The walrus-nosed FW26 causes a stir when it’s launched, but it takes a while to threaten its main rivals on-track. The team works tirelessly to improve performance and a late run of form is enough to ensure it beats longstanding rivals McLaren in the constructors’ championship. Juan Pablo Montoya ends the year – and his Williams career – on a high in Brazil when he gives the team its only victory of the year. A hefty shunt at Indianapolis leaves Ralf Schumacher with hairline fractures of the 11th and 12th vertebrae, forcing him onto the bench for six races. He’s replaced by Marc Gene and Antonio Pizzonia, with mixed results. A mid-season technical reshuffle sees Sam Michael take the reins as technical director, while Patrick Head becomes the team’s director of engineering. BMW, meanwhile, becomes the first manufacturer to exceed 19,000rpm with its P83 engine.
Engine: BMW V10
GPs Contested: 18
Fastest Laps: 2
Constructors Championship: 4th, 88 points.
Drivers Championship: Montoya, 5th; Schumacher, 9th; Pizzonia, 15th; Gene, N/A
Juan Pablo Montoya’s victory in the Brazilian Grand Prix, in which he comes home just 1s ahead of future team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.
DID YOU KNOW?
The threat of a typhoon over the Japanese Grand Prix weekend prompted organisers to cancel all of Saturday’s on-track sessions, including qualifying.