Schumacher crashes, Hakkinen wins – but McLaren lose their points

2000 Austrian Grand Prix flashback

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The second half of the 2000 F1 season got underway with the Austrian Grand Prix, the fourth time the race had been run at the A1-Ring (now Red Bull Ring), the massively altered version of the old Osterreichring.

From the outset the A1 Ring had been regarded as a poor relation of the previous track, although the track had produced some interesting races since its return.

Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher continued to lead the championship, but his retirement from the French Grand Prix had helped McLaren duo David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen to significantly close the gap.

As was the way prior to testing restrictions in the gap between races Silverstone, Mugello, Fiorano and Estoril had all been pressed into action as teams tried out new updates. Fortunately this burst of testing was incident-free, so there were no injury concerns heading into the Styrian hills.

Mika Hakkinen, A1-Ring, 2000
Hakkinen took pole – and a peek at the Ferrari
That changed after the initial practice runs when Eddie Irvine withdrew from the weekend due to illness, subsequently diagnosed as a swollen intestine, and was replaced by Luciano Burti in the Jaguar.

2000 Austrian Grand Prix qualifying

Ferrari and McLaren set the practice pace, but the silver cars had a clear edge around the compact Austrian circuit. That certainly was the case in qualifying when Hakkinen took his fourth pole position of the season, sharing the front row with Coulthard.

The reigning champion appeared reinvigorated as the second half of the season with renewed zeal, a change team boss Ron Dennis ascribed to him being relieved of promotional duties for 10 days since the last round so he could take a holiday. They’d also made changes to his car, adopting parts of his team mate’s successful set-up, and the result was a superb qualifying performance. Three laps quick rough for pole position, and a margin of nearly four-tenths of a second on such a short layout, signalled Hakkinen was back to his best.

Eddie Irvine, Jaguar, A1-Ring, 2000
Irvine pulled out on Friday, handing his car to Burti
While Hakkinen ended his long, pole-less spell, his chief rival was out of sorts at a track where he tended not to produce his absolute best. Team mate Rubens Barrichello out-qualified Schumacher, the two Ferraris occupying the second the row. The latter had a frustrating session, not having the right balance with his car, resulting in a spin, and aborting his final run after an error.

Row three comprised Jarno Trulli who was continuing to find good pace in the Jordan, and Ricardo Zonta, who out-qualified BAR team mate Jacques Villeneuve by a mere two-thousandths of a second.

Elsewhere through the field there were plenty of adventures as drivers had to gamble on strategy to outrun the forecast rain (which in the event didn’t appear). Frentzen in the second Jordan was down in 15th having gone for a time early before the track conditions improved, whilst the Williams pairing of Jenson Button and Ralf Schumacher were 18th and 19th respectively, their cars struggling for grip.

Position Driver Team Time
1 Mika Hakkinen McLaren 1’10.410
2 David Coulthard McLaren 1’10.795
3 Rubens Barrichello Ferrari 1’10.844
4 Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1’11.046
5 Jarno Trulli Jordan 1’11.640
6 Ricardo Zonta BAR 1’11.647
7 Jacques Villeneuve BAR 1’11.649
8 Giancarlo Fisichella Benetton 1’11.658
9 Mika Salo Sauber 1’11.761
10 Jos Verstappen Arrows 1’11.905
11 Pedro Diniz Sauber 1’11.931
12 Pedro de la Rosa Arrows 1’11.978
13 Nick Heidfeld Prost 1’12.037
14 Alexander Wurz Benetton 1’12.038
15 Heinz-Harald Frentzen Jordan 1’12.043
16 Johnny Herbert Jaguar 1’12.238
17 Jean Alesi Prost 1’12.304
18 Jenson Button Williams 1’12.337
19 Ralf Schumacher Williams 1’12.347
20 Marc Gene Minardi 1’12.722
21 Luciano Burti Jaguar 1’12.822
22 Gaston Mazzacane Minardi 1’13.419

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2000 Austrian Grand Prix

The weather remained cool and overcast for race day, which saw one of the more dramatic starts of season. Hakkinen got away well retaining the lead from team-mate Coulthard into turn one. Behind, however, was chaos.

Ferrari planned a two-stop strategy for Schumacher and asked Barrichello to let him through into turn two (thereby beginning something of a tradition for this pair of drivers in Austria). However the fast-starting Zonta was caught out by the slowing cars ahead of him, and punted Schumacher into a gravel trap. In the melee behind Pedro Diniz collided with Giancarlo Fisichella, while Trulli tangled into Barrichello.

A decade earlier, Schumacher had been wiped out in a first-lap shunt in an F3 race, but dragged his car onto the circuit and hopped out, prompting a red flag and restart, giving him a second chance. On this occasion, Schumacher drove his damaged F1-2000 out of a gravel trap, stopped on the racing line and got out. Had he tried to pull the same stunt again?

Coulthard couldn’t keep Hakkinen from victory
If so, he was unsuccessful. The Safety Car was deployed, and the marshals dragged Schumacher’s Ferrari away, along with Fisichella’s Benetton and Trulli’s Jordan.

This was a disaster for Schumacher – his third retirement in four races presented another open goal to the McLarens to close down the points gap. There was always the possibility they might run into each again, as they’d done at the same track 12 months earlier, but when the race restarted Coulthard avoided the temptation to make any rash lunges at his team mate.

Behind them the field had an unusual complexion: Mika Salo held third for Sauber, until he was passed by Pedro de la Rosa’s Arrows. Barrichello then demoted Salo as well, hauling his damaged Ferrari up to fourth by lap eight.

At the front the McLarens flew in formation, Hakkinen two seconds clear of Coulthard. Behind Ralf Schumacher pitted for a new front wing, whilst first lap miscreants Diniz and Zonta served stop-and-go penalties.

The next drama among the front runners was the retirement of de la Rosa on lap 32, the Arrows driver’s pace ultimately going unrewarded, although the race was another sign of the team’s positive trajectory. A few laps later the Prost pair, disputing the minor positions, managed to crash into each other. Three years earlier the four-times champion’s team had led this race convincingly, but had sunk to the back to the grid since.

The contenders for the win were all on one-stop strategies. By the time Hakkinen came in he was already over 10s clear of his team mate, and so retained his advantage once Coulthard had been through his pit cycle.

Hakkinen’s win was briefly in doubt
With the scheduled pit stops completed the order was Hakkinen, Coulthard, Barrichello, Villenueve, Button and Salo. The last two retirements came by way of Ralf Schumacher spinning off due to brake failure and Zonta with an engine failure. The only other action in the top six was an abortive move from Button on Villeneuve, which saw no change in position.

Hakkinen’s badly-needed win propelled him back into the title fight, just eight points shy of Schumacher. But he nearly lost it.

After the race his car was found to be missing one of the crucial FIA seals which proved its conformity to the rules. It was taken away for inspection and ultimately found compliant, but while Hakkinen kept his hard-won 10 points McLaren were stripped of them, and handed a $50,000 fine. They chose not to appeal – despite trailing Ferrari by just points in the team’s standings.

Schumacher’s championship lead was cut to just six points, with Coulthard still second in the standings. A less than thrilling race had nonetheless proved a pot-boiler for the title fight. But Schumacher could count on maximum home support at the next round, on the original Hockenheimring.

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2000 Austrian Grand Prix result

Position Driver Team Laps Time / laps / reason
1 Mika Hakkinen McLaren 71 1:28’15.818
2 David Coulthard McLaren 71 +12.535
3 Rubens Barrichello Ferrari 71 +30.795
4 Jacques Villeneuve BAR 70 +1 lap
5 Jenson Button Williams 70 +1 lap
6 Mika Salo Sauber 70 +1 lap
7 Johnny Herbert Jaguar 70 +1 lap
8 Marc Gene Minardi 70 +1 lap
9 Pedro Diniz Sauber 70 +1 lap
10 Alexander Wurz Benetton 70 +1 lap
11 Luciano Burti Jaguar 69 +2 laps
12 Gaston Mazzacane Minardi 68 +3 laps
13 Ricardo Zonta BAR 58 Engine
14 Ralf Schumacher Williams 52 Brakes
15 Nick Heidfeld Prost 41 Collision
16 Jean Alesi Prost 41 Collision
17 Pedro de la Rosa Arrows 32 Gearbox
18 Jos Verstappen Arrows 14 Engine
19 Heinz-Harald Frentzen Jordan 4 Oil leak
20 Michael Schumacher Ferrari 0 Collision
21 Jarno Trulli Jordan 0 Collision
22 Giancarlo Fisichella Benetton 0 Collision

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2000 Austrian Grand Prix championship standings

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Ben Evans
Motorsport commentator Ben is RaceFans' resident bookworm. Look out for his verdict on the latest motor racing publications on Sundays....

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7 comments on “Schumacher crashes, Hakkinen wins – but McLaren lose their points”

  1. A decade earlier, Schumacher had been wiped out in a first-lap shunt in an F3 race, but dragged his car onto the circuit and hopped out, prompting a red flag and restart, giving him a second chance. On this occasion, Schumacher pulled his damaged F1-2000 out of a gravel track, stopped on the racing line and got out. Had he tried to pull the same stunt again?

    Is there any footage of this? Did he literally ‘hand’ push his car back onto the circuit?

    1. No, instead of parking it out of the way he limped it back into the track and then parked it.

      Clever, but a cheats trick.

      1. @marcusbreese @sham I’ve changed that word to reduce potential for confusion.

        1. @keithcollantine thank you, it did seem outlandish but you never know with Schumi.

      2. When you look at the external shot though, he’s not really any further onto the racing line than Fisichella’s car was either, which was parked just to the left of his car (incidentally, shouldn’t Fisichella also be criticised for stopping his car directly on the racing line, and indeed doing so whilst he had cars behind him that were trying to avoid the collision?).

  2. I always thought Michael and Rubens were at fault at turn 1.

    They tried their driver swap tactic in the most silly of places and because of that both braked far too early and that lead to michael being punted.

    Though i was only 15 and haven’t seen it since so maybe I was wrong

  3. Can’t believe Gene didn’t get a mention for his performance in the Minardi. One of the drives of the season, and covered as such in the press at the time (or at least in Autosport and F1 Rejects which I read).

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