The 2002 Formula One season was the 53rd FIA Formula One World Championship season. It commenced on March 3, 2002, and ended on October 13 after seventeen races. It appeared to be nothing more than a battle for second or third place in the driver's standings for those competing because Michael Schumacher finished first or second in every race except for the Malaysian Grand Prix, where he finished third. He won 11 Grands Prix, winning the title by a record 67 points, beating his own previous record for the previous season. This record would not stand for long, as it was beaten again by Schumacher in 2004. He would also set the record for shortest time in which the World Drivers Championship had been clinched, securing the title with a win at the French Grand Prix, with 6 races to go in the season. Schumacher finished on the podium in every race.
Drivers and constructors
The following teams and drivers competed in the 2002 FIA Formula One World Championship.
The 2002 season featured several driver line-up changes before the season and more changes during the season proper.
Before the season opener in Australia, the following lineup changes had occurred:
- The collapse of the Prost team left several drivers without a race seat in 2002 and cars 18 & 19 unoccupied.
- Jean Alesi did not seriously pursue an F1 drive for 2002 and signed up a drive with Mercedes in the German DTM.
- Luciano Burti, who had driven for both Jaguar and Prost in 2001, left the struggling Prost team before their collapse in order to join Luca Badoer in a test role at Ferrari.
- Tomáš Enge had filled in for the injured Burti at Prost in 2001. He was dropped by Prost at the end of the 2001 season for financial reasons, and returned to Formula 3000 for 2002.
- With three races left to go in the 2001 season, Mika Häkkinen announced that he was not intending to drive in F1 in 2002. Denying any claim of retirement, he stated that he needed a sabbatical and would return to McLaren at a later time. Häkkinen later officially left McLaren and retired from F1 in 2002, and as of 2008 was instead driving in the German DTM series with fellow F1 refugee Jean Alesi.
- Kimi Räikkönen was released by Sauber in order to allow him to sign on with McLaren where he took Häkkinen's seat.
- Felipe Massa was signed by Sauber to take over Räikkönen's seat.
- Antônio Pizzonia was signed to become a Williams test driver alongside Marc Gené. Pizzonia had been driving a Williams sponsored car in the International F3000 series in 2001, and he continued that drive in 2002 along with his test duties at Williams.
- Midway through 2001, Giancarlo Fisichella announced his intention to leave Benetton after 2001 to drive for Jordan.
- Benetton replaced Fisichella with Jordan driver Jarno Trulli, meaning that Fisichella and Trulli had swapped seats at the two teams.
- Takuma Sato left his test driver slot at BAR to join Fisichella as the second main driver at Jordan.
- Sato's position in the large test driver pool at BAR was taken by compatriot Ryo Fukuda.
- Ricardo Zonta, realising that he had no future at Jordan, left his reserve seat there to drive in the Telefonica World Series. He would return to F1 in 2003 as a test driver for Toyota.
- Fernando Alonso left Minardi after an impressive 2001 campaign, and signed on with Renault as a test driver.
- Alonso's Minardi seat was taken over by Mark Webber.
- Andre Lotterer was employed as a test driver at Jaguar.
- Heinz-Harald Frentzen, without a drive after the collapse of Prost, joined the Arrows team for 2002. This was his third different team within two seasons.
- Frentzen displaced Jos Verstappen at Arrows, and Verstappen was unable to secure a drive at another team. Verstappen resurfaced at Minardi in 2003.
- Mika Salo (formerly with Sauber in 2000) and newcomer Allan McNish arrived with the new Toyota team.
During the season even more changes occurred:
- Heinz-Harald Frentzen decided to leave Arrows following the German GP due to the uncertain future of that team. Arrows collapsed several days later and did not take part in the rest of the season which also left Enrique Bernoldi without a drive. Frentzen had an unhappy time in 2001 as well having been sensationally dumped by Jordan mid-season and then driving for Prost before that team's collapse. Frentzen would later drive for Sauber in 2003.
- The Prost team was placed into receivership in November 2001, and was liquidated by the receivers in January 2002. This ended the long history of the team which had competed as Ligier since 1976.
- Toyota entered the championship after much development work in 2001.
- The Benetton team had been purchased outright by Renault in 2001 and was renamed Renault F1 for 2002. The team did not substantially change apart from the name, as Benetton had been running a car with Renault components for several seasons.
- Arrows suffered financial collapse after the German GP, and did not take part in any remaining races. An attempt to register for the 2003 season was rejected by the FIA.
- Phoenix Finance bought the remains of Prost Grand Prix and attempted to enter Formula One starting at the 2002 Malaysian Grand Prix with drivers Gastón Mazzacane and Tarso Marques. But their entry was reject by the FIA for not purchasing all of the Prost Grand Prix team. They still attempted to race at Malaysia, but race officials prevented them from competing in the event, even with a court appeal.
Formula One 2002 race schedule
Results and standings
Points for the 2002 FIA Formula One World Championship for Drivers were awarded on a 10-6-4-3-2-1 basis to the top six finishers at each round.
Non-classified finish (NC)
|Purple||Did not finish (Ret)|
|Red||Did not qualify (DNQ)|
Did not pre-qualify (DNPQ)
|White||Did not start (DNS)|
|Race cancelled (C)|
|Light blue||Practiced only (PO)|
|Friday test driver (TD)|
(from 2003 onwards)
|Blank||Did not practice (DNP)|
|Did not arrive (DNA)|
|Withdrew entry before the event (WD)|