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2003 Formula 1 World Championship

2003 - Raikkonen Runs Schumacher Down To The Wire

The 2003 Formula 1 season started with a lot of changes, not only with the driver line ups but particularly with the format and rules of F1. Qualifying has been made into a 2 day single lap shoot out with the times being put together to form an aggregate time. Fuel must be decided before qualifying as the teams are unable to refuel the car before the race as new Parc Ferme conditions apply.

New Points System & Safety

Points paying positions now go down to 8th place and follow 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1. This is all in a hope of unsettling the 2002 dominate World Champion Michael Schumacher and Ferrari. On the safety front, HANS Devices (Head & Neck Safety) have now been introduced as compulsory equipment for all drivers to wear.

Driver Line-Up

Ferrari, Williams & McLaren retain their 2002 driver line up’s, while Jenson Button moves to BAR to partner 1997 World Champion Jacques Villenuve. Panis moves to Toyota and is joined by new boy Cristiano DaMatta. Mark Webber moves from Minardi to Jaguar, while former experienced grand prix drivers return. Heinz Harald Frentzen joins Sauber and Jos Verstappen teams up with Minardi.

2003 would prove to be one of the closest seasons of recent times with 8 different race winners and a championship that would be taken down to the final race. The season would also see two rising stars claim their first ever Grand Prix victories. The predictable monotony of 2002 was certainly gone.

Jose Maria Lopez on the pit wall in Barcelona testing December 2003 - © RenaultF1/LAT

Lopez in Renault colours © RenaultF1/LAT

Position Driver Team Time
1 R Barrichello Ferrari 1:25:11.743
2 K Raikkonen McLaren +11.0 secs
3 D Coulthard McLaren +11.6 secs
4 J Button BAR +33.1 secs
5 J Trulli Renault +34.2 secs
6 T Sato BAR +51.6 secs
7 C Da Matta Toyota +56.7 secs
8 M Schumacher Ferrari +59.4 secs
9 N Heidfeld Sauber +60.1 secs
10 O Panis Toyota +61.8 secs