1 World Drivers’ Championship – All drivers
Only two-thirds of the 24 participants scored points in 1996. Olivier Panis, Monaco Grand Prix winner, added just three more points to the tenhe scored in that race.
2 World Drivers’ Championship – Battle for the title
The championship battle was decided in the final round although Jacques Villeneuve only had a slender chance of beat team-mate Damon Hill.
3 World Drivers’ Championship – Points systems 1981-present
To highlight how the post-2003 points system rewards consistent finishing in the lower places more than occasional finishes in the higher places, compare Jean Alesi and Michael Schumacher. Alesi (no wins) trailled Schumacher (three wins) by 12 points in real life, but under post-2003 points he would have been just two points behind.
4 World Constructors’ Championships – All constructors
Benetton could not live up to their championship-winning performance in 1996 and dropped behind Ferrari and Williams.
5 World Constructors’ Championships – Battle for the title
Williams ran away with the constructor’s championship while Ferrari snuck into second at the final round.
6 Drivers’ Average Start Positions
Forti duo Luca Badoer and Andrea Montermini made it to the grid just 10 times from 22 attempts before the team folded after the British Grand Prix. Villeneuve, new to much of the F1 calendar, still took pole at his debut race, the first at the Melbourne Park circuit.
7 Drivers’ Top 3 Qualifying Positions
Hill started every race from the front row of the grid, a clear example of the superiority of the Williams.
8 Drivers’ Average Position Changes and Participations
Alesi and Gerhard Berger had swapped Ferrari overalls for Benetton, where Berger found himself usually outqualified by Alesi and fared less well moving up through the field (although his late retirement in the German Grand Prix skews the statistics somewhat).
9 Drivers’ Points per Round and per Finish
Villeneuve proved slightly more consistent in terms of bringing the car home than Hill, which brought him within range of the championship. Ferrari unreliability hindered Schumacher.
10 Drivers’ DNFs (totals)
Four disqualifications in 1996: Ukyo Katayama (Nurburgring), Mika Salo twice (Nurburgring and Barcelona) and Johnny Herbert (Magny-Cours).
11 Drivers’ DNFs (by driver)
Giovanni Lavaggi briefly took Giancarlo Fisichella’s placeat Minardi as Lavaggi brought more money. What he coudn’t do, though, was qualify the car within 107% of the pole position time – hence his three failures to qualify from six attempts.