1995 Formula One season
Hill's team-mate, David Coulthard
(pictured in 2007), finished the season ranked third.
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 Williams 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.
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 previous year's 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.
Although 14 teams and 28 drivers respectively were on the official 1995 entry list, the Larrousse team with drivers Éric Bernard and Christophe Bouchut never turned up at the circuit for any of the on-track sessions.
This was due to the team running short of money: in the period prior to
the event, with French government aid not forthcoming and a 1995
chassis not yet built, team owner Gérard Larrousse elected to miss the first two rounds of the season in the hope of competing from the San Marino Grand Prix
onwards. 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. Larrousse's withdrawal, in addition to the collapse of the Lotus team after the end of the 1994 season,
dropped the number of participating cars to 26, guaranteeing all the
entrants of a race start, without the threat of failing to qualify, for
the first time since the 1994 Canadian Grand Prix. The threat of a drivers' boycott over the terms of their 1995 Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) Super Licences,
which allowed the FIA to demand promotional appearances and forbade the
drivers from criticising the championship, was defused by the governing
body prior to the race, ensuring full driver participation.
Of the teams that did appear, all had completely new chassis to cope
with the revised Technical Regulations, which stipulated a variety of
changes including the reduction of engine capacity and the size of
aerodynamic wings, the introduction of more stringent crash testing,
the raising of the cars' ride height, and more rigorous testing of fuel
specifications all with the aim of reducing speeds and increasing
driver safety, a process which had begun in the aftermath of the deaths
of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna during the weekend of the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. The cars were still in various stages of development heading into the new season; the Footwork FA16 and Simtek S951
chassis arrived at the event with virtually no testing, having been
completed shortly beforehand. There was one new team in the shape of the
Italian Forti outfit, whilst the Benetton, McLaren, Footwork, Jordan, Pacific, Ligier and Sauber teams had all changed their engine suppliers in the course of the off-season. Of the initial 1995 drivers, Pedro Diniz was the only complete rookie, whilst Andrea Montermini started his first race after failing to qualify for the 1994 Spanish Grand Prix due to injury. Mika Salo and Domenico Schiattarella had competed in two races, with Taki Inoue competing in one race the previous season.
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 its 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 from Benetton
(where he had been Benetton's Engineering Director) was part of the
deal between Flavio Briatore and FIA's Max Mosley the previous year 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. Controversy surrounded the Ligier JS41 car, with rival team owners comparing it to the Benetton B195
car because of their similar design, the only apparent difference being
the engine in each car. Commenting on the design similarities,
Mechanically it [the JS41] is totally different [to the B195] and
structurally it is quite different as well. Aerodynamically, it's as
close as we can make it to being the same. I don't know how you would
end up with anything else if you take a core of engineers who have been
working on the Benetton. Of course the damn thing looks the same. But
if you go into the detail of the car, there is nothing interchangeable.
At the front of the field, Michael Schumacher and Damon Hill in the Benetton and Williams cars respectively were the favourites to battle for the Drivers' Championship, with Schumacher anticipating a "struggle" for the championship. Bernard Dudot, Renault Sport's
Chief Engineer, said that he believed Benetton was less well-prepared
than Williams, as the former team had changed its engine supplier to
Renault, whereas Williams had been in partnership with the company
McLaren were also concerned about the standard refuelling equipment provided for 1995 by suppliers Intertechnique,
having suffered a major leak in a test of the new rig outside of its
factory. Intertechnique had redesigned the fuel equipment, which was
used by all of the teams, in the wake of a pit lane fire suffered by driver Jos Verstappen during the previous year's German Grand Prix.
The new fuel rigs, in addition to being half the size of the 1994, also
featured longer nozzles, and were designed to lock onto the car before
any fuel could begin to flow.
Intertechnique traced the problem to a fault valve within the
equipment, which caused 10 kilograms (22 lb) of fuel to leak, and
modified the parts accordingly. It was only the seventeenth race since
refuelling had been reintroduced to the sport at the start of the 1994
Another rule revision meant that the minimum weight limit of
595 kilograms (1,310 lb) applied to both car and driver together. Prior
to the first session of the season, all of the drivers were weighed to
establish a reference weight to be used on occasions when the two were
weighed separately, or if the driver was unavailable to be weighed. As
such, a small competitive advantage could be established if the driver
attempted to register a weight as heavy as possible, so their actual
weight when driving the car would be lower.
The 1995 F1 Season featured several dramatic incidents, including
seven Grands Prix affected by rain and 4 Grands Prix were red-flagged
on the first lap of the race.
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 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.
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
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
The following teams and drivers competed in the 1995 FIA Formula One World Championship.
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 its 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 going to Frenchman Emmanuel Collard.
- Mika Salo replaced Mark Blundell at Tyrrell, with Gabriele Tarquini now the team's 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 favour 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 team's test driver.
- Mark Blundell replaced fellow countryman Martin Brundle at McLaren, with Jan Magnussen the team's 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 a McLaren driver at the end of January, but he
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 team's test driver. Noda was scheduled to be the team's 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 team's 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 team's 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 that Aguri Suzuki and Martin Brundle would share the second seat, with Franck Lagorce
the team's 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
Non-classified finish (NC)
|Purple||Did not finish (Ret)|
|Red||Did not qualify (DNQ)|
Did not pre-qualify (DNPQ)
|White||Did not start (DNS)|
|Race cancelled (C)|
|Light blue||Practiced only (PO)|
|Friday test driver (TD)|
(from 2003 onwards)
|Blank||Did not practice (DNP)|
|Did not arrive (DNA)|
|Withdrew entry before the event (WD)|
(*) Driver did not finish the race but was classified, having raced more than 90% of race distance.
Rumours and speculation
- 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. Elton Julian, Eric Helary & Christophe Bouchut were also rumoured to be in the frame.
- 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, Érik 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 400 km 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 have 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 strengthened 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.