuel and tyres on lap 20. He retook the lead after Häkkinen retired with a loss of engine oil pressure ten laps later. David Coulthard in the other McLaren reduced the advantage of Michael Schumacher in the final 12 laps as the latter lowered his pace to manage an oil pressure problem but he was not close enough to make a pass for the win. Hence, Michael Schumacher took his second consecutive victory of the season, his third at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace and the 37th of his career.
After the race, Coulthard was disqualified from second place due to an illegal front wing endplate. McLaren filed an appeal to the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile's International Court of Appeal, which was rejected. It advanced all of the drivers who finished behind Coulthard by a single position. Michael Schumacher's victory increased his advantage at the top of the Drivers' Championship to 12 points. Fisichella moved from fifth to second while Rubens Barrichello in the second Ferrari fell to third after not finishing the race. Ferrari further increased their lead in the Constructors' Championship to 18 points as Benetton advanced to second with fifteen races left in the season.
The 2000 Brazilian Grand Prix was the second of seventeen scheduled single seater motor races of the 2000 Formula One World Championship and the 29th overall edition of the event. It took place at the 15-turn 4.309 km (2.677 mi) Autódromo José Carlos Pace in the Brazilian city of São Paulo on 26 March 2000. The anti-clockwise track, located at an high altitude, contained a large amount of elevation that put a heavy load of g-force on the left-hand side of drivers' necks. Teams altered their cars to run at medium to high levels of downforce and the dampers, springs and suspensions were optimised to adapt to the bumpy track surface. Formula One's control tyre supplier Bridgestone brought two different types of tyres to the race; two dry compounds, the soft and the medium compound tyres.
After winning the Australian Grand Prix two weeks earlier, Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher led the Drivers' Championship with ten points, ahead of his teammate Rubens Barrichello in second with six points and Ralf Schumacher of the Williams with four points. British American Racing's (BAR) Jacques Villeneuve was fourth with three points and Benetton driver Giancarlo Fisichella placed fifth with two points. In the Constructors' Championship Ferrari led with a maximum amount of 16 points. Williams and BAR tied for third with four points each and Benetton were fourth on four points.
Prior to the event the majority of the 11 constructors conducted testing sessions at various locations across Europe to test their cars and new components. McLaren, Jordan, Williams, Jaguar and Prost elected to test at the Silverstone Circuit in the United Kingdom from 14 to 16 March while Ferrari test driver Luca Badoer performed shakedown runs at the Fiorano Circuit. Olivier Panis of the McLaren test team set the pace on the first day of testing, and on the second day and third days of running, Williams' Jenson Button was the fastest driver. The BAR, Arrows, Sauber and Minardi teams did not test before the Grand Prix.
The press and bookmakers considered Michael Schumacher the favourite to win the race. Despite this, he responded to a statement by the McLaren team principal Ron Dennis that the Ferrari team was not as competitive than they had been though the German said he was optimistic about challenging the outfit since it was the team's target from the beginning of the season, "This is the first year we have been able to do it from the first race." Coulthard stated that he foresaw McLaren starting on the grid's front row and win after they retired from the preceding Australian Grand Prix due to faulty seals on their pneumatic valve systems, "We weren't beaten fair and square in the race because we dropped out. You have to give Ferrari credit because they won when we dropped out and that's our mistake. But it means we come here believing we are competitive and still have a chance."
Over the month of February, the Autódromo José Carlos Pace was resurfaced in an attempt to reduce its bumpiness. The pit lane exit was moved from the entry of the Senna S chicane to the Repa Oposta straight. A larger run-off area was installed to the outside of the Laranjinha turn and its concrete barrier was padded with tyres after a heavy crash for Ricardo Zonta during the 1999 race weekend. Charlie Whiting, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA; Formula One's governing body) technical delegate, inspected the circuit and ordered that the pit lane barriers be moved for better driver access. The drivers were mixed with the resurfacing work, with Eddie Irvine of the Jaguar team criticising the condition of the track. His teammate Johnny Herbert described the bumps approaching the start/finish straight as "horrendous" and raised concerns over a repeat of an heavy accident sustained by Stéphane Sarrazin the previous year. Barrichello and his teammate Michael Schumacher found that the track was better for them.
Several teams made alterations to their cars, to refine their aerodynamic appendages or to solve the reliability problems that emerged during the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. McLaren identified a air filter failure that caused its drivers Coulthard and the defending World Drivers' Champion Mika Häkkinen to retire with a pneumatic valve system and made modifications to its design as a means of preventing a similar fault from reoccurring. The Ford-Cosworth engine manufacturer made modifications to its lubrication system after it affected Herbert and the Arrows team altered the design of the steering linkage. Arrows was granted permission by the FIA to enter the race after changing the design of the headrests to protect the driver in its A21 chassis.
Four practice sessions were held before the Sunday race, two on Friday, and two on Saturday. The Friday morning and afternoon sessions each lasted an hour. The third and final practice sessions on Saturday morning lasted 45 minutes. Weather conditions were hot and clear for the two practice sessions on Friday. In the first practice session, Barrichello made minor changes to the aerodynamic setup of his car, and was fastest with a time of 1 minute and 17.631 seconds, ahead of the two McLarens of Häkkinen and Coulthard in second and third. Michael Schumacher, Villeneuve, Prost's Jean Alesi, Fisichella, Heinz-Harald Frentzen of the Jordan team, Sauber driver Mika Salo and Arrows' Jos Verstappen rounded out the session's top ten drivers. During the session, Alesi pirouetted three times and removed the front wing on the third occurrence. Michael Schumacher's running was curtailed after eight laps with a driveshaft joint leak and Zonta was restricted to four timed laps due to debris accumulation overheating his engine.
Häkkinen bettered his 1999 pole position lap time by six-tenths of a second and set the day's fastest lap of 1 minute and 15.896 seconds with three minutes remaining in the second practice session. Michael Schumacher went faster to place second and Coulthard was fourth. Barrichello, and Pedro de la Rosa's Arrows, Alesi, Verstappen, Jordan's Jarno Trulli, Villeneuve and Fisichella followed in positions four through ten. A brake and balance problem put Ralf Schumacher off the track twice, while Alexander Wurz spun and beached his Benetton in a gravel trap at Mergulho corner. Coulthard spent part of the session in the pit lane as McLaren replaced his front wing after an excursion into the grass midway through practice. Verstappen tried a tyre compound at the end of practice that affected his car's setup and put him into a gravel trap beside the circuit.
It continued to be hot and dry for Saturday morning's two practice sessions. Teams tested different ride height setups on their cars, which created a noticeable difference in performance. They also selected the tyre compounds that were used for the remainder of the race meeting. Coulthard led the third practice session with a lap of 1 minute and 15.035 seconds, followed by his teammate Häkkinen in second. The Ferraris of Michael Schumacher and Barrichello were third and fourth. Frentzen, Fisichella, Trulli, Irvine, Minardi's Marc Gené and Alesi followed in the top ten. During the session, an engine problem for Michael Schumacher prompted his team to spend 1 hour and ten minutes changing it. Gastón Mazzacane was restricted to five timed laps because of an oil leak in his Minardi that prevented his participation in the final practice session later that day.
Hakkinen paced the fourth session with a 1 minute and 14.159 seconds time during his final lap on a new set of tyres and his teammate Coulthard was third. They were separated by Barrichello. His teammate Michael Schumacher was fourth. Trulli was fifth and Fisichella duplicated his third practice result in sixth. Villeneuve, Verstappen, Ralf Schumacher and Frentzen completed the top ten ahead of qualifying. Barrichello spun twice as he tested a new specification of rear wing. Frentzen and his teammate Trulli ran into a gravel trap and the two sustained minor bodywork damage to their cars. Zonta lost track time due to a gearbox actuator fault and ran into a gravel trap. Button's engine failed, laying oil on the racing line between the Laranjinha and Bico do Pato corners. Salo's rear wing failed on the start/finish straight, causing him to pirouette under braking for the Senna S chicane and crashed heavily against the wall. Salo was unhurt.
Saturday afternoon's qualifying session lasted for an hour. Each driver was limited to twelve laps, with the starting order decided by the drivers' fastest laps. During this session the 107% rule was in effect, requiring each driver to remain within 107% of the fastest lap to qualify for the race. Heavy rain fell in the session's final quarter of an hour and the resulting slippery track prevented every driver from improving his best lap. It was stopped three times because of a heavy wind that caused an advertising hoarding mounted on a gantry above the start/finish straight joined together by nylon ties to detach and fall onto the track. Häkkinen went fastest with 15 minutes to go with a lap of 1 minute and 14.111 seconds. He maintained it for the rest of qualifying to clinch his second consecutive pole position, his third at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace and the 23rd of his career. Häkkinen's teammate Coulthard was 0.174 seconds slower and began from second. The Ferraris of Michael Schumacher and Barrichello took third and fourth; Schumacher understeered into the grass on his second timed lap, damaging his car's undertray on the corrugations of a high-mounted kerb. He drove the spare Ferrari for the rest of qualifying. Barrichello was slower than the McLarens in the second sector and lost time due to the stoppage. Fisichella, fifth, praised his car's handling, and Irvine in sixth was happy with his Jaguar's grip and balance. Frentzen qualified seventh after Pedro Diniz slowed him. Zonta, eighth, focused on aerodynamic setup to improve his car's handling.
Button was fourth early on before falling to ninth. Villeneuve qualified in tenth as traffic baulked two of his timed laps and he ran into the grass. Ralf Schumacher was the fastest driver not to qualify in the top ten as he was 1.450 seconds off Häkkinen's pace after different spring rates failed to improve the setup of his chassis. Trulli spun into a gravel trap at the Bico de Peto hairpin on his first timed lap. He returned to the pit lane to drive the spare Jordan though an electronic control unit fault affected its gear selection and restricted him to 12th. Each of Wurz's laps were affected by slower traffic and he qualified 13th. Clutch issues restricted Verstappen to 14th. Alesi, 15th, swerved at more than 250 km/h (160 mph) to avoid a 6 ft (1.8 m) cardboard advertising hoarding that fell from 10 m (33 ft) from an overhead gantry towards the track. It caused heavy damage to his car's front wing and prompted the third stoppage. De La Rosa was caught out by the change in weather conditions and began from 16th. Car setup issues put Herbert 17th. Gené ventured onto the track early in the session and took 18th. Nick Heidfeld used the spare Prost to secure 19th due to a clutch failure in his race car. Diniz in 20th had a similar rear wing failure to his teammate Salo in 22nd but he avoided hitting the wall. Fuel pressure problems meant Mazzacane drove the spare Minardi and separated the Saubers in 21st.
During the second stoppage, Sauber announced its withdrawal from the race, citing a lack of time in Brazil to analyse and rectify the structural integrity of their car's rear wings. The team returned to its headquarters in Hinwil and found that the track's bumpy surface resulted in both of their cars undertaking higher than anticipated impact loads; Salo had a failure of the lower plane on his rear wing while Diniz's failed on the upper plane.
- ^1 – Sauber withdrew Pedro Diniz and Mika Salo on the grounds of safety due to separate rear wing failures on their cars.
The drivers took to the track at 09:30 Brasilia Time (UTC−03:00) for a scheduled 30-minute warm-up session in hot and overcast weather conditions. All drivers fine-tuned their race set-ups and undertook laps in their spare cars. Häkkinen set the fastest lap of the session with a time of 1 minute and 16.343 seconds, five-thousands of a second ahead of Michael Schumacher in second and a further 0.660 seconds in front of Coulthard in third. Barrichello, Verstappen, Ralf Schumacher, Gené, Fisichella and Zonta were in positions four to ten. Ten minutes into warm-up, Wurz stalled his car at the exit of the pit lane, and the session was stopped as he took the spare Benetton B200 setup for his teammate Fisichella. Alesi's engine failed and he switched to the spare Prost AP03, which had a rear wing failure on the bumpy start/finish straight, and prompted the second stoppage.
After the warm-up session, but before the race, Prost examined Alesi's rear wing and found that its failure was due to older specification bodywork parts fitted to his car and readied its spare chassis if required. The team stated that they were unconcerned over the safety of their drivers and confirmed their participation in the event.
The race took place in the afternoon from 14:00 local time. Weather conditions at the start were hot and dry. The ambient temperature was 22 °C (72 °F) and the track temperature was 35 °C (95 °F) with the humidity at 76%. Approximately 72,000 spectators attended the race. On the formation lap, Wurz stalled his engine, and his stationary car delayed Alesi and Herbert though both drivers took up their starting positions. Wurz began from the pit lane. When the race began from its standing start, Häkkinen made a brisk getaway to lead the field going into the Senna S chicane. Coulthard, in second, had wheelspin and was passed by Michael Schumacher, who unsuccessfully challenged his teammate for the lead. He did however retain third as Barrichello also made a slow start. Further back, Irvine overtook Fisichella for fifth. Verstappen made the best start in the field, moving from 14th to 11th by the end of the first lap, while Button lost four positions over the same distance. Trulli moved past Ralf Schumacher and Villeneuve to progress into tenth on the left of the circuit.
As the first two drivers reached the start/finish line, Michael Schumacher, who was close behind Häkkinen throughout lap one, steered off the racing line to pass the latter for the lead going into the Senna S chicane. Barrichello slipstreamed Coulthard on the start/finish straight and overtook him for third. He then made an driver error and Coulthard retook third until the position returned to Barrichello by the end of lap two as the McLaren lost the use of the first three gears and was slower in the slow-speed corners. At the front of the pack, Michael Schumacher was in control, extending his lead over Häkkinen to four seconds by lap four and to 15 seconds by lap 15 with a series of fastest laps. In the meantime, overtakes occurred further down the field. Trulli passed Zonta to move into eighth, Button got ahead of Alesi for 13th and Heidfeld lost 16th to de la Rosa. Verstappen progressed from 11th to seventh by passing Villeneuve, Zonta, Frentzen and Fisichella while Alesi overtook Ralf Schumacher, Villeneuve, Zonta and Frentzen to advance to ninth. Three drivers retired from the race during this period: Wurz and Heidfeld had separate engine failures on lap seven and nine and Alesi stopped with an electrical failure at the Bico de Pato hairpin on lap 11.
At the end of lap 14, Barrichello drew close to Häkkinen after the latter made a driver error. He slipstreamed Häkkinen and turned left to pass him for second under braking the Senna S chicane to start the 15th lap. De la Rosa passed Herbert for 14th on that lap and Trulli overtook Irvine for fifth on lap 16. That lap, Villeneuve retired with a race-long gearbox problem. The Ferrari and McLaren teams were employing different pit stop strategies – the Ferrari team were planning a two stop strategy whereas the McLaren team were only planning for one stop. Michael Schumacher led by 17.6 seconds over the rest of the field when he commenced the first round of pit stops for fuel and tyres four laps later. He rejoined the track in third and Barrichello led the next two laps until his stop. On lap 21, Irvine lost control of the rear of his car entering the Bico de Pato haiprin and crashed against a tyre barrier. Six laps later, Barrichello entered the pit lane with a hydraulic motor problem that affected the steering wheel and spread to the throttle linkage. As Barrichello exited the car to retire a small fire was extinguished by his mechanics.
Trulli made the first of two stops from fourth at the end of the 28th lap and he emerged in seventh. At the front of the field, Häkkinen pulled away to lead Michael Schumacher by 12 seconds though he slowed with a loss of oil engine pressure on the 30th lap. He slowed and retired in his garage. Michael Schumacher thus retook the lead, with the yet-to-stop Coulthard in second, Verstappen third and Fisichella fourth. Coulthard lapped to within a tenth of a second of Michael Schumacher as the latter slowed slightly due to an inbalance in all four of his tyres as Ralf Schumacher challenged Fisichella for fourth. On lap 32, Gené retired from eleventh with an engine failure. Verstappen and his teammate de la Rosa made their first pit stops on laps 35 and 37. Four laps later, Frentzen was the first driver on a one-stop strategy to enter the pit lane. Coulthard made his only stop on lap 43 and remained in second position. Michael Schumacher led by 48 seconds when he made his second pit stop on the 51st lap and retained the lead. On the same lap, Fisichella made his only stop and kept third place.
On lap 51, Herbert retired in the pit lane with a gearbox failure. Four laps later, de la Rosa lost concentration and went into a gravel trap though he rejoined without losing any positions. Button battled with Verstappen and he overtook the Arrows for seventh on the 56th lap as Trulli made a pit stop from fourth and rejoined the track in fifth. From the 59th lap, Coulthard began gaining on Michael Schumacher, who cut his pace due to an oil pressure problem. However, he could not draw close enough to pass Michael Schumacher and the latter led the final 12 laps to take his second victory of the season, his third at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace and the 37th of his career in a time of 1 hour, 31 minutes and 35.271 seconds at an average speed of 200.404 km/h (124.525 mph). Coulthard followed 4.302 seconds later and Fisichella took third. Frentzen finished fourth, Trulli fifth and Ralf Schumacher completed the points-scoring finishers in sixth. Button, Verstappen, de la Rosa, Zonta and Mazzacane were the final finishers. The attrition rate was high, with 11 of the 20 starters finishing the race.
The top three drivers appeared on the podium to collect their trophies and spoke to the media in a later press conference. Michael Schumacher explained that the strategy helped him to win the race, "In the past, as you may remember, we could not overtake the McLarens, regardless of their strategy. Now we are looking a lot more competitive -- which is where we wanted to be -- and the season could hardly have started better than it has." Coulthard said that his second-place finish provided him the start to of his championship campaign in spite of his gearbox problems, "It must have been entertaining for those who had places to watch at the first corner. Given the circumstances, I am very happy with my six points." Fisichella revealed that his car yearned between understeer and oversteer for the first 15 laps until the grip and balance of his car improved though he said that he was pleased to finish third, "This is a great result and will help us to be even more competitive in the future. I am confident about the next race, when we will have some new aerodynamic parts."
All of the top six finishers, except for Fisichella, were found to excessive wear on the wooden planks underneath their cars. Ferrari, McLaren, Benetton, Jordan and BMW filed an successful appeal on the basis that the bumpy racing surface caused the illegal wear and were reinstated after a further inspection caused a 3½ hour delay. During the inspection, the front wing endplates on Coulthard's car were found to be 43 mm (4.3 cm) above the ground and not 50 mm (5.0 cm) as stated in Article 3.12.1 of the 2000 FIA Formula One Technical Regulations. Jo Bauer, the FIA technical delegate, deemed this to have provided Coulthard with an competitive aerodynamic advantage and the stewards disqualified the driver six hours after the race. The technical director of McLaren Adrian Newey rejected an offer from the stewards to transport Coulthard's car to Paris for a fair hearing and agreed to a set of four measurements in Sao Paulo. McLaren then filed an appeal and stated that the car's undertray and chassis was damaged and shifted by vibrations from the bumps on the racing surface. On 4 April, the appeal was heard by a five-man panel at a meeting of the FIA International Court of Appeal in Paris. They rejected McLaren's appeal during the 90-minute hearing and declared the result of the race final.
This promoted every driver behind Coulthard one position; Button was reclassified sixth and became the youngest driver to score a Formula One World Championship point at the age of 20 years, 2 months and 7 days old, breaking Ricardo Rodríguez's record from the 1962 Belgian Grand Prix.[n 1] On 6 April, the organisers of the Brazilian Grand Prix were summoned to a meeting of the FIA General Assembly. They were fined $100,000 for the Autódromo José Carlos Pace's safety issues and for the three times qualifying was stopped due to advertising hoardings falling towards the circuit. The governing body ruled it as "exceptional circumstances" and allowed the track to remain as part of the series. The president of the FIA Max Mosley explained that an increased fine or cancelling the Brazilian Grand Prix was not undertaken because its organisers submitted evidence to prevent either action from occurring, "Bearing in mind that we allowed the Brazilian promoters to place the signs there - and they probably didn't know what potential there was for the failures which occurred - it seemed only fair to impose the comparatively modest penalty."
Häkkinen spoke of his disappointment over retiring from the lead of the race, "Nothing can describe how I feel, We have been quick all weekend, right the way through, so I am not happy to be leaving Brazil without any points. We have some work to do before the start of the European season." Button was quoted in the press as stating his preference to score points on the track and not be awarded them in an court of appeal, "I heard the news about David as I was making my way to the airport to fly back from Brazil - and I can't say it gave me any great feeling of joy. You want to earn any success through your driving skills, not someone else's misfortune." Eddie Jordan, the owner of the Jordan team, said that his team's fourth and fifth-place finishes demonstrated that his cars could last a full race distance after retiring from the Australian Grand Prix with mechanical issues. Frentzen stated that it was as if the team's season commenced at the Brazilian Grand Prix and that the team still required maintenance to improve their performance, "But we are a very strong team with a good atmosphere, I get along well with Jarno and everything is fine so far."
The gap in the Drivers' Championship after the race stood at 12 points in favour of Michael Schumacher with Fisichella moving from fifth to second as a result of his second-place finish. Barrichello dropped to third with six points and Ralf Schumacher fell to fourth. Frentzen rounded out the top five drivers. In the Constructors' Championship, Ferrari moved further ahead with 26 points and the Benetton team progressed from fourth to second. Jordan's first points of the season put them third while Williams and BAR were fourth and fifth with fifteen races left in the season.
|5||9||Ralf Schumacher||Williams-BMW||70||+1 Lap||11||2|
|6||10||Jenson Button||Williams-BMW||70||+1 Lap||9||1|
|7||19||Jos Verstappen||Arrows-Supertec||70||+1 Lap||14|
|8||18||Pedro de la Rosa||Arrows-Supertec||70||+1 Lap||16|
|9||23||Ricardo Zonta||BAR-Honda||69||+2 Laps||8|
|10||21||Gastón Mazzacane||Minardi-Fondmetal||69||+2 Laps||20|
|Ret||1||Mika Häkkinen||McLaren-Mercedes||30||Oil pressure||1|
|Ret||7||Eddie Irvine||Jaguar-Cosworth||20||Spun off||6|
|DSQ||2||David Coulthard||McLaren-Mercedes||71||Illegal front wing endplates (+4.302)||2|
|DNS||16||Pedro Diniz||Sauber-Petronas||0||Safety concerns||0|
|DNS||17||Mika Salo||Sauber-Petronas||0||Safety concerns||0|
Championship standings after the race
Note, only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
Notes and references
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2000 Australian Grand Prix
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2001 Brazilian Grand Prix