2004 Formula One season


2004 Formula One season

The 2004 Formula One season was the 55th FIA Formula One World Championship season, running from March 7 to October 24 2004. The season was dominated by Michael Schumacher and Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro. Also notable were the success of BAR and Renault, as well as the poor performance of Williams and McLaren.

For the fifth and sixth seasons in a row, Ferrari won the drivers and constructors titles respectively. Michael Schumacher dominated the beginning of the year by winning a record 12 races in the first 13, eventually winning a record 13 races in a season, beating his previous record in 2002, and also easily cruising to a record seventh and his final drivers' championship. Rubens Barrichello came in a solid second place, winning two of the last four races. Jenson Button, though failing to win a grand prix, finished third, securing ten podium finishes and one pole position. Along with Japanese team mate Takuma Sato, BAR impressed by finishing second behind Ferrari.

Four of the ten teams were subsidiaries of major car companies (Ferrari, Renault, Jaguar, and Toyota) and one was a division of a tobacco company (BAR). Williams and McLaren, both privately owned teams, had engine-production agreements with major car companies, BMW and Mercedes-Benz respectively, and Honda produced engines for BAR. The final three teams, Jordan, Sauber and Minardi, were also privately owned but received little substantial sponsorship, and consequently tended to end up toward the back of the grid. Sauber was privately owned, but received Ferrari engines badged under the Petronas name, and also received sponsorship from Petronas.

This season saw the Minardi team score their first points since 2002, where Zsolt Baumgartner finished a lucky 8th at the 2004 United States Grand Prix.

The 2004 Canadian Grand Prix was a very dramatic race. First, Timo Glock replaced Giorgio Pantano in this race, due to personal circumstances for Pantano. Then, Williams and Toyota were excluded from the race due to an irregularity in the brake ducts. That meant the Jordan team was the main beneficiary of the disqualifications, with Nick Heidfeld and Timo Glock scoring points. Especially, Timo Glock scored 2 points on his F1 debut. Then came right before the 2004 Chinese Grand Prix, Giorgio Pantano was dropped by the Jordan team and Timo Glock replaced him at the last 3 races.

Ralf Schumacher had a tough season. He suffered a massive accident during the 2004 United States Grand Prix and was out of action for 6 races. Marc Gené and Antônio Pizzonia replaced him during his absence.

Jarno Trulli's relationship with the Renault team turned sour after his first victory at the 2004 Monaco Grand Prix. He did not complete the season and left the team after the 2004 Italian Grand Prix, where that race was also Pantano's last race for the Jordan team as well. Former world champion Jacques Villeneuve replaced Jarno Trulli for the final 3 races. Trulli missed the 2004 Chinese Grand Prix, but he returned in the 2004 Japanese Grand Prix and the 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix with the Toyota team. That meant the 2004 Japanese Grand Prix was Jarno Trulli's first race with the new team.

Cristiano da Matta's string of disappointing results during the season led to his replacement by test driver Ricardo Zonta from Hungary onwards except the 2004 Japanese Grand Prix. Da Matta did not race for Toyota again and in 2005 he returned to Champ Car racing claiming that F1 was not competitive enough.

This was Olivier Panis's last season as he decided to retire from the race seat after 2004 Japanese Grand Prix. But he stayed with the Toyota team, as the test driver.

This was Jaguar team's and the engine manufacturer Ford's final season in F1 as they announced that they would pull out of Formula One at the end of the season.

This season saw all teams had scored at least one World Championship point.

From the 2004 season onward, all teams who did not finish in the top four of the previous year's World Constructors Championship were allowed to run a third car on the Friday practice before a grand prix for testing purposes. Other teams have test drivers as well, though they are not allowed to compete in Friday practice. Sauber chose not to run its third driver in practice because of the added expense.

Drivers and constructors

The following teams and drivers competed in the 2004 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Drivers

Notes

*Williams driver Marc Gené replaced Ralf Schumacher, injured at 2004 United States Grand Prix, in France and Great Britain.
*After being unceremoniously dumped from a Jaguar full time drive half way through the previous season, Antônio Pizzonia reverted to his testing role with Williams which he had in 2002. Pizzonia replaced Ralf Schumacher from Germany to Italy.
*Jacques Villeneuve replaced Trulli at Renault for the final three races in China, Japan and Brazil.
*Cristiano da Matta's string of disappointing results during the season led to his replacement by test driver Ricardo Zonta from Hungary onwards. Da Matta did not race for Toyota again and in 2005 he returned to Champ Car racing claiming that F1 was not competitive enough.
*Jarno Trulli's relationship with Renault, and Team Principal Flavio Briatore in particular, soured markedly after it was made clear that he would not be retained after 2004. After agreeing to terms with Toyota for 2005, Trulli and Renault agreed to part ways after the 2004 Italian Grand Prix and 14 races disputed. This allowed Trulli to drive for Toyota for the final three races of 2004 and Ricardo Zonta therefore found himself demoted to test driver once again.
*Ricardo Zonta replaces Da Matta in Hungary, Belgium, Italy, China and Brazil.
*Toyota driver Olivier Panis indicated during the season that he was not interested in driving full time for Toyota due to personal reasons. He did express interest in working as a test driver and was consequently signed by Toyota on that basis at the end of the season. Panis raced at Sunday with three different team-mates: da Matta from Australia to Germany, Zonta in Hungary and China, and finally Trulli in Japan.
*Robert Doornbos was hired as a replacement test driver for Glock's position at Jordan.
*Jordan driver Giorgio Pantano raced from Australia to Italy. After this race Pantano and Jordan parted ways after poor results and sponsorship problems created issues.
*Timo Glock was contracted to finish the year in the Jordan having already performed testing duties with the team that year. He was a third driver on Friday in Canada and also the race driver on Sunday, replaced Pantano at the last three races.


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