On This Day in 1997: Jacques Villeneuve becomes Formula One world champion

By PA Sport Staff
·1-min read

Jacques Villeneuve was crowned Formula One world champion on this day in 1997 after rival Michael Schumacher spun off while attempting to take the Canadian out of the European Grand Prix at Jerez.

Villeneuve went on to finish the race in third place behind Finland’s winner Mika Hakkinen and Britain’s David Coulthard, but that was enough to seal him the title.

Ferrari’s Schumacher, who had started the day with a one-point lead in the drivers’ championship, collided with Villeneuve’s car on lap 48.

The German was unable to restart his car after ending up in a safety lane, having tried to cut off Villeneuve’s manoeuvre as he came up on the inside of a bend.

Villeneuve went on to complete the remaining 21 laps, his Williams Renault car virtually undamaged from the collision, after Schumacher had walked disconsolately back to the pits.

Schumacher had led all the way after beating Villeneuve, who had started in pole position, to the first bend, but he later came off worst in his bid to block his rival, damaging his front wheel and skidding off.

It proved to be Villeneuve’s only Formula One drivers’ title, while two-time winner Schumacher would be crowned world champion five more times.