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1998 FIA Formula 1 Season

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1998 FIA Formula 1 Season
Photo Credit: Daimler AG.
Champion Constructor: McLaren Mercedes (GB,8,8)
Putative Constructor: McLaren Mercedes (GB)
Champion Driver: Mika Häkkinen (FI,1,1)
Putative Driver: Mika Häkkinen (FI)
Putative Constructor Entry Specification: Model MP4-13, 2.99-liter, ten-cylinder vee, light alloy engine, DOHC, fuel injection, six-speed semi-automatic, ventilated carbon disc brakes, carbon fibre/carbon fibre honeycomb monocoque, double wishbone independent suspension, power assisted steering, 765 horsepower (Adrian Newey, Neil Oatley).

The FIA in 1998 mandates the use of grooved rubber, rather than the traditional slick tire, for all entries. Despite a brief tussle with Scuderia Ferrari near season end, McLaren startles the Formula 1 community as its MP4-13 entry suddenly rises from its slumber, moves to the front of the class, and captures the constructors' title, its first since the 1991 season. A clutch victory combined with a miscue by Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher that sends him to the back of the grid in the season finale at Suzuka in November lifts Finn Mika Häkkinen of McLaren (eight victories) to his maiden drivers' crown. Hackles rise amidst the F1 paddock after McLaren utilizes team orders for the second consecutive contest at São Paulo in March to ensure a victory by driver Mika Häkkinen. The use of sophisticated braking systems by several teams at São Paolo in March prompts protests among the other constructors and leads the FIA shortly thereafter to ban the iteration utilized by McLaren. A slew of shunts in the wet at Spa in August lifts Jordan to its first constructors' victory. Racing Evolution: Independent four-wheel braking system (Formula 1).

HeM applies the Putative Model to all racing seasons for two primary purposes: First, to effectively normalize all racing seasons for empirical comparison across the decades, and second, to step clear of series organizers which score season championships primarily out of commercial interest or to attract manufacturer participation. The Putative Model simply scores all seasons in the same fashion as a standard track and field meeting, with the only purpose of tracking what takes place at the finishing stripe If the Putative Champion differs from the nominal Series Champion, please note the (SC) notation below.

McLaren Mercedes193     Hakkinen130
Scuderia Ferrari163     Schumacher M108
Williams Meccachrome41     Coulthard75
Jordan Mugen39     Irvine58
Benetton Playlife37     Villeneuve J II23
Sauber Petronas11     Hill D22

Noteworthy 1998 Races

1998 LXIII Australian Grand Prix South Melbourne, Victoria1998 1998 LXIII Australian Grand Prix At Albert Park for the Australian Grand Prix (307.5 kilometers) in March, the race comes to a British McLaren MP4-13 under Mika Häkkinen (FI) in 1:31:45.9 (average 124.96 mph), under a second (.702) ahead of a companion McLaren driven by David Coulthard. The McLarens pull away early in the affair, yet after a mixup during final service mistakenly brings in Coulthard first and allows the latter to build out a lead, second stopper Häkkinen finally moves out front after McLaren orders race leader Coulthard to allow his teammate through to the point with only three laps remaining. After years of struggling, the sudden superior form of the McLaren MP4-13 turns heads around the F1 paddock. Photo Credit: Steve Etherington.
1998 LVI Grand Prix de Monaco Monte Carlo1998 1998 LVI Grand Prix de Monaco At Monaco for the Grand Prix (262.5 kilometers) in May, a British McLaren MP4-13 Mercedes under Mika Häkkinen (FI) takes race honors in 1:51:23.6 (average 87.89 mph), under twelve seconds ahead of a Benetton entry. Häkkinen leads the race wire-to-wire for a comfortable victory as McLaren wins in the principality for the tenth time and first since the 1993 season. Photo Credit: LAT Photographic Archive.
1998 LI RAC British Grand Prix Silverstone, England1998 1998 LI RAC British Grand Prix At Silverstone for the British Grand Prix (308.5 kilometers) in July, an Italian Scuderia Ferrari F300 under Michael Schumacher (DE) takes the flag in rainy conditions in 1:47:02.5 (average 107.42 mph), under twenty-three seconds ahead of a McLaren entry. Race leader Schumacher, nursing a commanding lead margin, stuns observers on the final circuit by pulling in for service just before the finishing stripe. Many in the audience believe that Schumacher exits the track for some form of mechanical issue, yet all soon learn that Scuderia Ferrari orders Schumacher in to serve a ten-second penalty issued by Race Control for overtaking while under a caution condition. Schumacher crosses the line first while in the service lane, ending the contest and effectively neutralizing any assessed penalty time, and claims for himself a comfortable yet peculiar victory, all to the credit of clever strategy executed by his team. The other constructors immediately howl over the clever move, yet an embarrassed Race Control waves off the pleas as Schumacher makes deep gains into the drivers’ points lead held by Mika Häkkinen. Photo Credit: Steve Etherington.
1998 LVI Belgian Grand Prix Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium1998 1998 LVI Belgian Grand Prix At Spa for the Belgian Grand Prix (306.5 kilometers) in August, a British Jordan 198 Mugen Honda under Damon Hill (GB) unexpectedly notches a victory in rainy conditions in 1:43:47.4 (average 110.13 mph), under a second (.932) ahead of a companion Jordan driven by Ralf Schumacher. Hill moves out front after race leader Michael Schumacher in his Ferrari, gingerly picking his way through backmarker traffic in the wet, erringly crashes into the rear of David Coulthard in his McLaren and disables his own entry with nineteen laps remaining. Jordan finally snares its maiden F1 constructors’ victory, while points leader Mika Häkkinen of McLaren drops out amidst a thirteen-car pileup on Lap 1. Photo Credit: Steven Tee.