1995 Formula One season
|1995 FIA Formula One World Championship season|
|Previous: 1994||Next: 1996|
|Index: Races by country | Races by season|
The 1995 Formula One season was the 46th FIA Formula One World Championship season. It began on March 26, 1995 included 17 races, and ended on November 12. The Drivers' Championship was won by Michael Schumacher of Benetton for the second year in a row, beating Damon Hill of WilliamsF1 by 33 points. Benetton won the Constructor's Championship, beating Williams by a comfortable 29 points.
The season was highlighted by the rivalry between Schumacher and Hill, with Schumacher winning nine races and Hill winning four races. Benetton and Williams drivers dominated the field, victorious in all but one race.
- 1 Background
- 2 Season review
- 3 Drivers and constructors
- 4 Results and Standings
- 5 Rule changes
- 6 Rumours and speculation
- 7 Footnotes
The calendar was initially announced at the beginning of 1995, with the European Grand Prix now at the Nürburgring circuit. The Argentine Grand Prix was the only newly announced race, with it taking place at the Autódromo Oscar Alfredo Gálvez circuit. The circuit was due to kick off the calendar on March 12, but there were doubts over whether the circuit would be ready in time. There were also doubts over round two at Brazil, with the death of Ayrton Senna hitting Brazil motorsport very hard. The third race in Japan was also under threat, as it was due to take place at the TI Circuit. However, the circuit was badly affected after the Great Hanshin earthquake, which hit the local infrastructure hard. The San Marino round, Spanish round and the Italian round were also under threat, with safety works taking place and the Circuit de Catalunya in financial difficulty.
On February 6, a revised calendar was announced, with the Argentine Grand Prix moved to April 9, despite the fact it had now received official clearance from FIA safety inspector Roland Bruynseraede. The Pacific round was moved due to the Kobe earthquake, with it now one week before the Japanese Grand Prix. The European Grand Prix was moved forward seven days, leaving just a seven day gap between the Portuguese and European rounds. However, some tracks still needed clearance to race.
Larrousse were included in the official FIA entry list for the 1995 season, but because of financial struggles and friction between shareholders meant that the production of the new car was delayed. No funding ever arrived and it was too late for them to build a car for the season. There were some arrangements with the DAMS Formula 3000 team, but DAMS bosses wanted to buy Larrousse and run the team themselves. However, on February 13, the boss of DAMS, Jean-Paul Driot announced that they had abandoned plans to enter Formula One for 1995, as he could not find a good amount of sponsorship to run the team at a competitive level. Driot said he intended to return to Formula 3000 and prepare for an F1 bid in 1996.
Minardi had been expected to run with Mugen-Honda engines, but at the last minute, Ligier boss Flavio Briatore persuaded the Japanese engine supplier to supply Ligier, leaving Minardi in a mess. Their car was designed for the Honda V10 and parts were already being made. The Minardi team had to work flat out to build a brand new car with a Ford ED engine. Team owner Giancarlo Minardi announced he was taking legal action against the Japanese supplier.
The status of Ligier and who it's owners were was coming under scrutiny. The news that Martin Brundle had signed with them for 1995 brought up rumours that Tom Walkinshaw was the new boss of the team. Walkinshaw's move to Ligier is part of the deal hammered out last year by Flavio Briatore and FIA's Max Mosley to get Benetton off the hook for the use of an illegal fuel filter in the 1994 German Grand Prix. Benetton admitted that the filter was illegal and was let off, on the understanding that major changes would be made within the team. Briatore appeared to have asked Walkinshaw to control Ligier.
The 1995 F1 Season featured several dramatic incidents, including seven Grands Prix affected by rain.
The Formula One regulations changed prior to the 1995 season. The most significant change was the to the engine capacity. This was reduced from 3.5 Litres to 3.0 Litres, in order to reduce speeds. All of the cars were fitted with cockpit side protection, and the cockpit opening was made larger than the 1994-spec cars. The front and rear wings of were modified to reduce downforce, thereby reducing cornering speeds. These changes were in reaction to the deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, who both died of head and neck injuries. Some of the F1 circuits were changed, with larger run-off areas featuring at tracks such as Monza and Imola.
The Benetton team had Renault engines for the first time, after running Ford V8s for several years. Michael Schumacher won nine out of the seventeen Grands Prix, and won his second World Championship. Schumacher's main title rival was Damon Hill, who was driving for Williams-Renault. Hill and Schumacher were involved in some very close battles at numerous races, including at the 1995 Belgian Grand Prix, where the two championship contenders fought wheel-to-wheel for extended periods.
Johnny Herbert, Schumacher's team mate, won his first Formula One race at the 1995 British Grand Prix. He also went on to win the 1995 Italian Grand Prix, after a collision between Hill and Schumacher. Herbert complained about the Benetton B195's handling, which was very twitchy, but the car suited his team mate Schumacher.
Damon Hill received criticism during 1995, after several incidents that were attributed to driving errors. The 1995 British Grand Prix was overshadowed by a controversial collision between Hill and Schumacher, and Hill was widely blamed for the accident. Hill also suffered with mechanical problems in his Williams-Renault.
[[Image:Inoue Footwork.jpg|thumb|left|200px|Taki Inoue's is ferried back to the pits after its collision with the course car during the 1995 Monaco Grand Prix
Jean Alesi won the 1995 Canadian Grand Prix, which was his first and only victory in Formula One. Alesi also nearly won the European and Japanese Grand Prix, only being passed by Schumacher with a few laps to go in the former, and retiring with a driveshaft bearing failure in the latter.
Nigel Mansell made a brief return to Formula One with McLaren. The McLaren-Mercedes cockpit was initially too small for Mansell, and he had to miss the first two races whilst McLaren redesigned the monocoque. His eventual return for the 1995 San Marino Grand Prix was disappointing, and he was outpaced by Häkkinen. After another disappointing race at the Spanish Grand Prix Mansell and McLaren parted ways, and Mark Blundell drove the second McLaren for the remainder of 1995. Mika Häkkinen was seriously injured in a crash during practice for the 1995 Australian Grand Prix. The fast actions of the medical crew saved his life, and he later returned to the track in 1996. Later that year, Mansell revealed that he intended to "fight for the championship with Williams", but the Williams team chose David Coulthard instead.
One of the rookies for 1995 was Taki Inoue who drove for Footwork Arrows. During First Qualifying for the 1995 Monaco Grand Prix his car stalled on the track, and the session was stopped in order to recover the car. A course car driven by Jean Ragnotti was travelling too fast and Ragnotti was unsighted by the barriers on the twisty circuit. Ragnotti's car crashed into Inoue's stranded car, flipping the Arrows. Inoue was knocked unconscious but he recovered and took part in the race on Sunday. At the 1995 Hungarian Grand Prix Inoue's car retired with a mechanical problem. He got out of his car and grabbed a fire extinguisher in order to put out a small fire on his car. Inoue then walked into the path of a course car, and was knocked over. Inoue bounced off the front of the car and collapsed on to the grass. He suffered minor leg injuries.
Drivers and constructors
At the end of the 1994 season, the famous Lotus name disappeared from the grid along with Larrousse, with Forti entering the fray. Minardi had been expected to run with Mugen-Honda engines, but at the last minute, Ligier boss Flavio Briatore persuaded the Japanese engine supplier to supply Ligier, leaving Minardi in a mess.
The status of Ligier and who it's owners were was coming under scrutiny. The news that Martin Brundle had signed with them for 1995 brought up rumours that Tom Walkinshaw was the new boss of the team. Walkinshaw's move to Ligier is part of the deal hammered out last year by Flavio Briatore and FIA's Max Mosley to get Benetton off the hook for the use of an illegal fuel filter in the 1994 German Grand Prix. Briatore appeared to have asked Walkinshaw to control Ligier.
At the start of the season
- Benetton retained Michael Schumacher and Johnny Herbert, but Jos Verstappen and JJ Lehto were both shown the door, with Verstappen's test role heading to Frenchman Emmanuel Collard
- Mika Salo replaced Mark Blundell at Tyrrell, with Gabriele Tarquini now the teams test driver. Before being confirmed as race driver, Salo was involved in a contract dispute with the Pacific team. The Contract Recognition Board lawyers and Tyrrell representatives were astounded when Team Lotus owner David Hunt announced to them that the Lotus name would be in Formula One in 1995, having been leased to Pacific. However, the board announced on February 13 that it had ruled in favor of Tyrrell because the Team Lotus which Salo had signed for was not the same Team Lotus which now claimed his services. Salo was unveiled as Tyrrell driver later that evening when they unveiled their 1995 car.
- Williams retained Damon Hill and David Coulthard in their race-seats, with Nigel Mansell being dumped by the team at the beginning of January. Jean-Christophe Boullion was the teams test driver.
- Mark Blundell replaced fellow countryman Martin Brundle at McLaren, with Jan Magnussen the teams test driver. However, Nigel Mansell was in the McLaren seat from the San Marino Grand Prix. Mansell was hotly rumoured to join McLaren ever since being dumped by Williams in January. However, Mansell said that the 1995 season will almost certainly be his last in Formula One. Mansell was confirmed as McLaren driver at the end of January, but Mansell could not fit in the car. His deal was also dropped from $15 million to $10 million dollars because Marlboro refused to pay his asking price.
- Christian Fittipaldi left Footwork at the end of 1994 and was replaced by Taki Inoue.
- Simtek retained Domenico Schiattarella and brought in Jos Verstappen from Benetton with Hideki Noda the teams test driver. Noda was scheduled to be the teams first driver, but due to lack of funds due to the Great Hanshin earthquake was not able to race, and was therefore relegated to share the second drive with Schiattarella. Noda ended up not driving for the team at all as they went bankrupt after the Monaco round.
- Jordan kept both Rubens Barrichello and Eddie Irvine for the 1995 season.
- Pacific kept Bertrand Gachot as race driver, and Oliver Gavin as test driver, but Paul Belmondo was replaced by Andrea Montermini.
- New team Forti brought in veteran Roberto Moreno along with rookie Pedro Diniz. Diniz was partly selected as his family controls one of Brazil's largest food distribution companies.
- Pierluigi Martini was safe at Minardi, but Michele Alboreto was replaced by Luca Badoer. Giancarlo Fisichella was the teams test driver.
- Ferrari kept hold of all three drivers for the 1995 season.
- Sauber kept Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Karl Wendlinger, with Norberto Fontana now the teams test driver.
- On October 28, 1994, Ligier issued a press release stating that Olivier Panis and Johnny Herbert were going to be their official drivers for all of the 1995 season. However, at the end of January, they announced that Herbert was no longer at the team, and in-fact Aguri Suzuki and Martin Brundle would share the second seat, with Franck Lagorce the teams test driver. The announcement came as a big shock to Suzuki and his Japanese backers, who believed he had secured the Ligier seat for the whole season.
During the season
Results and Standings
(*) Driver did not finish the race but was classified, having raced more than 90% of race distance.
Rumours and speculation
- Jackie Oliver denied several stories that the Footwork team were in difficulty. Rumours were going around in Europe that he was planning a merger with the Super Nova Formula 3000 squad. Their boss, David Sears managed the careers of Taki Inoue, Jan Magnussen and Vincenzo Sospiri at that time.
- Érik Comas was scheduled to be Larrousse's first team driver, with Paul Belmondo rumoured to be the teams second driver, but financial problems meant the team never got to the grid for the 1995 season.
- Gabriele Tarquini and Emmanuel Collard tested with Tyrrell over a possible race seat, with JJ Lehto also in the running. The seat eventually went to Mika Salo after the contract dispute with Pacific. The team also declared an interest in Christian Fittipaldi, Erik Comas and Karl Wendlinger before making their decision.
- Before joining Benetton as test driver, Emmanuel Collard was gaining interest from both Pacific and Larrousse. Collard had done over 400km of testing with Williams.
- One of the major rumours that were going around was that McLaren and Mercedes only went into partnership was so that they could get Michael Schumacher for the 1996 season. Mercedes wanted Schumacher as he is German, and McLaren and Marlboro both wanted him because he is one of the best drivers. There were slight indications that a deal had already been agreed even before the 1995 season began.
- Before, Nigel Mansell was confirmed as McLaren driver, they were keen to have a lower profile driver, with Christian Fittipaldi said to of been in the frame.
- Mark Blundell was rumoured to join the Simtek team, but when he signed for McLaren, the team chased up Jos Verstappen. Benetton released him from his testing duties so he could sign for the team, which strenghened the relationship between the two teams.
- Apart from Roberto Moreno, Emanuele Naspetti and Andrea Montermini were also considered for the Forti drive. Paolo Carcasci was also considered, but failed to receive a superlicense.
- Before deciding to go with Andrea Montermini as their driver, Pacific also declared an interest in Danish Touring Car driver Kris Nissen, Vincenzo Sospiri, Érik Comas, Emmanuel Collard, JJ Lehto, Paul Belmondo and Pedro Lamy. Lamy actually visited the factory and was tipped to have a good budget. The move failed to materialize. Belmondo became the teams test driver.
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