2006 Bahrain Grand Prix - Race 1/18

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Mosley predicts great F1 season

FIA president Max Mosley believes Formula One is heading for one of its most competitive and exciting seasons for years, judging by the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The close fight at the front of the field between Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso, allied to further promise from McLaren and Honda, has left Mosley upbeat about the sport's prospects for 2006.

"I think it was an excellent start to the season," he said. "Qualifying worked and the race was really exciting. In fact, it was as good as you could have. It is really looking very promising for the year ahead."

When asked whether it was good for the sport that Ferrari were also back up there, Mosley said: "The old firm are back in business. They were as quick as Renault and Renault were as quick as they were.

"I am sure we are going to have several winners early in the season, and not just Renault and Ferrari. I think a Honda win will happen and for Jenson Button that first win will free him up and allow him to win even more.

"It is probably the most promising start to the season we have had for years. It was exciting and I am looking forward to a great season."
 
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An engine failure after the flag

David Coulthard will start Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix from near the back of the grid after his Ferrari V8 blew on the slowing down lap in Bahrain.

"Even if I get pole in Malaysia I will start 11th," said the Scot, whose Red Bull Ferrari team neglected to mention the detail in its post-race press release.

Failing to get a single engine through two complete race weekends results in a ten-position qualifying penalty at the next event.

BMW Sauber's Jacques Villeneuve will also start ten places back in Sepang, after his V8 expired spectacularly without warning in Bahrain.

It is now the subject of an analysis back in Munich.

Meanwhile, F1's new permanent steward made his debut reprimand in Bahrain, scolding BMW Sauber driver Nick Heidfeld after a dice with Coulthard.

The FIA's Tony Scott-Andrews ruled that Heidfeld had wrongfully forced the Red Bull driver off the track after completing a pass.

Thats not really a surprise. I'm more surprised that 3 Ferrari engines still survive...
 
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Massa sparks Ferrari inquests

Felipe Massa's troubled Ferrari debut has sparked off a flurry of investigations at the team.

The Brazilian, who had started from a career-best second on the grid, nearly took out race winner Fernando Alonso at one stage when he dramatically spun.

"We need to find out what caused it," said technical director Ross Brawn, who did not want to rule out driver error.

Then, when Massa pitted for new tyres, mechanics struggled to operate a rear wheel gun, resulting in a stop of nearly a minute.

Ross Brawn admitted: "The back-up system didn't work either. We're going to have a careful look and see what caused this error."
 
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Then, when Massa pitted for new tyres, mechanics struggled to operate a rear wheel gun, resulting in a stop of nearly a minute.

Ross Brawn admitted: "The back-up system didn't work either. We're going to have a careful look and see what caused this error."
Strange that this only ever happens to the other Ferrari drivers and never Schumi ;)
 
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Deleted lap was the key.

The FIA's new '110 per cent' qualifying rule may have cost Michael Schumacher victory in Bahrain.

Ferrari's veteran driver had expected an extra 2.75 kilos of fuel to be added to his car prior to the race -- which would have been enough for one more lap before his decisive last pit stop in the heated duel with Fernando Alonso.

But, after getting held up in traffic on one 'top ten' qualifying flyer on Saturday, the FIA deleted the lap - and therefore the fuel allocation - because it was not within 110 per cent of his pole position.

''Maybe that extra bit would have been enough to stay ahead,'' principal Jean Todt said.

Schumacher himself was more adamant, reporting that the FIA omission was the 'decisive factor' in the loss to Alonso.
 
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FIA to leave V10s alone - for now

Although a storm of controversy whistled through the Bahrain paddock, F1's governing body has vowed to stick with the current restrictions for V10 engines.

Tonio Liuzzi and Scott Speed scored no points in their Toro Rosso cars, but their V10 grunt allowed them to beat a BMW, a Honda and both Toyotas - all major players in the V8 brigade.

"(Toro Rosso) have about 720 horse power," Max Mosley said in Bahrain. "The best new V8s are about 760."

"We have the ability to further limit the performance of the V10s, but for the moment we don't feel the need."
 
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Dutch Guy said:
Strange that this only ever happens to the other Ferrari drivers and never Schumi ;)

I makes me wonder if the 2nd Ferrari driver has all the 'back-up' gear in the first place. Schumy gets priority over the best stuff who knows.

Look at Fisi last season, he had all the bad luck out of the 2 Renault drivers. I guess you need a little luck to win the Championship though. Kimi, just didnt have it most of the time.
 
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Flibster said:
FIA to leave V10s alone - for now

Although a storm of controversy whistled through the Bahrain paddock, F1's governing body has vowed to stick with the current restrictions for V10 engines.

Tonio Liuzzi and Scott Speed scored no points in their Toro Rosso cars, but their V10 grunt allowed them to beat a BMW, a Honda and both Toyotas - all major players in the V8 brigade.

"(Toro Rosso) have about 720 horse power," Max Mosley said in Bahrain. "The best new V8s are about 760."

"We have the ability to further limit the performance of the V10s, but for the moment we don't feel the need."

Even if they did have 40 horses less than most of the other V8 cars, it seemed to me they had some extra grunt behind them to just pass drivers like they wasnt there.

I believe that they should have all the same engines, V8's, despite on different budgets. Its only fair in my eyes.
 
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At the end of the day he has no-one to blame really. He just got beat by a better driver with a quiker pit crew. Cant really complain about that.

I would be happy to see that Ferrari have made progress atlast and they are going forwards. Despite, Ferrari dont 'poorly' last season, they still finished 3rd in the constructors.

Oh, Schummy probably complained about that his pit stop box wasnt the first in the pit lane anymore, cant just drive right in and back out again. Its a thing you got to live with.

Im not a Ferrari fan but I can see Schummy, challenging for the title this year, its going to be very close, if, Kimi, Alonso and Schummy stay out of trouble.
 
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The camera I'm using is a Nikon D50 DSLR
Ok you asked for them so here is some totty pictures:
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Rosberg could have reached podium

Nico Rosberg could have finished on the podium in his debut Grand Prix if he had not got caught up in a first corner incident that damaged his front wing.

That is the view of Williams technical director Sam Michael, who believes that Rosberg could have done even better than his strong run to seventh if he had stayed out of trouble early on.

"On pure maths, from subtracting where he finished behind to where he was behind (after his pitstop to repair the wing), he should have finished in a solid third," explained Michael.

"Whether he would have run with Michael (Schumacher) or Fernando (Alonso) I don't know, but he would have been within 10 seconds of them. Whether he could have even beaten them I don't know, but he would have been third."

Michael admitted that he was one of many at Williams who were left surprised by Rosberg's strong performance - which included several great overtaking moves and the fastest lap of the race.

"I think he surprised everyone," explained Michael. "There was just that moment at the first corner. He should not have been there and it was all his fault.

"Nick (Heidfeld) was not there to give him space, but then he came on the radio and very clearly said he was coming in for a front wing. There was no messing about or panicking about what happened.

"He came in, we then had a problem with his pitstop on the front jack and lost another 10 seconds there, so he lost about 45 seconds all up. But he got his head down and did a perfect race from there."

Rosberg backs up the belief that he would have done even better if he had not been caught up in the first corner incident – but he has no complaints about his performance.

"If you don't lose 25 seconds early on then of course you can score more points, but if and when is always easy to say," he explained. "Unfortunately I lost it like that in the corner. I haven't watched it properly on TV but it was probably my fault.

"I am very pleased though. I was quick and getting the fastest lap of the race is special on my debut. So, with the two points, I am very pleased."

Talking about his great moves on the Red Bull Racing cars, Rosberg said: "They told me on the radio that I could catch them and that is the way it is.

"I could not see the times they were doing but they said, 'push, you are catching them at one second per lap'. I thought, 'Whoa, here go,' although I thought it would be very difficult to pass them. In F1 I always heard it was impossible to pass but in the end I got there and went straight past, so I am very happy."

When asked about father Keke's reaction to his debut, Rosberg said: "I think he was happy. I am sure after the first corner he packed up and went to the hotel and watched it there, but maybe he came back after that. I am sure he was happy."
 
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Coulthard calls for engine rule re-think

David Coulthard has called on the FIA to re-examine the penalties for changing an engine after the heartbreak of his power-unit failing after the chequered flag in Bahrain.

The Red Bull Racing driver had endured a frustrating afternoon at Sakhir, mostly affected by a major flat-spot on his right front tyre that dropped him to 10th overall, but it got worse after the chequered after he suffered an engine problem.

With a new power-unit needed for this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix, Coulthard is facing the prospect of starting from the back of the grid before the action has even begun.

Coulthard bumped into FIA president Max Mosley immediately after the race in Bahrain to express his disappointment about the situation, and later called on the sport's governing body to consider a change to the 10-place grid penalty system.

"I saw Max and jokingly said you need to sort this out," explained Coulthard. "For me I was 14th on the grid and, if you give me 10 places, then I am at the back. I am not driving a McLaren and I cannot go from there to third place.

"I understand the regulations to try and make people use less engines, but I think there should be a handicap penalty based on a performance at a GP. Maybe it could be percentage to the fastest time, but just 10 places is wrong. The guys at the front only ever get to just outside the top 10 whereas we always have to go to the back."

Looking back at the race, Coulthard admitted there was some encouragement in seeing teammate Christian Klien get to the chequered flag - even though his own race was a disappointment.

Klien's performance was the first time the RB2 had completed a full race distance following the troubled pre-season testing build-up.

"I think it is important after all the difficulties that we had to get one point," added Coulthard. "It is kind of like we have got the first part of the job done.

"For me, my race was not very enjoyable. I really felt like I was learning about the car because it is the longest runs I have done with it, so I had a bit of a journey into the unknown.

"I never really felt comfortable all weekend and, to add insult to the rest of it, I flat-spotted my front when I was battling with Nick Heidfeld right down to the metal in the wheel.

"My visibility was zero and I had the conversation with the team, was I better pitting and getting a new set of tyres versus staying on track? With hindsight being a wonderful thing maybe I should have pitted and put new tyres on."
 
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Gascoyne perplexed by Toyota's problems

Toyota's technical director Mike Gascoyne has admitted the team are perplexed by their poor pace at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Japanese team, one of Formula One's biggest spenders, left Bahrain with nothing to show for after a dismal performance both in qualifying and the race. Ralf Schumacher finished in 14th position and teammate Jarno Trulli down in 16th.

Toyota were the first team to launch their 2006 car and were optimistic they could be fighting for wins this season.

Gascoyne said the problem in Bahrain was the lack of grip.

Toyota have switched from Michelin to Bridgestone tyres this year, but both Ferrari and Williams, also on Bridgestones, enjoyed a competitive weekend.

"We're a little bit perplexed," said Gascoyne. "In winter testing, we knew we were struggling with the tyres a little bit, but we had a performance level that was similar to Williams - we actually expected to be slightly quicker.

"But we've simply been unable to find any grip this weekend. Our used race tyres look brand new. There is no wear – we simply don't seem to be able to get the tyre into an operating window.

"All the Bridgestone runners have struggled with that over the winter. We expected it to be much better here because of the ground temperatures – and for Williams, it clearly was. But for us, the drivers said they had absolutely no grip.

"It's very difficult to understand – the drivers say that, coming out of the corner, the traction control cuts in and the wheels just sit there, there's no grip. The lack of pace is just very difficult to understand.

"We know we improved the car and we back-to-backed the aero package and we know it's significantly better. We were reasonably confident but we just haven't made the tyres work."

Gascoyne said Bridgestone had also failed to find an explanation for the problems, but the Briton said the Japanese company was not to blame.

"Bridgestone are perplexed and hopefully, given data from all their runners, they'll be able to tell us where we're going wrong," he added.

"It was clear all last year that we were very gentle on tyres and very often, we ran softer compounds than others because we could get away with it. It just seems that now we just drop out of the operating window of the tyre.

"We need to go back and start testing. We need to be running softer, because this compound is what Ferrari run. It's not like you can't make this work. Clearly, we have no grip – it can be made to work, we aren't doing.

"It's not a problem of Bridgestone, they're trying to help us cure it. I don't know what's wrong – it's very clearly a problem and it's hard to understand.

"We're not there because we've got no downforce, and the drivers say the same. They describe the car as very disconnected with no grip, but there's nothing wrong with the car.

"It's a very strange comment from a driver – he's not saying it's under-steering like a pig, they say it's okay, it's nice but it just has no grip."

Toyota will have no time to test before the next race, with the Malaysian Grand Prix taking place next weekend.
 
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Renault apologise to Fisichella

The Renault team have apologised to Giancarlo Fisichella for the problems that he suffered during the Bahrain Grand Prix.

"We have apologised to him for what happened yesterday," said director of engineering Pat Symonds. "The engine problem he had suffered in qualifying had not gone away, and his performance was seriously compromised.

"He lost some fifty horsepower, and in fact drove a really excellent race. But he was eventually halted by an hydraulic leak."

The Italian qualified down in ninth place on Saturday and struggled in the race until he finally had to retire on lap 30.

"Last year, I won the first race then had a difficult season," Fisichella said. "This year, I hope it will be the other way round - a bad race then a lot of good results."
 
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Hey guys, 1st off awsome posting Simon bloody nice work been following your posts for some time now :)

Im a McLaren fan and bloody hell kimi did a great job :) real pleased for him.

My question is was McLaren running the car detuned? i think i remember reading about they had something like 60hp missing? was that confirmed? If so surely they have got the fastest car as kimi lap times wasn't far off
 
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