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The 1997 Argentine Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Autódromo Oscar Alfredo Gálvez in Buenos Aires, Argentina on 13 April 1997. It was the third race of the 1997 Formula One season and the 600th World Championship event. The 72-lap race was won by Williams driver Jacques Villeneuve after he started from pole position. Eddie Irvine finished second for the Ferrari team and Jordan driver Ralf Schumacher came in third.

1997 Argentine Grand Prix
Race 3 of 17 in the 1997 Formula One World Championship
Autódromo Oscar y Juan Gálvez Circuito N° 6 por Senna.svg
Race details
Date 13 April 1997
Official name XX Gran Premio Marlboro de la Republica Argentina
Location Autódromo Oscar Alfredo Gálvez, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Course Permanent Racing Facility
Course length 4.259 km (2.646 mi)
Distance 72 laps, 306.648 km (190.542 mi)
Weather Partially cloudy and dry with temperatures reaching up to 21 °C (70 °F)[1]
Pole position
Driver Williams-Renault
Time 1:24.473
Fastest lap
Driver Austria Gerhard Berger Benetton-Renault
Time 1:27.981 on lap 63
First Williams-Renault
Second Ferrari
Third Jordan-Peugeot




Most of the talk before the grand prix was about Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Eddie Irvine and their poor starts to the season. Despite going out of business, Lola Team Principal Eric Broadley was confident that the team could be up and running again by the San Marino Grand Prix, albeit with a new main sponsor. The Tyrrell team also caused a stir after arriving at the grand prix with four new wings on the car, two on the nose cone, the other two alongside the drivers head. They resembled x-wings and this was soon used as their nickname. The practice session bought no surprises with the two Williams cars first and second.


As with the practice session, both Williams were once again on the front row, with Jacques Villeneuve on pole. The first real surprise of the weekend was the performance of Olivier Panis in the Prost, who managed to qualify third on the grid. Another strong performance was the fifth place of Rubens Barrichello in the Stewart. As expected, both McLarens qualified low down the field, complaining of poor handling on the bumpy surface. The slowest qualifier Pedro Diniz's lap time would have still been comfortably fast enough to have put him on pole for the previous year's race.


As the red lights went out, Jacques Villeneuve cleanly navigated the first corner and began to pull away from the other front runners. Michael Schumacher (who was unsighted by oil from Frentzen's car) almost collided with Panis, but the Frenchman moved off line to drop a few places rather than to collide with the Ferrari. Going into the first corner, Michael Schumacher was alongside his teammate Irvine and Rubens Barrichello. However, Michael then understeered and crashed into the back of Barrichello's car causing the Brazilian to spin and getting himself to retire. Barrichello would eventually change his front nose and get going again. But in the melee, Coulthard crashed into the back of Ralf Schumacher's Jordan, ripping of his front wheel and putting him out of the race. The track was unpassable with the back of the field taking to the grass to get round the incident, so the Safety Car was called out. At the restart after 4 laps, Villeneuve once again pulled away from Frentzen and Panis, but Frentzen's race ended on lap 6 with throttle problems. The chance of victory for Prost ended on lap 18, also with throttle problems. On lap 24 the two Jordans collided with Giancarlo Fisichella retiring from the race. Hill, who was up to 4th at one point, retired with engine failure on lap 33. Although in the final few laps Irvine closed the gap to Villeneuve, the Canadian held tight and went on to win his sixth career grand prix. Irvine finished second, the highest finish of his career at that point, with Ralf Schumacher scoring his first podium in third.


The talk before the race was on the futures of both Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Eddie Irvine, but both were reassured after the race. A strong performance from the German improved the relationship with Williams, while the second from Irvine meant the Italian press no longer called for his sacking.

There were rumours of discontent in the Jordan camp as both cars collided and the team did not go to the pit wall to celebrate Ralf Schumacher's podium but the team claimed this was done out of superstition after Rubens Barrichello narrowly lost 3rd place at the 1995 Hungarian Grand Prix, although in later races the team were shown awaiting their cars on pit wall if they were in the top 3.

On the podium the organisers mistakenly flew the Irish tricolour instead of the Union Jack, as was usually displayed, for Eddie Irvine. Although Irvine himself, being from Northern Ireland, identifies himself as being Irish despite holding a British passport, his parents' house in County Down was targeted by loyalists as they felt they had been betrayed by the Ferrari driver. Irvine subsequently asked for a white flag with a shamrock to be used if he secured another podium finish; however, the FIA insisted that the Union Jack be used in future.[2]



Pos No Driver Constructor Time Gap
1 3   Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Renault 1:24.473
2 4   Heinz-Harald Frentzen Williams-Renault 1:25.271 +0.798
3 14   Olivier Panis Prost-Mugen-Honda 1:25.491 +1.018
4 5   Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1:25.773 +1.300
5 22   Rubens Barrichello Stewart-Ford 1:25.942 +1.469
6 11   Ralf Schumacher Jordan-Peugeot 1:26.218 +1.745
7 6   Eddie Irvine Ferrari 1:26.327 +1.854
8 16   Johnny Herbert Sauber-Petronas 1:26.564 +2.091
9 12   Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan-Peugeot 1:26.619 +2.149
10 10   David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes 1:26.799 +2.326
11 7   Jean Alesi Benetton-Renault 1:27.076 +2.603
12 8   Gerhard Berger Benetton-Renault 1:27.259 +2.786
13 1   Damon Hill Arrows-Yamaha 1:27.281 +2.808
14 17   Nicola Larini Sauber-Petronas 1:27.690 +3.217
15 23   Jan Magnussen Stewart-Ford 1:28.035 +3.562
16 18   Jos Verstappen Tyrrell-Ford 1:28.094 +3.621
17 9   Mika Häkkinen McLaren-Mercedes 1:28.135 +3.662
18 21   Jarno Trulli Minardi-Hart 1:28.160 +3.687
19 19   Mika Salo Tyrrell-Ford 1:28.224 +3.751
20 15   Shinji Nakano Prost-Mugen-Honda 1:28.366 +3.893
21 20   Ukyo Katayama Minardi-Hart 1:28.413 +3.940
22 2   Pedro Diniz Arrows-Yamaha 1:28.696 +4.496
107% time : 1:30.386


Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 3   Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Renault 72 1:52:01.715 1 10
2 6   Eddie Irvine Ferrari 72 +0.979 7 6
3 11   Ralf Schumacher Jordan-Peugeot 72 +12.089 6 4
4 16   Johnny Herbert Sauber-Petronas 72 +29.919 8 3
5 9   Mika Häkkinen McLaren-Mercedes 72 +30.351 17 2
6 8   Gerhard Berger Benetton-Renault 72 +31.393 12 1
7 7   Jean Alesi Benetton-Renault 72 +46.359 11  
8 19   Mika Salo Tyrrell-Ford 71 +1 Lap 19  
9 21   Jarno Trulli Minardi-Hart 71 +1 Lap 18  
10 23   Jan Magnussen Stewart-Ford 66 Engine 15  
Ret 17   Nicola Larini Sauber-Petronas 63 Spun off 14  
Ret 2   Pedro Diniz Arrows-Yamaha 50 Engine 22  
Ret 15   Shinji Nakano Prost-Mugen-Honda 49 Engine 20  
Ret 18   Jos Verstappen Tyrrell-Ford 43 Engine 16  
Ret 20   Ukyo Katayama Minardi-Hart 37 Spun off 21  
Ret 1   Damon Hill Arrows-Yamaha 33 Engine 13  
Ret 12   Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan-Peugeot 24 Collision 9  
Ret 22   Rubens Barrichello Stewart-Ford 24 Hydraulics 5  
Ret 14   Olivier Panis Prost-Mugen-Honda 18 Electrical 3  
Ret 4   Heinz-Harald Frentzen Williams-Renault 5 Clutch 2  
Ret 5   Michael Schumacher Ferrari 0 Collision 4  
Ret 10   David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes 0 Collision 10  



Milestones: Jordan 100th Race entry; Williams 100th Pole position; Gerhard Berger 20th Fastest lap.

Championship standings after the raceEdit

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.


  1. ^ Weather info for the 1997 Argentine Grand Prix at Weather Underground
  2. ^ "Irvine refuses to make issue of flag choice". Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  3. ^ "1997 Argentine GP Qualifying". Chicane F1. Retrieved 2007-08-06.
  4. ^ "1997 Argentine Grand Prix". Archived from the original on 29 October 2014. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Argentina 1997 - Championship • STATS F1". Retrieved 6 March 2019.

Race Details: "1997 Argentine GP". Chicane F1. Retrieved 2007-08-06.

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1997 Brazilian Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1997 season
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1997 San Marino Grand Prix
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1996 Argentine Grand Prix
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1998 Argentine Grand Prix