2006 Spanish Grand Prix - Race 6/18

Man of Honour
OP
Joined
18 Oct 2002
Posts
39,748
Spanish GP: Race notes - BMW

Nick Heidfeld finished 8th in the Spanish Grand Prix and this result means the new BMW Sauber F1 Team has now collected world championship points from four of the six races to date. Jacques Villeneuve started at the very back of the grid in 22nd but managed to work his way up to 12th.

Nick Heidfeld: I am very happy. The goals we set for ourselves were to be in the top ten in qualifying and in the points in the race, and we achieved both of these. For me it is very important to be back to normal again. The steps we have taken are working and obviously we found what the problems were from Imola and the Nürburgring. My start wasn't good, but I was able to defend tenth and the balance of the car was okay for the entire race distance. It was important to overtake Rubens Barrichello. At this point in the race his car was heavy and mine was light. If he had held me off I would not have made it into the points, but I overtook him on the outside in turn one, which is always fun.

Jacques Villeneuve: I had a good start, but the two Super Aguris had amazing starts and then there were cars in front and there was nowhere to go. It was a question of braking late. I was next to David Coulthard, but then he pushed me wide a little bit, which was fair. Then I lost six seconds in the first two or three laps, and that was it. We could not do too much today, the best I think we could have hoped for was tenth without the start difficulties. Our pace was good in the race, and we have a lot of mileage left on our engine for Monaco, so we can do a lot of laps and we should be quick there.

Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director): As usual in Barcelona it was a race with not a lot of overtaking and this time with not a lot of incidents either. Our drivers with their different strategies had problem free and mistake free races. Nick managed to go from tenth to eighth and collected one important point. Jacques made up ten positions and came in 12th with his one stop strategy. During this season we have collected points in four out of six races and we are satisfied with this.

Willy Rampf (Technical Director Chassis): This was a good race for us with both cars finishing trouble free. Jacques started 22nd but got stuck behind slower cars for quite a while. After he was by them he made up many positions despite a heavy car. He drove a good race and expecting better than 12th was not realistic. Nick started from tenth and had a very consistent race pace, thus enabling us to gain one position thanks to our strategy on a circuit where overtaking is difficult.
 
Man of Honour
OP
Joined
18 Oct 2002
Posts
39,748
Spanish GP: Race notes - Toyota

Panasonic Toyota Racing suffered a difficult afternoon's work in today's Spanish Grand Prix. Both Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli qualified on the front four rows but both were relatively slow off the line and during the first stint Ralf was directly behind Jarno. On lap 16 he attempted a manoeuvre into the first corner and the pair touched, with Jarno's right rear tyre knocking off Ralf's front wing. After pitting for a replacement, Ralf suffered a suspected electronics problem that led to his retirement. Jarno battled hard for the rest of the race and brought the car home in an eventual 10th place. Toyota will spend this week testing at France's Paul Ricard circuit with its new TF106B car, which is scheduled to make its race debut at the Monaco Grand Prix in a fortnight's time.

Jarno Trulli: "Early on when Ralf and I were racing we were on similar strategies. But I was on old tyres and suffering from graining and he was quicker. When he made the move on me I just took my usual driving line. I didn't deliberately close the door and I didn't do anything unusual. I didn't even feel the collision and the first time I noticed that we had touched was when Ralf disappeared from my mirrors. No one was to blame, it just goes down as a racing incident. Toyota allows its drivers to race on equal footing but I'm really sorry because he is my team-mate and no one wants to have any problems inside the team. So I hope we can clarify the situation and I'm sure we will. I suffered no damage and my second stint was much more competitive but the problems returned on the last stint. So we have to analyse the data to see what happened. Then I will need to do a lot more work to set this car up for my driving style."

Ralf Schumacher: "At Toyota we go to the grid as racing drivers and in a race we are allowed to overtake each other. So that means that sometimes things like this can happen. Today I was following Jarno closely during the first stint and I tried to pass him on the entry to the first corner on lap 16. It was normal racing but we touched this time. It wasn't a heavy impact but unfortunately I lost my front wing when I hit his tyres so I had to pit for a replacement. That left me well down the field and I then suffered an electronic problem which led to my retirement. All in all it was a day to forget. But at least we were quick in qualifying so we have to look to return to the points in Monaco."

Tsutomu Tomita - Team Principal: "It looks like we will have to spend a lot of time analysing what went wrong today. On Friday and Saturday the car, the engine and the tyres were all working well and things were looking good. But today's race pace ended up very similar to what we had last week at the Nürburgring and we have to understand why we could not race at the speed of the top teams. First we have to learn why our starts were so poor because that was one of the causes of the issues we had in the race. We also have to analyse Jarno's car performance to find out why he struggled for the second race in a row. We will need to investigate the causes when we arrive back in Cologne. Finally we have to understand why our two drivers had a collision. At Toyota our philosophy is very much based around racing. We are a race team and that means our drivers have to be free to race - but with one limit. Based on the results of our investigations into everything that happened today we will seek to improve for the next race. We will have a busy evening and a busy week ahead."
 
Man of Honour
OP
Joined
18 Oct 2002
Posts
39,748
Spanish GP: Race notes - Honda

The Honda Racing F1 Team secured a two car points finish in today's Spanish Grand Prix after Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello finished the race in 6th and 7th positions.

After making up a place off the grid, Jenson posed a strong challenge to Raikkonen, edging closer and closer through the 66-lap race. Rubens lost a place off the start and unfortunately lost time in the first and final stints of the race. The team's combined result today sees them take another step closer to McLaren in the Constructors standings but the Monaco Grand Prix in two weeks time is the main focus now and the team will be testing a number of new ideas in Vallelunga next week in preparation.

Jenson Button: "The car worked well and it was pretty much a faultless race, although I was behind Rubens in the first stint and Raikkonen was able to pull away. As soon as I had clear air the car worked very well and the balance was good - probably the best it has been since Malaysia. I was quite happy, reeling in Raikkonen every lap by a tenth or two tenths but it would have been a closer fight had I not been hampered by problems that stemmed from yesterday's qualifying. I'm looking forward to Monaco and testing at Vallelunga next week in preparation for that race."

Rubens Barrichello: "It was a tough race but two cars in the points is not a bad result considering the strength of the competition. I lost a place off the start and then lost a bit of time because of some fuel pressure problems on my in-lap. After that, things ran pretty much according to plan, apart from a vibration in the last stint which again lost me some time. Now we have to focus on improving for Monaco because it's a track where we can be strong."

Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: "We scored some more points, this time with both cars, which is very positive. While we are not as fast as we would like to be, we had a good battle with Raikkonen right through to the end and made the most of what we had. The day went relatively smoothly without any major dramas and both drivers pushed extremely hard. As well as the next race in Monaco potentially suiting our cars better, we go to Vallelunga next week to evaluate some improvements. Our focus is on closing the gap."

Shuhei Nakamoto, Management Board Member - Honda Racing F1 Team, Engineering Director - Honda Racing Development: "Both drivers gave it everything they had today and the result is an accurate reflection of our level at the moment. Every member of the team knows we need to keep pushing hard to close the gap to the front runners."
 
Man of Honour
OP
Joined
18 Oct 2002
Posts
39,748
Spanish GP: Race notes - McLaren

Team McLaren Mercedes driver Kimi Raikkonen finished fifth in today's 66-laps Spanish Grand Prix. Juan Pablo Montoya retired from the race on lap 18 after spinning at turn two and getting stuck on the kerb. Kimi was on a two-stop- strategy and made his pit stops on laps 22 (7.9 seconds) and 46 (7.6 seconds). Kimi remains third in the Drivers' ranking with 27 points and Juan Pablo is seventh with 15 points. Team McLaren Mercedes holds third place in the Constructors' Championship with 42 points. The team will test this coming week at the Paul Ricard track in France with all four drivers sharing the work load.

Kimi Raikkonen: "A rather uneventful race for me. I made a good start where I managed to get up from ninth to fifth and that was all the progress I was able to make. It was simply not possible to keep up with the Renaults and the Ferraris this weekend and we will spend the time before the Monaco Grand Prix looking at ways to improve."

Juan Pablo Montoya: "I made a dreadful start off the line and lost three or four places but managed to gain some ground again in the first corner to end up 11th. Then I don't know quite what happened but I lost the car and got stuck on the kerb and that was it. The strategy we were running meant that I carried a lot of fuel and I think with the ways things were looking we could have scored some points today. Overall a difficult weekend for us but we will continue testing this week and then look forward to the Monaco Grand Prix.".

Ron Dennis: "A difficult weekend for us where despite a good drive by Kimi, we were only able to achieve fifth place. The whole team is working hard to improve the package to increase our performance in the coming races."

Norbert Haug: "To be the third team behind Renault and Ferrari again and the gap to the leaders is a disappointment that we have to change. Kimi made a perfect start to improve from ninth to fifth but the overall pace of his car was not fast enough and he delivered what was possible today. Juan Pablo was on a one stop strategy but he spun out of a possible points result the cause of which we will investigate. Our attention is now on improving our technical package during the next races."
 
Man of Honour
OP
Joined
18 Oct 2002
Posts
39,748
Spanish GP: Race notes - Midland

A broken front wing brought Christijan Albers' race to an end on the 48th lap of the Spanish Grand Prix. Christijan attempted to nurse the car home, but was thwarted by uncontrollable handling and retired to the garage with 18 laps remaining.

On a more positive note, Tiago Monteiro took the chequered flag in 16th position for his 23rd finish in 25 Grand Prix starts, extending his reliability percentage to an impressive 92%.

MF1 Racing returns to its headquarters in Silverstone to continue development of the M16 in preparation for the Monaco Grand Prix in two weeks.

Tiago Monteiro: "We're finishing stronger and stronger, so that's a very positive point for us. Perhaps it wasn't very apparent today, but we had a very good car, and again, I have to thank my team, because they did a great job. I really enjoyed my car throughout the race. It's just too bad that Montagny tapped me from behind and spun me off early in the race, because it destroyed my race strategy, unfortunately."

Christijan Albers: "We came into this race knowing that we didn't have the top speed to be competitive. My problem today was that I was gaining time in the corners but losing it all on the straights. To make matters worse, my front wing broke and destroyed some other parts, which made the car undriveable. The car was just becoming too difficult to control. But we are planning to change my chassis for Monaco and we will both have fresh engines, so hopefully that will help."

James Key, Technical Director: "We had hoped for a more competitive performance, but to be fair, this is a circuit that has traditionally been difficult for us. The mix of straights and low-speed corners work against each other in the way you have to set up a car. But some teams manage to do it and this weekend we haven't really done as much as we'd hoped. So, yes, that's a bit frustrating. Being caught behind slower cars meant that we got lapped earlier than we would have normally, and that took a lot of our race time away - roughly two seconds per lap. Once we got caught in that situation, the blue flags killed the lap times further, because our drivers had to slow down and move off the line to let the leaders by. Tiago did a good job to make it to the finish and he was generally pretty consistent. We had a strategy for Christijan which we felt was the right direction to go, given his position on the grid, but the issues he encountered during the race put paid to those ideas. He either hit a kerb or got hit by someone else's flying bodywork; we'll have to analyse the damage to see what it was."

Dominic Harlow, Chief Race and Test Engineer: "Another solid finish for Tiago - 23 out of 25 so far, and counting. We've not quite got the pace yet to challenge our closest competitors, but it's getting there. For Christijan, obviously, the retirement was disappointing. We brought him in because we weren't going to be classified under the 90% rule, so it was pointless to continue at that stage. We'll be looking into what caused his problem, which was related to the front wing. In any event, the damage to the car made it too difficult for him to drive, so rather than risk his safety, we decided to bring him in."
 
Man of Honour
OP
Joined
18 Oct 2002
Posts
39,748
Spanish GP: Race notes - Ferrari

Jean Todt: "We were expecting a very close race and that's what we got, although obviously we were hoping it would work out in our favour. Nevertheless, this weekend confirmed we are competitive, even if today, we have to admit our closest rivals were stronger. We had opted for a strategy that meant carrying a bit more fuel at the start than those ahead of us on the grid, but it did not work out for us. All the same, Michael and Felipe picked up thirteen points which are very valuable and consolidate our positions in both championships. Now we have to put a great deal of effort, along with our technical partners, first and foremost Bridgestone, to be even more competitive in the next few races."

Michael Schumacher: "The race result was decided in the first stint, as Fernando was able to pull out quite a gap, because I simply did not have the pace to stay with him. I was not held up by Giancarlo. After the lap times we had done earlier in the weekend, this was surprising, but we have seen before that in Barcelona, very small things can change your performance quite quickly. It seems that today, this had a negative effect on us and a positive one on Renault. Eight points is still good and I could say that while I was disappointed to have only won two points last Sunday, here I can be happy to have only lost two. There is still a long way to go and we will keep on fighting to try and win."

Felipe Massa: "The car worked well and our pace was what we expected, but today, our rivals were simply a bit quicker than us! I had some traffic in a few crucial phases of the race and that's one of the reasons I could not close on Giancarlo to try and get past him in the run of pit stops. Overall, we have picked up some important points for the championship."

Ross Brawn: "The car and the Bridgestone tyres performed well, but we need to find a bit more performance. There were moments when we got very close to our rivals, but I think Fernando had a slight edge today. In the first part of the race, when Giancarlo was ahead of our cars we knew we would be unable to stay in touch with Fernando and so we waited for the pit stop to try and get past Giancarlo, which Michael managed to do. However, in the next stint, we realised we were not quick enough to aim for victory. Now we have to work on improving the package for the forthcoming races."
 
Man of Honour
OP
Joined
18 Oct 2002
Posts
39,748
Spanish GP: Race notes - Bridgestone

Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa spearheaded Bridgestone's Spanish Grand Prix charge today but despite their best efforts couldn't quite catch local hero, Fernando Alonso, at the Spaniard's home grand prix. Felipe Massa was actually the quickest man on track today after posting a 1m16.648 on lap 42 but the Ferraris first had to battle to get past Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella before even attempting a move on the race leader. In the end, it wasn't quite enough and the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro pair took the chequered flag in second and fourth places respectively. Ferrari maintain their second place standing in the constructors' points and Schumacher and Massa take enough points to keep them second and fifth in the drivers' championship points standings. Of the remaining Bridgestone runners, WilliamsF1's Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg finished ninth and eleventh after getting caught up in the mid-field traffic and Toyota Racing's Jarno Trulli finished tenth. MF1 Racing's Tiago Monteiro and Super Aguri F1 Team's Takuma Sato will be pleased to have completed the race today, giving them confidence ahead of the next round in Monaco.

Hisao Suganuma, Technical Manager of Bridgestone Motorsport: "We had quite hot weather today with track temperatures coming up to 37 degrees which is about the same as yesterday. We saw our tyres perform consistently in these conditions but we could probably do with a little more grip. Nevertheless every race result gives us valuable data and we will learn from today and improve for the coming races. Tyre appearance was quite good, there were no specific problems and we'll take second and fourth – they are not at all bad results. Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg got caught up in traffic and although they did their best they couldn't make it into the points. It was a little disappointing that the Toyota drivers didn't capitalise on their grid positions. Tiago Monteiro and Takuma Sato both finished today's tough race which was good to see and now we shall go away, analyse the situation and see how we can help our teams even more from a tyre point of view."

Ross Brawn, Technical Director – Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro: "Obviously we had the worst case scenario today and while Giancarlo Fisichella was in front of us we couldn't even attempt to get Fernando Alonso. So we sat there until the first opportunity. Michael managed to get past [Fisichella] but really we weren't quite quick enough. I think Alonso had the edge on speed today. The car and Bridgestone tyres performed well but we just need to find that little extra performance."
 
Man of Honour
OP
Joined
18 Oct 2002
Posts
39,748
Spanish GP: Race notes - Michelin

Fernando Alonso became the first Spanish driver to win his home round of the world championship with a dominant performance at the Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona. He led from pole position and finished comfortably clear of his closest rival after 66 laps.

Alonso's victory was his third of the season and Michelin's fourth – it was also the 97th in Bibendum's illustrious F1 history. Six Michelin drivers finished in the points today.

With one third of the season gone, Michelin's six partner teams have scored 158 of the 234 available world championship points – a 67.5 per cent strike rate.

Nick Shorrock, Michelin Formula One director: "We ran all -new tyre specifications this weekend because we knew, in the wake of recent results, that we needed to take an evolutionary step forward. If anything I think we have exceeded our own expectations.

"All weekend, our tyres have provided a good blend of first -lap speed and consistency over a race stint – whether drivers stayed out for about 20 laps or, in one instance, more than 40.

"The result speaks for itself and I would like to thank our partners and engineers for their contribution to this immensely satisfying result – proof positive of Michelin's ability to respond effectively to a fierce challenge."

Pat Symonds, executive engineering director, Renault F1 Team: "We simply could not have asked for anything more.

"Michelin and its partner teams came to this race with an aggressive range of tyre compounds that delivered excellent opening-lap performance and proved less susceptible to degradation than rival products. We simply could not have asked for anything more."
 
Man of Honour
OP
Joined
18 Oct 2002
Posts
39,748
Post-race press conference - Spain

TV Unilaterals

Q. Fernando, that looked like 66 perfect laps.

Fernando Alonso: Yeah, I think we did our maximum race performance today. The tyres performed really well throughout the race. We had some doubts before the start and everything went perfectly. As we planned, we pushed in the first stint, we were lighter than the Ferraris so we needed a gap. We found the gap quite quickly and then it could have been a defensive race from there on, but it was not the case. This time Ferrari was not coming really strongly so I was just maintaining the gap and especially in the last stint, controlling the revs and trying to finish a race that was obviously very long for me today.

Q. It certainly looked as if you were enjoying the closing laps of the race. Can you just describe to us your emotions as you took the chequered flag?

FA: During the last five or six laps, I saw that Michael was slowing down as well, not pushing any more so it was just four or five laps just cruising to the end and for sure the chequered flag finished the race and I finished everything in front of everybody here, in front of my people, my supporters. I think it was the best feeling so far in Formula One, equal to the Grand Prix of Brazil, when I won the championship. I finished third in that race with a lot of problems, defending the third place and I didn't enjoy it so much as I did today, when I was alone, leading the race.

Q. Michael, a very strong second place for you, splitting the Renaults. How much was it defined for you having to sit behind Giancarlo Fisichella?

Michael Schumacher: The race result didn't really have anything to do with that, because Giancarlo was going at a certain pace, which at certain moments I couldn't match and clearly, as the weekend developed, it started very well for us and then it sort of went away from us over the weekend which we obviously have to understand and look into. But we were simply not quick enough today.

Q. Obviously he won the drag race into the first corner but you obviously carried a lot more fuel into the race, a lot more than the Renaults.

MS: Yeah, I mean if you consider the amount of fuel we carried, it would have been easy to achieve pole position yesterday but our strategy was obviously different. It worked out at the Nurburgring. Here, it would have worked out had we been quick enough, but because the speed wasn't there it didn't work out.

Q. Your thoughts on that second place and a good solid eight points.

MS: Yeah, absolutely, it's eight points. You have to understand at certain moments what is possible and what is not possible. You can only try so much yourself. You have to rely on your package, and again, it didn't work out today but there's a long way to go until the end of the season, so as we have seen, I was probably not so happy just to gain two points in the last two races. Now I'm reasonably happy to lose only two points. It's the way it's going to go and we'll have to see what happens through the year.

Q. Giancarlo, P3 for you, a very strong start to the race, leading Michael, obviously very important from a team point of view, the position you took.

Giancarlo Fisichella: Yes, of course. We did a great start, even better than Fernando and after the first corner, we were able to hold first and second places. We set a good pace and for the first part of the race we were a bit lighter than Ferrari but the pace was quite good. In the second stint, just after the first stint, Michael came across the circuit and just passed me at the pit stop. After that, when I was in turn three, my engineers called me to say something and I was in the middle of turn three, and I lost control of the car and I went onto the gravel and maybe I damaged the car. It wasn't bad, the car balance was OK but the grip wasn't great, but apart from that it's a great result for us and as we expected, it was a tough race between us and Ferrari.

Q. Fernando, returning to you, you said yesterday that you didn't think 66 laps were going to be enough for you to enjoy but you have conceded that it seemed like a long race towards the end. Again, just talk us through those few emotional moments for you.

FA: It's true that to race here and to race in front of an all blue grandstand is a different feeling compared to all the other races and it's true that 66 laps is not enough probably to enjoy all the race but when you are leading with ten seconds or whatever I think you want to finish the race, already, and celebrate victory if you can. It was a fantastic day, difficult to forget for me.

Press Conference

Q. Fernando, does it get any better than winning at home and being greeted on the podium by your King?

FA: No, so far it's the best thing that has probably happened to me in Formula One, apart from Brazil where I won the championship, this one was maybe a better feeling because I crossed the line winning the race. In Brazil it was a dramatic race because I had to defend third position to be champion mathematically and it's a different feeling. Here, with no thoughts in my mind, just free to drive, to win the race, the happiness is better.

Q. Tell us about the start, Giancarlo nearly got you there.

FA: Yeah, Giancarlo had a better start. Probably the reaction time was not great for me and for sure, Giancarlo started better this time and I was lucky to defend the position from the inside line and to get first position thanks to Giancarlo, also in the first corner. It's always better to fight with your teammate than with any other driver.

Q. Then you did a short first stint but quite a long final stint. FA: Yeah, the strategy played well today. It was a little different to Ferrari this time. I think it worked OK because we had pole position, we had a gap after the first stint when we were lighter and then we controlled the gap, more or less, so I'm quite happy. Q. What animal were you copying on your car at the end?

FA: It's a secret. It's not an animal, either.

Q. Michael, you've been quite confident this weekend, so when did you realise you didn't have the necessary pace?

MS: Basically when I had free air and couldn't really make up enough ground.

Q. That was after Giancarlo's pit stop?

MS: Yeah, although I wasn't that close behind him before the first pit stop, so already there it seemed very difficult. But then we obviously knew that maybe later in the race, with a better set of tyres, it may work out differently. But I still had the option and possibility to close down but as we couldn't do it in the second stint, we couldn't really make any real impression and win any ground in terms of lap time, so it was clear it would be difficult.

Q. But you had at least overtaken Giancarlo?

MS: Sure. Knowing that I was so close behind him and saw him going in reasonably early, compared to what we could do, it was sort of clear although I almost lost it because I had a little moment in one of the corners, in those important laps, had a bit of traffic, so there were a couple of factors that didn't really help, but I still made it.

Q. So it was a little bit tight to come out ahead of him.

MS: Yeah, because of the issues I just mentioned; normally it would have been a bit more clear.

Q. Obviously second place was not where you hoped to be, but only losing two points is not so bad.

MS: Yeah, that's the way you have to see it. You have to understand that you can't win every race. At certain moments those guys are better than us and maybe at other moments it will be the other way around. It's a long year to go. We will keep on fighting.

Q. Giancarlo, How close were you to overtaking Fernando at the first corner?

GF: It was close, but it was just the first corner so...It was important to get through the first corner and carry on in the first two positions for us and that as done. I got a good reaction time, better than Fernando, but its okay. I'm happy.

Q. What prevented you from staying ahead of Michael at the first stop?

GF: Obviously I was pushing and we were able to be a little bit quicker than him. Obviously I was a little bit lighter then the Ferraris. I think the car balance was little difficult in the rear end and a bit unstable in high-speed corners and the grip wasn't great to push very hard. Apart from that it was a good race and just after the first pit-stop, when I was behind Michael and my engineers called me in turn three and I lost control of the car and went into the gravel. That was a critical part of the race.

Q. You were talking about the car not having fantastic grip or whatever. Was that in the first stint or did it change after you went off in the gravel?

GF: No, no. Already in the beginning of the race I was pushing, but not 100 per cent because it wasn't comfortable enough to do that. Maybe after the exit I lost some piece but not sure.

Q. It didn't change that much? GF: No, not that much.

Questions From The Floor

Q. (Salvatore Zanca - Associated Press) Fernando, what's the one thing you remember about today and what did the King say to you when he handed you the trophy?

FA: The thing to remember today is a little bit of everything. The lap I did with the king in the car this morning with all the people enjoying seeing us together, and then the start, the first lap, then Michael coming out of the pits behind me. I think the people realised I was still leading the race so the next two laps were everything blue in the grandstand moving, jumping and for sure the last two laps, the emotion I have in the car. And finishing the race, so a little bit of all. With the King, nothing really, just a little bit of congratulations, a nice race and normal things in the podium

Q. (Fritz-Dieter Rencken – The Citizen) Michael, the incident where you say you nearly lost it. Was that at turn seven or was it somewhere else?

MS: Turn seven.

Q. (Mathias Brunner – Motorsport Aktuell) Michael, you were so confident yesterday of the race pace – it's hard to believe where the pace went. Are we talking about a tyre problem here because the car apparently worked fine?

MS: I don't believe it's fair to blame anything on one area without studying, because, as you quite rightly say, in qualifying, if you put a bit of maths in, I would have been two or three tenths quicker than the pole position time, so it would have been reasonably possible to achieve that, but, all the long runs we did on Friday and Saturday were very quick and quite good. In the race we just weren't able to quite match it in this situation for whatever reason. We have been here for testing in the winter, it's sometimes a wind direction change, a temperature change or whatever, could just trigger things to shift one or the other way. We've seen it in the past and we've seen it in the last test we did here and maybe that's what happened today. Obviously I've just been in the car and not been able to analyse what's happened. I don't know exactly what's going on, I just know that its not what happened before.

Q. (Juha Paatalo – Financial Times Deutschland) Fernando and Michael, normally this track shows the real performance of the cars. If you look at all the other cars, they are a whole way behind you. Are you surprised at that?

FA: I am a little bit surprised, yes, because the last two races was only a fight between Ferrari and Renault and no-one has come in really strongly. Sometimes they show potential in the tests, sometimes on Fridays, sometimes in qualifying, but in the races the fight has been, at least in the last two races, between Ferrari and Renault. I think though that they can come back, especially McLaren and I'm pretty sure before later they will fight with Ferrari and Renault too.

Q. (Mike Doodson) To Michael & Fernando, the two of you have dominated this season and given us lots of pleasure. But both of your successes have been the results of team-work. Do you ever think of the prospect of having a straight race between you? Does that prospect appeal to you?

MS: So you want us to go back to go-karts? I think in any kind of motor racing, you have to rely on the team. It's the nature of our sport – that team element and it's a very interesting one, to me at least. Even in go-karts, you have to have a package. It's not like playing tennis or soccer, no, even in soccer, you have to have the team.

FA: I agree.

Q. (Livio Oricchio – O Estado de Sao Paulo) Michael, when Alonso made his first pit stop, the gap was about 12 seconds and when you came out, the gap was similar. At that point, did you still have hopes to win the race?

MS: For me, I only start to give up when I see no sense. Most of the time that is on the last lap. Knowing the nature of the circuit where you have basically no chance to overtake, in particular if you are not quick enough. I had to give up after the last pit-stop. I drove home from then.

Q. (Livio Oricchio – O Estado de Sao Paulo) Giancarlo, yesterday you were saying you want to go for victory. After this race, what is your feeling for the rest of the season?

GF: It's a good feeling. I have a great team and a great car and the potential of the car to improve and today I was slightly slower than Fernando and Michael maybe, but apart from that I proved I had a chance to win again like in Malaysia. I'm confident for that.

Q. (Juha Paatalo – Financial Times Deutschland) Giancarlo, how do you explain the almost half a minute difference between you and Fernando today?

GF: Just at the beginning, Fernando was able to go a bit quicker than me. And was just more comfortable, I was struggling a little bit with the grip and was not confident to push 100 percent. That's all.
 
Man of Honour
OP
Joined
18 Oct 2002
Posts
39,748
Ferrari to announce drivers 'around Monza'

Ferrari team chief Jean Todt has said the Italian squad plan to announce their driver line-up around the date of the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

Todt's comments come on the back of Michael Schumacher saying he could wait until the end of the year to make up his mind on whether to retire or continue racing in Formula One.

Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn said on Friday the team were happy to wait for the German driver to decide.

"I think someone of the magnitude of Michael gets as much time as he wants and we have to work around it," said Brawn. "We are not objecting and we are happy to wait, so we will see what happens."

Despite Schumacher's comments, however, Todt said after the Spanish Grand Prix that they expect to announce their drivers by Monza.

The Frenchman also was critical of the constant rumours surrounding Schumacher.

"You know, in a way, it's a bit tiring to always have speculation and we know that once we will announce the drives, we start on other speculation," said Todt.

"When we answer to those new speculations, we will have some other ones, so in a way, to concentrate on speculation at the moment on drivers is quite good because we don't get on other matters.

"We have a good harmony in the team. Everybody knows that Michael is like the spoiled, which he deserves, kid, in the team, together with Felipe. They get on very well. You must see the photo on the podium in the last Grand Prix. You can see the harmony.

"So I want Michael to be happy, I want Felipe to be happy. Saying that, we need to make sure to secure that Ferrari is in a strong situation for the present and for the future.

"That's what we will do and together with Michael, when Michael feels comfortable with the announcement, we should announce it around Monza."
 
Man of Honour
OP
Joined
18 Oct 2002
Posts
39,748
Fisi might lose Renault seat

Giancarlo Fisichella might struggle to keep his seat at Renault beyond the end of the 2006 season.

The Roman, who finished third in Sunday's Spanish grand prix after qualifying second, seemed to be left out of team president Alain Dassas' assessment of what the 2007 line-up should look like.

''Alonso is not replaced easily,'' the Frenchman said, ''so we need a top driver. We need a young talent and a top driver.''

With young tester Heikki Kovalainen fitting the 'young talent' bill, 33-year-old Fisichella would not immediately appear to cleanly slot into the 'top driver' category.

But Dassas insisted: ''Giancarlo is a top driver.''

Renault also put a stop on Sunday to constant speculation about the team's long term future on the formula one grid by committing until 2012.

Referring to the bombshell deal with Bernie Ecclestone, Dassas said: ''The agreement we reached today ... expresses our commitment to F1.''
 
Man of Honour
OP
Joined
18 Oct 2002
Posts
39,748
F1 Driver Market to Erupt in Coming Weeks?

Some major moves on the driver market are expected to be confirmed in the coming weeks.

The situation appeared to have been complicated when Michael Schumacher announced that he might wait until the end of the year before making any decision, but against expectations, he might not cause other moves to be put on hold while he procrastinates.

The big news is likely to be the long-awaited confirmation of Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari, with or without Michael alongside. The next question will be whether Juan Pablo Montoya, as many expect, leaves McLaren. That could open the door to Lewis Hamilton.

On Sunday Renault indicated that news on its future line-up might not be far away, and Montoya remains in the frame there, along with Giancarlo Fisichella and Heikki Kovalainen. Meanwhile Ron Dennis indicated that McLaren has a good idea of what direction it is going in with regard to Fernando Alonso’s 2007 partner, although he also indicated that there could yet be more than one scenario.

"First of all we have a very firm plan now," said Dennis. "We know exactly what we’re doing as a team. We will start to implement the plan. It provides for all contingencies. We think now we’re in a phase of the team where we are going to start decisions that may well unfold over the next two or three weeks.

"Sometimes you have to be courteous to sponsors, etc. Sometimes there are other shareholders or board members. All of these people have to be supportive of your intentions and plans. We’ve made a firm plan on how we will move forward, and this will unfold over the next few weeks."

Meanwhile Jean Todt did his best to deny that moves would be happening any time soon: "You know, in a way, it’s a bit tiring to always have speculation and we know that once we will announce the driving, we start on other speculation. When we answer to those new speculations, we will have some other ones, so in a way, to concentrate on speculation at the moment on drivers is quite good because we don’t get on other matters.

"Michael said, if I want I can… we will announce earlier, the drivers. Together with Michael. We have a good harmony in the team. Everybody knows that Michael is like the spoiled, which he deserves, kid, in the team, together with Felipe. They get on very well.

"You must see the photo on the podium in the last Grand Prix. You can see the harmony. So I want Michael to be happy, I want Felipe to be happy. Saying that, we need to make sure to secure that Ferrari is in a strong situation for the present and for the future. That’s what we will do and together with Michael, when Michael feels comfortable with the announcement, we should announce it around Monza."

Todt denied suggestions that one Ferrari driver will be announced soon, and said it would not announce them one at a time: "No. Everything. Big piece. One go."
 
Man of Honour
OP
Joined
18 Oct 2002
Posts
39,748
Race Results.
Code:
[b]Pos	No	Driver			Team			Laps	Time		Grid	Points[/b]
1	1	Fernando Alonso		Renault			66	1:26:21.759 	1	10 
2	5	Michael Schumacher	Ferrari			66	+18.5 secs 	3	8 
3	2	Giancarlo Fisichella	Renault			66	+23.9 secs 	2	6 
4	6	Felipe Massa		Ferrari			66	+29.8 secs 	4	5 
5	3	Kimi Räikkönen		McLaren-Mercedes	66	+56.8 secs 	9	4 
6	12	Jenson Button		Honda			66	+58.3 secs 	8	3 
7	11	Rubens Barrichello	Honda			65	+1 Lap 		5	2 
8	16	Nick Heidfeld		Sauber-BMW		65	+1 Lap 		10	1 
9	9	Mark Webber		Williams-Cosworth	65	+1 Lap 		11	 
10	8	Jarno Trulli		Toyota			65	+1 Lap 		7	 
11	10	Nico Rosberg		Williams-Cosworth	65	+1 Lap 		13	 
12	17	Jacques Villeneuve	Sauber-BMW		65	+1 Lap 		22	 
13	15	Christian Klien		RBR-Ferrari		65	+1 Lap 		14	 
14	14	David Coulthard		RBR-Ferrari		65	+1 Lap 		21	 
15	20	Vitantonio Liuzzi	STR-Cosworth		63	Hydraulics 	15	 
16	18	Tiago Monteiro		MF1-Toyota		63	+3 Laps 	17	 
17	22	Takuma Sato		Super Aguri-Honda	62	+4 Laps 	19	 
Ret	19	Christijan Albers	MF1-Toyota		48	Spin 		18	 
Ret	21	Scott Speed		STR-Cosworth		47	Engine 		16	 
Ret	7	Ralf Schumacher		Toyota			31	Electronics 	6	 
Ret	4	Juan Pablo Montoya	McLaren-Mercedes	17	Spin 		12	 
Ret	23	Franck Montagny		Super Aguri-Honda	10	Drive shaft 	20

Fastest Laps.

Code:
[b]Pos	No	Driver			Team			Lap	Time		Speed		Laptime[/b]
1	6	Felipe Massa		Ferrari			42	14:58:40	217.320		1:16.648 
2	1	Fernando Alonso		Renault 		39	14:54:23	217.108		1:16.723 
3	5	Michael Schumacher	Ferrari 		43	14:59:45	216.546		1:16.922 
4	2	Giancarlo Fisichella	Renault 		38	14:53:27	216.094		1:17.083 
5	3	Kimi Räikkönen		McLaren-Mercedes 	40	14:56:24	215.328		1:17.357 
6	12	Jenson Button		Honda 			40	14:56:29	215.301		1:17.367 
7	11	Rubens Barrichello	Honda 			40	14:56:35	215.212		1:17.399 
8	10	Nico Rosberg		Williams-Cosworth 	51	15:12:00	213.935		1:17.861 
9	14	David Coulthard		Red Bull Racing 	55	15:17:48	213.932		1:17.862 
10	16	Nick Heidfeld		Sauber-BMW 		49	15:08:47	213.913		1:17.869 
11	9	Mark Webber		Williams-Cosworth 	61	15:24:57	213.827		1:17.900 
12	17	Jacques Villeneuve	Sauber-BMW 		62	15:26:38	213.417		1:18.050 
13	8	Jarno Trulli		Toyota 			42	14:59:41	212.288		1:18.465 
14	20	Vitantonio Liuzzi	STR-Cosworth 		52	15:13:43	212.226		1:18.488 
15	15	Christian Klien		Red Bull Racing 	59	15:22:53	212.150		1:18.516 
16	21	Scott Speed		STR-Cosworth 		41	14:58:48	212.082		1:18.541 
17	7	Ralf Schumacher		Toyota 			24	14:36:26	211.867		1:18.621 
18	18	Tiago Monteiro		MF1-Toyota 		28	14:42:19	210.145		1:19.265 
19	4	Juan Pablo Montoya	McLaren-Mercedes 	17	14:26:22	209.571		1:19.482 
20	19	Christijan Albers	MF1-Toyota 		28	14:41:55	209.440		1:19.532 
21	22	Takuma Sato		Super Aguri-Honda 	42	15:02:13	207.150		1:20.411 
22	23	Franck Montagny		Super Aguri-Honda 	9	14:16:08	202.177		1:22.389

Pit Stops

Code:
[b]Stop	No	Driver			Time			Lap	Time of day	Time		Total time[/b]
1	22	Takuma Sato		Super Aguri-Honda 	10	14:17:40	23.684		23.684 
1	7	Ralf Schumacher		Toyota 			16	14:25:21	26.230		26.230 
1	1	Fernando Alonso		Renault 		17	14:25:30	23.741		23.741 
1	2	Giancarlo Fisichella	Renault 		18	14:26:58	23.001		23.001 
1	6	Felipe Massa		Ferrari 		19	14:28:22	23.173		23.173 
1	3	Kimi Räikkönen		McLaren-Mercedes 	22	14:32:30	23.299		23.299 
1	5	Michael Schumacher	Ferrari 		23	14:33:29	23.347		23.347 
1	11	Rubens Barrichello	Honda 			24	14:35:19	23.299		23.299 
1	12	Jenson Button		Honda 			25	14:36:34	23.026		23.026 
1	21	Scott Speed		STR-Cosworth 		26	14:38:23	24.393		24.393 
1	18	Tiago Monteiro		MF1-Toyota 		26	14:39:18	22.441		22.441 
1	8	Jarno Trulli		Toyota 			27	14:39:32	22.432		22.432 
1	10	Nico Rosberg		Williams-Cosworth 	27	14:39:42	23.540		23.540 
1	20	Vitantonio Liuzzi	STR-Cosworth 		27	14:39:58	23.418		23.418 
1	14	David Coulthard		Red Bull Racing 	27	14:39:59	23.672		23.672 
1	9	Mark Webber		Williams-Cosworth 	28	14:40:54	23.809		23.809 
1	15	Christian Klien		Red Bull Racing 	28	14:41:03	23.625		23.625 
1	16	Nick Heidfeld		Sauber-BMW 		29	14:42:10	23.157		23.157 
1	19	Christijan Albers	MF1-Toyota 		29	14:43:32	43.051		43.051 
2	22	Takuma Sato		Super Aguri-Honda 	31	14:46:56	23.635		47.319 
2	19	Christijan Albers	MF1-Toyota 		37	14:55:21	29.272		1:12.323 
2	1	Fernando Alonso		Renault 		40	14:55:40	23.407		47.148 
1	17	Jacques Villeneuve	Sauber-BMW 		40	14:57:13	24.559		24.559 
3	19	Christijan Albers	MF1-Toyota 		38	14:57:19	4:08.136	5:20.459 
2	2	Giancarlo Fisichella	Renault 		41	14:57:20	23.285		46.286 
2	11	Rubens Barrichello	Honda 			41	14:57:54	24.032		47.331 
2	6	Felipe Massa		Ferrari 		43	14:59:59	23.422		46.595 
2	12	Jenson Button		Honda 			44	15:01:42	22.770		45.796 
3	22	Takuma Sato		Super Aguri-Honda 	43	15:03:34	22.956		1:10.275 
2	5	Michael Schumacher	Ferrari 		46	15:03:38	22.630		45.977 
2	3	Kimi Räikkönen		McLaren-Mercedes 	46	15:04:14	22.848		46.147 
2	8	Jarno Trulli		Toyota 			46	15:04:57	22.242		44.674 
2	18	Tiago Monteiro		MF1-Toyota 		45	15:05:13	24.584		47.025 
2	9	Mark Webber		Williams-Cosworth 	47	15:06:16	22.398		46.207 
2	10	Nico Rosberg		Williams-Cosworth 	49	15:08:58	25.740		49.280 
2	20	Vitantonio Liuzzi	STR-Cosworth 		49	15:09:24	22.318		45.736 
2	16	Nick Heidfeld		Sauber-BMW 		50	15:10:06	21.449		44.606 
2	15	Christian Klien		Red Bull Racing 	50	15:10:41	22.288		45.913 
2	14	David Coulthard		Red Bull Racing 	53	15:14:52	21.187		44.859
 
Man of Honour
OP
Joined
18 Oct 2002
Posts
39,748
Current Standings

2006 Drivers Championship.
Code:
[b]Pos	Driver			Nationality	Team			Points[/b]
1	Fernando Alonso		Spanish		Renault			54	
2	Michael Schumacher	German		Ferrari			39	
3	Kimi Räikkönen		Finnish		McLaren-Mercedes	27	
4	Giancarlo Fisichella	Italian		Renault			24	
5	Felipe Massa		Brazilian	Ferrari			20	
6	Jenson Button		British		Honda			16
7	Juan Pablo Montoya	Colombian	McLaren-Mercedes	15	
8	Rubens Barrichello	Brazilian	Honda			8	
9	Ralf Schumacher		German		Toyota			7	
=12	Mark Webber		Australian	Williams-Cosworth	6	
=12	Jacques Villeneuve	Canadian	Sauber-BMW		6	
=12	Nick Heidfeld		German		Sauber-BMW		6	
13	Nico Rosberg		German		Williams-Cosworth	4	
=15	David Coulthard		British		RBR-Ferrari		1	
=15	Christian Klien		Austrian	RBR-Ferrari		1

2006 Constructors Championship.
Code:
[b]Pos	Constructor 		Points[/b]
1	Renault 		78 	
2	Ferrari 		59 	
3	McLaren-Mercedes 	42 	
4	Honda 			24 
5	Sauber-BMW 		12 	
6	Williams-Cosworth 	10 	
7	Toyota 			7 	
8	RBR-Ferrari 		2
 
Soldato
Joined
18 Oct 2002
Posts
24,560
Location
Amsterdam,The Netherlands
I was actually surprised at Alonso's speed at the beginning, I really expected him to so a 3-stop race.

His driving style kinda brought back memories of Senna who usually did the same, absolutely fly the first couple of laps to build a lead.
 
Man of Honour
OP
Joined
18 Oct 2002
Posts
39,748
Williams to explore flexi-wings options

Williams believe one of the keys to pulling themselves back to the front of the grid will be in following their rivals' use of flexible wing technology to increase straight-line speed.

After Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg failed to score a point in the Spanish Grand Prix, team boss Frank Williams has hinted that the team now need to look into the advantages that could come from running more flexible wings.

Recent clarifications from the FIA about the amount of flexibility that they believe is allowed in Formula One means some teams, like Williams, can push themselves in this area more than they previously thought they could.

"We are disappointed with our performance," said Williams. "It is clear that our car isn't fast enough, and it's possible that some of our lack of performance is because to date we have not done something other teams are doing - thinking it would be stopped.

"We thought that something appearing on one team's car after another, that the FIA might not be too happy about it, but clearly they are quite relaxed. Draw your own conclusions, I'm going to make no further comment about it."

Technical director Sam Michael added: "We know where we are fast and slow. We've got some work to do on reducing drag so we can be more competitive on the straights.

"The chassis itself is really good, and at the moment we need to work on top end efficiency and drag and make sure we can shed some because on some of these tracks we've seen that we don't have the same top speed as Ferrari. We are 10-12 km/h down and that's hurting us.

"If you look at the Q2 sector times on low fuel, Mark was six tenths down on Michael [Schumacher] in the first sector, only a tenth down in the second and he was slightly quicker in sector three.

"Most of the straights are in sector one. There's a few in sector two but a lot of corners, and the last one is all corners, so the main thing we need to do is reduce drag."

The team's concerns about their straight-line speed was borne out in yesterday's race at Barcelona. While Ferrari's Felipe Massa topped the speed trap at 317.1 km/h, Rosberg was eighth fastest on 307.4km/h, while Webber was down in 17th on 304.5km/h.

Michael made it clear that any work the team would do on reducing drag to, improve straight-line speed, would be done completely within the regulations - and that the team would not simply adopt a flexi-wing that contravened the rules.

"We are looking at ways to improve efficiency and reduce drag," he said. "All I know is that movable aerodynamic devices are banned, and I'm sure that no one's doing that.

"But everyone is trying to reduce drag, that makes the car go faster. That's always everyone's target, and people are doing it in different ways."
 
Man of Honour
OP
Joined
18 Oct 2002
Posts
39,748
Honda aim to beat McLaren this year

Honda Racing boss Nick Fry says his team are now aiming to beat McLaren this year, on the back of their performance in the Spanish Grand Prix.

With Ferrari and Renault appearing to be in a class of their own at the front of the field, Fry believes that his team's pace at the Circuit de Catalunya - which is usually a good indicator of how good a car is - has delivered good reason to feel bullish about their prospects against their nearest rivals.

Jenson Button recovered from a suspected front-wing issue, which cost him time in qualifying, to finish the Spanish Grand Prix in sixth place - less than two seconds behind McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen.

"As you know, I am a cup half full rather than a cup half empty guy," said Fry, who has stayed positive about his team's form despite not yet achieving their pre-season ambitions of fighting for race wins.

"There was a great quote I found from Colin Powell: 'Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.' And I really believe in that.

"If you think you are going to come second, then you are going to come second, and there is no point thinking like that.

"I said to someone last weekend that football teams don't walk out onto the pitch saying, 'we hope to come a good second'. We want to beat who we can.

"We picked up a little bit on McLaren in the constructors' championship, only a modest amount, but we finished with two cars and we clearly had the legs on them. So whoever is the next stop ahead is clearly the one we are going to be targeting."

Honda Racing's new full-size wind tunnel is due to end its commissioning phase in the next two weeks, which will be a major boost to the team's hopes of finding more speed from their RA106.

Fry said that he saw no reason to be depressed about his team's failure so far to grab that elusive maiden race victory.

"My attitude is that as long as we are learning and as long as we have got a plan to move forward, then I am not happy but that is acceptable. It is when you don't have a plan, then that is unacceptable.

"We have still got a whole raft of things that we want to experiment with. We have got another test in Vallelunga, we have got a lot of ideas to improve the car there, and of course the full-size wind tunnel is coming on stream with real results.

"So the thing I can do is look our drivers in the eye and say there are tangible things that we can identify, which will make us do better. And, as long as we can do that, and as long as we are moving forward, then clearly we are still frustrated but we are at least moving in the right direction.

"And we are drawing away from the people behind in terms of championship position and speed of car. There is a little bit of daylight to at least two of the other manufacturer teams."
 
Man of Honour
OP
Joined
18 Oct 2002
Posts
39,748
Engine freeze could stir more controversy

Formula One looks set to be heading for further controversy over the 2008 engine regulations after Ferrari claimed on Sunday night that a bid by rival teams to change the rules would not count.

A vote taken by the Sporting Working Group ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix resulted in 8-4 against plans for an engine freeze from the start of 2008.

The teams who voted against the plans believe that the vote heralds the way for a scrapping of the engine homologation plans - and they have called for the Formula One Commission and the FIA World Council to support the democratic decision of the SWG.

But Ferrari sporting director Jean Todt said hopes that the SWG's decision would be supported were in vain - because teams had already committed themselves to racing with an engine freeze from 2008.

"If you read the rules of 2008, the engine rules are already written and it's a freezing of the engine for 2008, 2009 and 2010," said Todt. "If you compete in the championship you have to accept the rules in which you are competing. It's written down."

Engine manufacturers who are planning to introduce part engine homologation, part engine unit limit rules for 2008 are pressing ahead with plans to get their proposals voted through as soon as the Monaco Grand Prix, although there remains a great deal of uncertainty about what the current situation is.

Cosworth's commercial director Bernard Ferguson said: "There's no common ground. I don't know what was voted on, but I know the ball hasn't stopped bouncing yet. I've no idea what is going to happen now, so let's watch this space."

Williams technical director Sam Michael believes it would now take dialogue between the FIA and the teams to resolve the situation – especially with Ferrari suggesting that any moves by teams to change the engine rules will be futile.

"It will go back and forth between the teams and the FIA," he said. "I'm pretty sure that's what will happen next.

"Everyone's intentions are in the right place and I'm sure there will be some sort of agreement in the end that everyone goes with. I don't think it will take to long, but we'll leave it to the FIA."

McLaren boss Ron Dennis said before the weekend that he hoped the democratic decision of the SWG would not be over-ruled by either the F1 Commission or the FIA.

"When you look at the process that unfolded last Wednesday, I was encouraged by the fact that it was a democratic process and all the people who went there worked hard," he said.

"If that is the way we build the future, by a democratic process of evaluating all the options that unfold, then we will have a very good F1. But it has to be democratic through the whole process and that is what I hope will happen."

He added: "I share the view that there seems to be some uncertainty about how it will unfurl. Hopefully if it is a recommendation of the experts then it should be seen as that – and expert opinion should be followed."
 
Man of Honour
OP
Joined
18 Oct 2002
Posts
39,748
Raikkonen rules out fighting for title

McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen has ruled himself out of this year's fight for the drivers' title after a disappointing Spanish Grand Prix.

The British team are yet to win a race this season, and Raikkonen has finished on the podium only twice in six races. In Barcelona, where he won last season, the Finn finished in a distant fifth position behind the two Renaults and the two Ferraris.

The McLaren driver has scored 27 points, the same amount that separates him from championship leader Fernando Alonso, and also the same number of points he had scored after six races in 2005.

Coincidentally, Alonso has 54 points so far, the same number he had last year at this point.

In 2005, however, Raikkonen had already scored two wins.

Raikkonen, runner-up to Alonso last season, believes the Barcelona circuit highlighted McLaren's flaws, and the Finn believes only Renault and Ferrari will fight for this year's title.

"This is an unforgiving track where you can't hide your flaws," Raikkonen was quoted as saying by Gazzetta dello Sport. "If you don't have a good car, you don't go anywhere. That's why on other tracks we managed to stay close to Ferrari and Renault, while here we were never in the game.

"I'll only say that we had a lot of understeer and it was difficult to drive, we lack a bit of everything. Things should be going better in Monaco, but I'm not under the illusion that it will be a big step forward.

"The title battle will be fought between Ferrari and Renault because they always get to the end of the races and they are always fighting for victory and podiums. Me? I'll look for winning some races. At least I'll try."

Raikkonen, whose contract with McLaren expires this year, is yet to announce his plans for the future.

There are 12 races left in the season.
 
Man of Honour
OP
Joined
18 Oct 2002
Posts
39,748
GPMA awaits Ecclestone's signature

Formula One's manufacturers were still waiting for Bernie Ecclestone to put his signature on the deal to secure the sport's future on Monday, despite the breakthrough in talks at the Spanish Grand Prix.

BMW, Honda, Toyota, Mercedes-Benz and Renault all signed a Memorandum of Understanding over the weekend that is set to bring an end to the threat of a breakaway championship, but Ecclestone has not yet signed the deal.

However, a GPMA source told autosport.com that they are expecting Ecclestone to sign the MOU "imminently".

After weeks of intense talks aimed at bringing an end to the six year dispute over the future direction of the sport, the teams finally accepted a deal that will give them 50 percent of the sport's $700 million annual revenue, after Ecclestone agreed to backdate the payments to start this year. They had originally hoped for 60 percent.

The deal will not go ahead without Ecclestone's signature and, after he famously dropped the bombshell of his 50 percent offer at a meeting in Bahrain, there remains the outside possibility of a last-minute twist in proceedings.

Honda Racing boss Nick Fry said he was hopeful, however, that there would be no complications and that Ecclestone's signature would be sealed imminently.

"There are strong indications that even if it hasn't been signed then a handshake has taken place," he said.

"I think there is always doubt until the Fat Lady sings, because these are tough commercial negotiations, so until the ink is on paper then I would not count on anything."
 
Back
Top Bottom