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2006 FIA Formula 1 Season

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2006 FIA Formula 1 Season
Photo Credit: Tinu Bau.
Champion Constructor: Renault (FR,2,3)
Putative Constructor: Scuderia Ferrari (IT)
Champion Driver: Fernando Alonso (ES,2,2)
Putative Driver: Fernando Alonso (ES)
Putative Constructor Entry Specification: Model 248 F1, 2.39-liter, eight-cylinder vee, aluminum alloy engine, DOHC, Magnetti-Marelli fuel injection, seven-speed semi-automatic, composite-material gearbox, ventilated carbon fibre disc brakes, carbon fibre/carbon composite honeycomb monocoque, double wishbone-pushrod independent suspension, power-assist steering, 790 horsepower (Aldo Costa, Rory Byrne, Gilles Simon).

Formula 1 enters a new era of management in April 2006 as CVC Capital Partners purchases a majority stake in the endeavor from a consortium controlled by longtime series' supremo Bernie Ecclestone. The new arrangement averts an attempt by five constructors to form a breakaway series as a means of earning a greater share of F1 commercial revenues. The FIA amends its power unit specification to stand at a 2.4-liter displacement limit within an eight-cylinder platform for all entries. The sanctioning body also prescribes a designated seven-speed electronic gearbox specification for all entries. Seeking to improve the spectator experience at its race weekends, the FIA implements a three-segment qualifying format that systematically weeds out slower entries until the final ten qualifiers race for pole position in the final round. Close scrutiny by the FIA of the innovative harmonic mass damper system utilized by Renault during the 2006 season leads to its withdrawal after Magny Cours in July and otherwise transforms a seemingly runaway season by the French make into a thoroughly engaging battle for the constructors' title that comes down to the season finale at Interlagos in October. Renault with its R26 entry captures the nominal constructors' honors by a thin margin, while Scuderia Ferrari earns the putative crown for a boggling twenty-seventh time in similar fashion. Renault pilot Fernando Alonso (seven victories) amasses enough early season race points to hold off hard charging Ferrari pilot Michael Schumacher (seven victories) at season end for his second consecutive drivers' championship. Future F1 champion Nico Rosberg makes his debut at Bahrain in March. The FIA fines Red Bull driver Michael Coulthard $5,000 USD for his use of foul language during a stewards' hearing at Melbourne in April. Fernando Alonso wins four consecutive races between mid-May and late June. Local and FIA scrutineers at Magny Cours in July bitterly dispute the legality of the mass damper system utilized by Renault and other teams. Renault quietly removes its suddenly controversial mass damper system prior to Hockenheim in July. Michael Schumacher wins three consecutive races in July. Constructor Honda earns its first series victory since the 1967 season as well as lifts future F1 champion Jenson Button to his maiden cross at the Hungaroring in August. The FIA deems the Renault mass damper system as a moveable aerodynamic device and thus illegal in August. Michael Schumacher collects his 90th career series victory at Monza in September. Michael Schumacher earns his 91st and final career series victory at Shanghai in October. Seven-time F1 champion Michael Schumacher retires from full-time racing for the first time at season end. Tire supplier Michelin announces its intention to withdraw from F1 at season end. New Racing Makes: Japanese Super Aguri. Austrian Toro Rosso.

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.

Scuderia Ferrari197     Alonso150
Renault (SC)193     Schumacher M131
McLaren Mercedes80     Massa73
Honda51     Raikkonen52
Toyota14     Fisichella50
Sauber BMW14     Button41

Noteworthy 2006 Races

2006 LXIV Grand Prix de Monaco Monte Carlo2006 2006 LXIV Grand Prix de Monaco At Monaco for the Grand Prix (260.5 kilometers) in May, the race comes to a French Renault R26 under Fernando Alonso (ES) in 1:43:43.1 (average 93.64 mph), under fifteen seconds ahead of a McLaren entry. Alonso dominates the contest from the start and roars away to a comfortable maiden victory in the principality. Season rival Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher starts from the rear grid due to a blocking penalty issued by the stewards during qualifying. Photo Credit: Renault.