1996 Australian Grand Prix was a Formula One race held on March 10, 1996 at
It was the first time this race was held in
Melbourne since 1984, taking over from Adelaide as the host of the
Australian Grand Prix. It was the first time the Australian World
Championship round had been held at the site of a previous
Australian Grand Prix venue, albeit on a vastly different circuit,
with the surrounds of the Albert Park Lake having played host to
the Australian Grand Prix in 1953
This was second grand prix in a row held in Australia, the previous
race being the conclusion to the 1995 season.
The race was the first to use the new race-start system, still used
in Formula 1 today. replacing the old red to green light system.
Under the new system, 5 red lights would come on at one second
intervals, starting after the last driver reached his grid box.
There would then be a pre-determined pause, and then the 5 lights
would go off simultaneously. In the event of the start needing to
be aborted, the five lights will come on, however, instead of going
out, three amber light will flash. All engines are stopped and the
start resumes from the five minute point. If a single driver raises
his hand to indicate that he can't start, the marshall for that row
will wave a yellow flag, then after a few seconds, both the red and
orange lights will extinguish and the green lights will come on to
indicate another formation lap. This system was partially designed
to try and eliminate some of the problems caused by drivers
stalling on the grid, which in the past, had often led to start
It was an all-Williams
front row with
and debutante Jacques Villeneuve
in the blue and white
cars dominating the race.
first lap, Martin Brundle in the gold
Benson & Hedges Jordan had a
spectacular barrel roll into a sand trap at turn 3 where the car
actually broke in two, causing the race to be restarted.
Brundle was unhurt.David Coulthard
McLaren and Johnny Herbert
-- both cars Brundle ran into the back of and launched off -- were
also damaged. Brundle and Coulthard started the restarted race in
their backup cars from the pits; Herbert did not take the restart,
the spare car being taken by Heinz-Harald Frentzen
, whose car had
stopped on the warmup lap with a technical problem.
Brundle later spun off after light contact with Pedro Diniz
at the restart.
The race was marked by dominance from Jacques Villeneuve, who led
most of the race but had his debutante run marred by an oil leak
late in the race. Hill caught and passed Villeneuve, who caked
Hill's car with oil leakage.
In the end, the podium was Hill-Villeneuve-Irvine.
did not make the race due to the
new 107% rule
qualifying, which said any car that qualified 107% slower than the
pole time would be excluded. Incidentally, the team had logged its
best result of 7th one race ago at the season-ending 1995 Australian Grand Prix
The measure was introduced to ensure teams were fast enough to
race, and not just mobile chicanes.
- First Start: Giancarlo Fisichella, Ricardo Rosset, Jacques
- First Pole Position: Jacques Villeneuve.
- Taki Inoue was scheduled to race for
the Minardi team as a pay driver but when no money materialised
prior to the race he was replaced by Fisichella. Marlboro had
expressed interest in Fisichella running early on.
- Hill took back to back Australian victories, the previous race
being the last round of 1995, in Adelaide.
- Damon Hill took his 14th Grand Prix victory, equaling his
father Graham Hill's overall number of
- 107% time: 1:38.837
- F1 News > Martin Brundle's Melbourne crash
- Forti - Team Summary
- 107% Disapproval
- F1 News > Minardi to get Fisichella?
- F1 News > Five drivers bidding for Minardi