2006 Formula One World Championship
Teams and drivers change
Team changes change
Four prominent names in the sport disappeared for this season, with Minardi, Sauber, BAR and Jordan withdrawing, and one new team, Super Aguri entered at the last moment. The Sauber name remained, although largely as a sentiment, as BMW owned 80% of the team to Peter Sauber's 20%. Jordan became MF1 Racing, as Midland started afresh after a disappointing first season under the Jordan name. Late in the season, the team was bought by Spyker. Honda, who already owned a 45% stake in the BAR team, completed their takeover of the team and changed its name to Honda Racing F1 Team at the start of the season. Super Aguri F1 also entered their first season after having problems entering. They received backing from Honda Racing F1 including technology and engines, due to them running Honda driver Takuma Sato.
Williams introduced numerous changes for 2006, particularly changing to Cosworth V8 engines after they and BMW split. Red Bull Racing (RBR) had Ferrari engines, replacing the Cosworth power which gained them seventh in the standings in 2005. Williams and Toyota changed tyre suppliers to Bridgestone, due to Michelin's desire to supply fewer teams in the championship. Despite this Toro Rosso who under the Minardi name ran Bridgestone tyres switched to Michelin in line with parent team RBR.
Driver changes change
At The Start of the Season
- Renault retained both Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella but replaced test driver Franck Montagny with GP2 driver Heikki Kovalainen.
- McLaren also retained both Kimi Räikkönen and Juan Pablo Montoya but Alexander Wurz left the team to test with Williams and the team promoted Gary Paffett to a permanent testing role. Pedro de la Rosa stayed with the team as a test driver.
- Ferrari kept Michael Schumacher but replaced long time team-mate Rubens Barrichello with fellow Brazilian Felipe Massa from Sauber. Massa had previously tested with Ferrari in 2003.
- Williams promoted GP2 World Champion Nico Rosberg to the second driver alongside Mark Webber. Alexander Wurz joined the team as a third driver. India's Narain Karthikeyan has been signed as the second test driver of the team.
- Honda brought in Rubens Barrichello from Ferrari to replace outgoing Takuma Sato.
- Red Bull Racing decided to keep David Coulthard and Christian Klien as full-time racing drivers. Liuzzi who had previously shared the second drive role with Klien moved to new Red Bull owned team Toro Rosso. Robert Doornbos became a test driver for the team.
- New Sauber owners BMW brought in German driver Nick Heidfeld from their old partners Williams. They retained Jacques Villeneuve. Robert Kubica was brought in as 3rd Driver.
- MF1 retained Tiago Monteiro and brought in old Minardi driver Christijan Albers to replace Narain Karthikeyan. They have a rotation system for the 3rd Driver.
- Toro Rosso bring in old RBR drivers Vitantonio Liuzzi and Scott Speed and driver and old Sauber test driver, and Red Bull Junior Neel Jani.
- Super Aguri start the season with Takuma Sato and Yuji Ide an all Japanese driver line up. Franck Montagny from Renault is the third driver.
During the Season
- After the San Marino Grand Prix Super Aguri's Yuji Ide had his superlicence revoked by the FIA and could no longer race in F1. He was replaced by the team's reserve driver Franck Montagny for the next race.
- Super Aguri hired Sakon Yamamoto to be their 3rd Driver from the British Grand Prix onwards, filling the vacant seat, left by the previously promoted Montagny.
- After the United States Grand Prix Montoya announced he is moving to NASCAR next season and leaving McLaren. The next day McLaren announced that Montoya would be replaced in their driver line up by test driver Pedro de la Rosa, ending Montoya's 5 year F1 Career.
- Sakon Yamamoto and Franck Montagny switched places at Super Aguri from the German Grand Prix onwards.
- Robert Kubica replaced Jacques Villeneuve at the Hungarian Grand Prix, possibly due to Villeneuve's injuries after a heavy crash in the German Grand Prix. On the day after the Hungarian GP (7 August 2006), BMW Sauber announced that Villeneuve left the team with immediate effect, with Kubica replacing him for the remainder of the season.
- German Formula 3 driver Sebastian Vettel became BMW Sauber's third driver from Turkey onwards, replacing Kubica who was promoted to a full-time race driver.
- On September 11, 2006, Red Bull Racing announced that the team's third/test driver, Robert Doornbos would replace Christian Klien for the final three races of the 2006 FIA Formula One World Championship. For the races in China and Japan, Michael Ammermüller replaced Doornbos as third driver.
- Spyker MF1 announced a duo of new third drivers for two of the final races of the year. GP2 Series drivers Alexandre Prémat and Ernesto Viso would make their starts in China and Brazil respectively; Adrian Sutil, tester in Germany and France, would test in Japan.
- During the test at the Silverstone Circuit during September, GP2 Series drivers Lewis Hamilton, Nelson Piquet Jr, and Adrian Valles performed test duties for McLaren, Renault and Midland F1, respectively. Franck Montagny also tested for Toyota.
Formula One 2006 race schedule change
Results and standings change
In the 2006 Formula One calendar the Australian Grand Prix was put back to a few weeks to avoid a clash with the 2006 Commonwealth Games. For the first time, Bahrain hosted the first Grand Prix. Brazil hosted the last race and Japan and China swapped their original dates.
Grands Prix change
(*) Driver did not finish the race but was classified, having raced more than 90% of race distance.
- "Midland team bought by Spyker". formula1.com. 2006-09-09. Retrieved 2006-09-09.
- "Kubica replaces Villeneuve".
- "Villeneuve parts company with BMW". 7 August 2006.
- "Robert Doornbos replaces Klien at Red Bull".
- "Red Bull confirms Ammermuller".
- "Third drivers for Midland for the last three races".
- "New test drivers at Silverstone".