The 2004 FIA Formula One World Championship was the 58th season of FIA Formula One motor racing. It was the 55th FIA Formula One World Championship, and was contested over eighteen races from 7 March to 24 October 2004.
The championship was dominated by Michael Schumacher and Ferrari, with Schumacher winning the Drivers' Championship for the seventh and last time. Schumacher's teammate Rubens Barrichello finished the championship in second with Jenson Button coming in third for BAR. Ferrari won the Constructors' Championship for a record 14th time ahead of BAR and Renault.
In this championship, several records were broken. Michael Schumacher won 13 races, breaking his record of 11 race wins in one season from 2002. He also broke the record for most consecutive World Drivers' titles (5) and Ferrari broke the record for most consecutive Constructors' titles (6).
|Entrant||Constructor||Chassis||Engine+||Tyre||No||Driver||Rounds||No||Free Practice driver(s)|
|Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro||Ferrari||F2004||Ferrari 053||B||1||All||N/A|
|BMW WilliamsF1 Team||Williams-BMW||FW26||BMW P84||M||3||Juan Pablo Montoya||All||N/A|
|West McLaren Mercedes||MP4-19
||Mercedes FO 110Q||M||5||David Coulthard||All||N/A|
|Mild Seven Renault F1 Team||Renault||R24||Renault RS24||M||7||Jarno Trulli||1-15||N/A|
|Lucky Strike BAR Honda||BAR-Honda||006||Honda RA004E||M||9||Jenson Button||All||35|
|Sauber Petronas||Sauber-Petronas||C23||Petronas 04A||B||11||Giancarlo Fisichella||All||N/A|
|Cosworth CR-6||M||14||Mark Webber||All||37||Björn Wirdheim|
|Panasonic Toyota Racing||Toyota||TF104
|Toyota RVX-04||M||16||Cristiano da Matta||1-12||38|| Ricardo Zonta|
|Jordan Ford||Jordan-Ford||EJ14||Ford RS2||B||18||Nick Heidfeld||All||39|| Timo Glock|
|Timo Glock||8, 16-18|
|Minardi Cosworth[note 1]||Minardi-Cosworth||PS04B||Cosworth CR-3 L||B||20||Gianmaria Bruni||All||40||Bas Leinders|
+ All engines were 3.0 litre, V10 configuration.
Four of the ten teams, Ferrari, Renault, Jaguar, and Toyota, were subsidiaries of major car companies. However, BAR was a division of British American Tobacco. Williams and McLaren, both privately-owned teams, had engine supply agreements with BMW and Mercedes-Benz respectively, and Honda produced engines for BAR.
The other 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 received Ferrari engines badged under the Petronas name and received sponsorship from the Malaysian oil and gas company.
From the 2004 season onward, all the teams that did not finish in the top four in the previous year's Constructors' Championship were allowed to run a third car in the Friday practice session before each Grand Prix, for testing purposes. While other teams were permitted to have test drivers, they were not allowed to compete in the Friday practice. Sauber chose not to run its third driver in these sessions because of the added expense.
The 2004 season also saw a change in technical regulations, including the banning of two electronic driver aid systems, namely fully-automatic gearboxes and launch control, both of which had been used for the past three seasons, marking the first time since the beginning of 2001 (pre-Spanish Grand Prix) that cars competed without using these systems. However, the use of traction control was still permitted by the FIA, and continued to be allowed for use over the next three seasons, until it was officially banned for the 2008 season.
The 2004 Formula One calendar featured two new events: the Bahrain Grand Prix and the Chinese Grand Prix, held at two newly built circuits in Sakhir and Shanghai. The season featured the most races outside Europe to that point; eight Grands Prix were held in the Americas, Asia, and Oceania. The Brazilian Grand Prix moved from its traditional early season slot to become the season finale, whereas the United States Grand Prix moved from its previous date in late September to late June as a back-to-back race with the Canadian Grand Prix.
The only exit was the Austrian Grand Prix, after seven years of racing at the A1-Ring, the modified circuit old Österreichring. The grandstands and pit buildings were demolished during the year, rendering the track unusable for any motorsport category. The circuit eventually reopened in 2011 as the Red Bull Ring and was later reinstated to the F1 calendar in 2014.
|1||Australian Grand Prix||Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne||7 March|
|2||Malaysian Grand Prix||Sepang International Circuit, Sepang||21 March|
|3||Bahrain Grand Prix||Bahrain International Circuit, Manama||4 April|
|4||San Marino Grand Prix||Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola||25 April|
|5||Spanish Grand Prix||Circuit de Catalunya, Montmeló||9 May|
|6||Monaco Grand Prix||Circuit de Monaco, Monaco||23 May|
|7||European Grand Prix||Nürburgring, Nürburg||30 May|
|8||Canadian Grand Prix||Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal||13 June|
|9||United States Grand Prix||Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Speedway||20 June|
|10||French Grand Prix||Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, Magny Cours||4 July|
|11||British Grand Prix||Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone||11 July|
|12||German Grand Prix||Hockenheimring, Hockenheim||25 July|
|13||Hungarian Grand Prix||Hungaroring, Mogyoród||15 August|
|14||Belgian Grand Prix||Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Stavelot||29 August|
|15||Italian Grand Prix||Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, Monza||12 September|
|16||Chinese Grand Prix||Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai||26 September|
|17||Japanese Grand Prix||Suzuka Circuit, Suzuka||10 October|
|18||Brazilian Grand Prix||Autódromo José Carlos Pace, São Paulo||24 October|
Ferrari dominated the opening weekend at Albert Park in Australia, comfortably locking out the front row in qualifying and earning a 1-2 in the race. Michael Schumacher set the fastest lap of the race on his way to a lights-to-flag victory, with teammate Rubens Barrichello and Renault's Fernando Alonso joining him on the podium. Schumacher followed that up with another pole and victory at Sepang, finishing ahead of Juan Pablo Montoya and Jenson Button, the British driver scoring his first career podium and the BAR Honda team's best result since the 2001 German Grand Prix. Mark Webber, who split the Ferraris in qualifying in his unfancied Jaguar, suffered a poor start before colliding with Ralf Schumacher and spinning out.
Formula One's first visit to the Arab world since the 1958 Moroccan Grand Prix took place at the Bahrain International Circuit. The Ferrari duo of Schumacher and Barrichello once again finished 1-2 in both qualifying and the race, with Button's second consecutive podium elevating him to third in the Drivers' Championship as the series headed for Europe.
Jenson Button scored his and BAR's maiden pole at the San Marino Grand Prix, but Michael Schumacher overtook him on the eighth lap and finished nearly ten seconds ahead. Button and Juan Pablo Montoya completed the rostrum--the latter beating Fernando Alonso to the line by just two seconds--while Kimi Räikkönen recorded his first finish of the season in eighth, using a two-stop strategy to claim the final point from last on the grid. Despite suffering from a defective exhaust, Schumacher dominated the Spanish Grand Prix as well, as front-row starter Montoya retired with brake problems and early leader Jarno Trulli took third behind Rubens Barrichello.
At the Monaco Grand Prix, Trulli scored his first career victory from pole after surviving intense pressure from Jenson Button. Rubens Barrichello in third was the only other driver on the lead lap, albeit more than a minute behind the leaders. Teammate Schumacher was one of several front-runners who retired, the championship leader's five-win streak ending after a collision with Juan Pablo Montoya under the safety car. That safety car period was necessitated by Fernando Alonso, who slammed the barrier on lap 42 while attempting to lap the Williams of Ralf Schumacher in the tunnel. Earlier in the race, a fast-starting Takuma Sato suffered a spectacular engine failure on the third lap at the Tabac corner; the smoke from the rear of his BAR machine blinded the queue behind him, causing Giancarlo Fisichella to mount the back of David Coulthard's McLaren and flip over. Olivier Panis stalled as the race was due to begin, shortening the race to 77 laps as the remaining drivers completed a second formation lap. Panis later recovered to eighth place as he and sixth-placed Cristiano da Matta scored Toyota's first points of the season.
Michael Schumacher returned to his winning ways by leading the majority of the European Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, with Barrichello and Button following him home in second and third. Ralf Schumacher, meanwhile, collided with da Matta at the start, causing both cars to retire from the race. Front-row starter and one-time leader Sato joined the list of retirements with a late engine failure, as did the McLaren duo of Räikkönen and Coulthard, both of whose Mercedes engines expired at the manufacturer's home race.
At the Canadian Grand Prix, Timo Glock replaced Giorgio Pantano at Jordan for financial reasons. Ralf Schumacher qualified on pole position, joined by Jenson Button on the front row, with Michael Schumacher only starting from sixth. After a series of lead changes, the elder Schumacher ultimately crossed the line first, followed by his brother and Rubens Barrichello. But the Williams of Ralf Schumacher--along with his fifth-placed teammate Juan Pablo Montoya and the Toyotas of Cristiano da Matta and Olivier Panis in eighth and tenth--would later be excluded from the results due to an irregularity in the brake ducts, promoting Barrichello to second and Button to third. The McLaren and Jordan teams were also beneficiaries of the four disqualifications, with Glock--in his Formula One début--and Nick Heidfeld both scoring points.
Barrichello qualified on pole for the United States Grand Prix, with Michael Schumacher alongside him. Schumacher would go on to win once more as Barrichello and Takuma Sato--scoring his first and only Formula One podium--completed the top three. It was a race dominated by accidents, however, beginning with a first-lap incident that eliminated Gianmaria Bruni, Giorgio Pantano, Felipe Massa és Christian Klien. On the ninth lap, Fernando Alonso suffered a puncture and crashed at the end of the start-finish straight, with Ralf Schumacher crashing at the oval section for the same reason on the following lap. Schumacher suffered a concussion and fractured vertebrae in that final-corner accident, which kept him out of the following six races. Thanks to the high attrition rate, only eight cars crossed the line; the final finisher was Zsolt Baumgartner, who became Hungary's first points scorer and earned the Minardi team their first point since 2002.
In France, Michael Schumacher beat Alonso with a clever four-stop strategy. Barrichello overtook the second Renault of Jarno Trulli on the final corner of the race to snatch third place, while Marc Gené, who replaced the injured Ralf Schumacher at Williams for the French and British Grands Prix, finished tenth. Michael Schumacher overpowered polesitter Kimi Räikkönen to take his tenth win of the season at Silverstone. Räikkönen, who finished second, bagged McLaren's first podium in 2004, ahead of Barrichello in third. The race was notable for Jarno Trulli's massive accident, the Italian losing control of his car at Bridge and hitting the tyre barrier before rolling in the gravel trap.
Schumacher won from pole at the German Grand Prix, beating Jenson Button--who started thirteenth after a ten-place penalty for an engine change--and Fernando Alonso. Front-row starter Juan Pablo Montoya could only manage a fifth-place finish, while his new teammate Antônio Pizzonia finished seventh. After setting the fastest lap of the race, Kimi Räikkönen suffered a high-speed rear wing failure at the end of the start-finish straight on lap 14 and crashed into the tyre wall.
A string of disappointing results from Toyota's Cristiano da Matta led to his replacement by test driver Ricardo Zonta from the Hungarian Grand Prix onward. There, Schumacher led another Ferrari 1-2 in both qualifying and the race to secure Ferrari the Constructors' trophy, with the race's 2003 winner Alonso completing the podium.
The Belgian Grand Prix also included numerous accidents and safety car periods. A first-lap collision between Mark Webber and Takuma Sato eliminated both of them; Zsolt Baumgartner avoided the initial wreckage but knocked teammate Gianmaria Bruni's car into the wall, which then bounced back and collected Giorgio Pantano. On the thirtieth lap, Jenson Button suffered a right-rear puncture and lost control of his car, crashing into the Minardi of Zsolt Baumgartner that he was attempting to lap. Kimi Räikkönen eventually won the race, his first of the year, from a lowly 10th place on the grid. Michael Schumacher finished second and thus secured himself the world title, as his forty-point gap to Rubens Barrichello--who finished the race third--was by that point insurmountable.
At the Italian Grand Prix, Barrichello led a Ferrari 1-2 in front of the loyal Tifosi, although Schumacher, who started third, spun off on the first lap and had to rejoin the race at the back of the field. Following the race, Jarno Trulli parted ways with Renault, with 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve returning to Formula One as his replacement. Immediately before the Chinese Grand Prix, fellow Italian Giorgio Pantano was dropped by the Jordan team and replaced once more by Timo Glock for the last three races. That race was also won by Barrichello from pole, with Button and Räikkönen less than 2 seconds behind. Michael Schumacher started from the pit lane and could only make it to 12th place following several mistakes and a puncture, while a returning Ralf Schumacher retired with suspension damage.
The Japanese Grand Prix weekend was affected by Typhoon Ma-on, which caused widespread damage to parts of Japan and saw the postponement of qualifying to the morning of race day. With the rain dying down in time for the race, Michael Schumacher took his 13th win from pole, with his brother Ralf starting and finishing second and Jenson Button completing the podium. A collision between David Coulthard and Rubens Barrichello--who set the fastest lap of the race--eliminated both of them from the Grand Prix. Following his acrimonious split from Renault, Jarno Trulli finished eleventh in his first race for Toyota, while his teammate Olivier Panis retired from the sport after the race.
The Brazilian Grand Prix was won by Juan Pablo Montoya--who also set the fastest lap--from second on the grid, with his soon-to-be McLaren teammate Kimi Räikkönen and polesitter Barrichello finishing behind him. It was Montoya's last outing for Williams and the team's last victory until the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix. It was also the final race for Minardi duo Zsolt Baumgartner and Gianmaria Bruni and the Jaguar team's last entry before they were bought by Red Bull. David Coulthard finished his last season with (the team he had been with since 1996) without a podium finished during the season.
|1||Australian Grand Prix||Ferrari||Report|
|2||Malaysian Grand Prix||Michael Schumacher||Juan Pablo Montoya||Michael Schumacher||Ferrari||Report|
|3||Bahrain Grand Prix||Michael Schumacher||Michael Schumacher||Michael Schumacher||Ferrari||Report|
|4||San Marino Grand Prix||Jenson Button||Michael Schumacher||Michael Schumacher||Ferrari||Report|
|5||Spanish Grand Prix||Michael Schumacher||Michael Schumacher||Michael Schumacher||Ferrari||Report|
|6||Monaco Grand Prix||Jarno Trulli||Michael Schumacher||Jarno Trulli||Renault||Report|
|7||European Grand Prix||Michael Schumacher||Michael Schumacher||Michael Schumacher||Ferrari||Report|
|8||Canadian Grand Prix||Ralf Schumacher||Rubens Barrichello||Michael Schumacher||Ferrari||Report|
|9||Rubens Barrichello||Rubens Barrichello||Michael Schumacher||Ferrari||Report|
|10||French Grand Prix||Fernando Alonso||Michael Schumacher||Michael Schumacher||Ferrari||Report|
|11||British Grand Prix||Kimi Räikkönen||Michael Schumacher||Michael Schumacher||Ferrari||Report|
|12||German Grand Prix||Michael Schumacher||Kimi Räikkönen||Michael Schumacher||Ferrari||Report|
|13||Hungarian Grand Prix||Michael Schumacher||Michael Schumacher||Michael Schumacher||Ferrari||Report|
|14||Belgian Grand Prix||Jarno Trulli||Kimi Räikkönen||Kimi Räikkönen||Report|
|15||Italian Grand Prix||Rubens Barrichello||Rubens Barrichello||Rubens Barrichello||Ferrari||Report|
|16||Chinese Grand Prix||Rubens Barrichello||Michael Schumacher||Rubens Barrichello||Ferrari||Report|
|17||Japanese Grand Prix||Michael Schumacher||Rubens Barrichello||Michael Schumacher||Ferrari||Report|
|18||Brazilian Grand Prix||Rubens Barrichello||Juan Pablo Montoya||Juan Pablo Montoya||Williams-BMW||Report|
Points were awarded to the top eight classified finishers.