(as I looked through the year, I found something I'll definitely will change for the second go, but here comes "that history")
Before the season an expected driver swap between Tyrrell and Sauber - Katayama will drive for the Swiss team, while Rosset goes to Tyrrell. (It makes no sense, I made a mistake in my own system back then, it's painful to realise 3 years later.)
The season starts in Australia, Villeneuve is on pole but is out after the first corner. Michael Schumacher wins the first race for Ferrari, with Berger second, but biggest surprise on the podium is Nicola Larini with Tyrrell. The team's success is full with Ricardo Rosset 4th (thus unrejectifying himself!!!), Lamy is 5th for his first race in the Jordan and is also out of the reject status, while Salo is 6th in the Williams. Mastercard Lola has the same fate, as in reality.
Brazil: Villeneuve wins from pole, Schumacher keeps the lead in the WDC finishing 2nd, Berger is 3rd. Coulthard, Hakkinen and Alesi in the points, no big surprise in Interlagos.
Argentina: Villeneuve wins again from pole, this time Berger is second, Barrichello has a fantastic race after first corner crash and scores Stewart team's first podium with third. Rosset is 4th again, Hill scores for the first time for Arrows and Herbert is 6th in the Minardi!
San Marino: Villeneuve has a disastrous race from pole, Berger retires, and eventually, Ralf Schumacher takes his first win Imola (4 years too early
). Even more amazingly, Jordan's first win is a 1-2, as Lamy comes in 2nd. Panis is 3rd with Prost, the supposedly bigger teams come after this with Irvine, Hakkinen and Salo rounding up the top 6.
Monaco: It's really wet, Schumacher and Barrichello both retire while running in the lead, Damon Hill is also out despite taking pole
, so Eddie Irvine takes his first F1-win. Panis is 2nd after last year's heartbreak, and Jan Magnussen unrejectifies himself with Stewart's second podium of the year. Berger is 4th, Coulthard is 5th and Salo is 6th, again.
Lots of surprises so far brings up tight standings:
M Schumacher 16
R Schumacher/Panis 10
Spain: Villeneuve wins from pole, Lamy is second starting 12th on the grid and Salo finally makes the podium with the Williams. Irvine is 4th, Hill 5th and M Schumacher 6th. Larini was replace from this race by Gianni Morbidelli despite his podium in Melbourne.
Canada: after taking yet another pole Villeneuve crashes out early in the race, Benetton is strong enough to make it a 1-2 with Berger winning his first race since Germany 1994. M Schumacher is 3rd, Hakkinen is 4th, Hill finishes 6th. David Coulthard took a 3-race off starting in Canada, and his replacement, Alexander Wurz scores a point on his debut. Panis has a huge crash and breaks his leg. Prost signs Trulli from Minardi, whose place is taken by Tarso Marques from the next race on.
France: Berger takes pole and then makes it 2 in a row taking the WDC-lead. Villeneuve is second and Salo is third, with Alesi 4th. Frentzen scores Sauber's first points of the season with a 5th and Irvine picks up one point for Ferrari. This was Norberto Fontana's first race, replacing Morbidelli.
Britain: Villeneuve wins from pole. Trulli shows his talent with a brilliant drive for 2nd in the Prost, Alesi is 3rd. Hakkinen and Salo come after that and in the other Prost, Shinji Nakano finally scores his first point.
Standings after 9 races:
M Schumacher 21
WCC seems to be a Williams-Benetton battle, the defending champions leading 59-53, Ferrari is 3rd with 38.
Germany: another dominant performance by Berger winning both on Saturday and Sunday. Coulthard is second on his comeback scoring McLaren's first podium of the season, Alesi is 3rd. Ralf Schumacher scores his first points not counting his win with a 4th, Fontana takes a rather unexpected 5th, and Hakkinen is 6th. Despite his 2 points, Fontana is replaced by Morbidelli from the next race.
Hungary: Villeneuve is on pole, but the race is not his. Arrows is unexpectedly strong, but Hill has to retire from the lead. Berger takes a win, Alesi makes it a 1-2 for Benetton, Diniz is 3rd ahead of Villeneuve. Frentzen and Morbidelli pick up the minor points for Sauber and Tyrrell.
Belgium: Villeneuve again can't capitalize on his pole position, he's only 5th. Mika Hakkinen scores his first win for in Formula One (and no, he wasn't disqualified, as I took that as a random as well, so he was DSQ'd elsewhere). Damon Hill's car can make it this time to the end and takes 2nd, Berger is 3rd. Lamy finishes 4th and Alesi is 6th.
Italy: Ferrari finds pace for Monza again, and Schumacher wins the race for the second year in a row. Alesi and Coulthard finish 2nd and 3rd, with Hill, Hakkinen and Villeneuve taking the minor points.
Standings before the last 4 races:
So is it gonna be Berger or Villeneuve?
Austria: Villeneuve is back to the winning ways, Coulthard is 2nd, Lamy finishes 3rd. Herbert scores a fantastic 4th in the Minardi, Morbidelli is 5th and Katayama finally scores his first point. Berger is off pace all race, so his lead is cut to 1 point.
Luxembourg: McLaren is quick, Coulthard takes pole, but is unlucky in the race. Panis is back for Prost after his injury but he can't finish the race, Nakano on the other hand shows his talent and wins the race! No one saw this coming. Arrows takes a strong double-podium (Hill 2nd, Diniz 3rd) to make it an absolutely awesome podium. Hakkinen is 4th, Rosset 5th and Irvine is 6th.
Japan: Berger takes pole but that brings no luck to him. But with Villeneuve's car failing, the Austrian will still have a 1 point-lead before Jerez. McLaren scores a 1-2 with Coulthard leading Hakkinen, Salo is 3rd. Lamy scores 3 for Jordan, Rosset 2 for Tyrrell and Herbert 1 for Minardi.
Before Jerez, Berger has 63 points and Villeneuve 62. In WCC Benetton has a 15-point lead over Williams.
Europe: Villeneuve takes pole, Berger starts 3rd with a few surprises in qualifying, Magnussen, Panis and Hill being both quite up the grid. The race seems a Schumacher-Villeneuve battle, while Berger is falling backwards. Villeneuve would win the championship with a second place, but is challanging Schumacher for the lead. The two collide, but only the German is out, and nobody cares about him at this point. Villeneuve is slowing. He's passed by Magnussen and Panis, but a 3rd is still good enough, as Berger is only 6th behind Coulthard and Irvine. In front Jan Magnussen wins a race for Stewart and Panis is 2nd and yet to win a GP.
Well, it was a random season in real life with many teams challanging for race wins even - an alternative reality obviously made it more random.
1997 final standings:
Jacques Villeneuve 66 (5 wins)
Gerhard Berger 64 (4 wins)
David Coulthard 34 (1 win) - despite missing 3 races
Mika Hakkinen 32 (1 win)
Michael Schumacher 31 (2 wins)
Jean Alesi 31 (3 2nds)
Pedro Lamy 24 (2 2nds)
Damon Hill 21 (2 2nds)
Eddie Irvine 20 (1 win)
Mika Salo 17 (3 3rds)
Olivier Panis 16 (2 2nds)
Jan Magnussen 14 (1 win)
Ralf Schumacher 13 (1 win)
Shinji Nakano 11 (1 win)
Ricardo Rosset 10 (2 4ths)
Pedro Diniz 8 (2 3rds)
Jarno Trulli 6 (1 2nd)
Johnny Herbert 5 (1 4th)
Rubens Barrichello 4 (1 3rd, 2 10ths)
Nicola Larini 4 (1 3rd, 1 13th)
Heinz-Harald Frentzen 4 (2 5ths)
Gianni Morbidelli 3 (1 5th)
Norberto Fontana 2 (1 5th)
Ukyo Katayama 1 (1 6th, 1 8th)
Alexander Wurz 1 (1 6th, 1 9th)
Tarso Marques 0 (1 7th)
Vincenzo Sospiri and Jos Verstappen didn't make it to the only race the took part in.
First win for Hakkinen, Irvine, Magnussen, R Schumacher and Nakano
First podium for Lamy and Trulli (+ the obscure winner trio)
First points for Fontana and Wurz
Lamy, Magnussen, R Schumacher, Rosset, Nakano and Trulli all unrejetified themselves during the season, while 4 of them never made it in real life.
(Lola no starts)
First race win for both Prost and Stewart with many other former champions wondering that they should have entered a team.
After his most successful season, Gerhard Berger feels it's time to retire on a high. Ukyo Katayama also retires from the sport.
WCC-winner Benetton replaces their retired star with Mika Hakkinen. David Coulthard also leaves McLaren to join Damon Hill at Arrows. McLaren promotes Wurz into a full year seat and signs last year's Jordan star Pedro Lamy.
Jordan replaces Lamy with the best driver from last year's WCC-8th, Ricardo Rosset.
With Rosset leaving Tyrrell gives another chance to Larini and they sign Johnny Herbert who scored 5 points for Minardi last season.
Minardi replaces Herbert with Jos Verstappen and seeing Nakano's success, gives a chance to another Japanese prospect, Tora Takagi.
Nakano can't keep his Prost seat despite his win, so he goes to Sauber, joining rookie Esteban Tuero.
Pedro Diniz leaves Formula One and Heinz-Harald Frentzen doesn't find a place either.
Full line-up for 1998:
Williams: Villeneuve - Salo
Benetton: Hakkinen - Alesi
McLaren: Lamy - Wurz
Ferrari: M Schumacher - Irvine
Jordan: Rosset - R Schumacher
Prost: Panis - Trulli
Arrows: Coulthard - Hill
Tyrrell: Larini - Herbert
Stewart: Magnussen - Barrichello
Minardi: Verstappen - Takagi
Sauber: Nakano - Tuero