Melbourne grumps and gripes

Melbourne grumps and gripes

The Australian Grand Prix was certainly the most entertaining race of the three we've had so far this season but there were a fair few grumps and gripes in the aftermath of the Melbourne event. Honda's Jenson Button and Renault's Giancarlo ...

The Australian Grand Prix was certainly the most entertaining race of the three we've had so far this season but there were a fair few grumps and gripes in the aftermath of the Melbourne event. Honda's Jenson Button and Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella started on the front row but neither of them had an easy afternoon.

Paddock at Albert Park Circuit.
Photo by xpb.cc.

Button lost the lead to the Renault of Fernando Alonso on the restart after the first safety car period. He then had difficulty getting his tyres up to temperature -- a complaint shared by many drivers -- and the Englishman is concerned about the situation.

"It's a big issue and I don't know if we can solve it," Button remarked. "It's a weakness we've had. We just can't get grip into our tyres. We need to do something for the next race." At the end, tyres were the least of his problems when his Honda engine blew through the final corners.

Fisichella stalled on the grid, which was just the beginning of his woes. "The engine stalled and I had to start from the pit-lane, then during most of the first stint I had no telemetry," the Italian listed his problems. "The second stint was really hard because the car was understeering so much... then after the final stop the clutch failed and we only managed to fix it a few laps from the end."

The Toro Rosso boys made quite an impact in the race; Scott Speed scored the team's first point with eighth but later lost it when he was given a time penalty for overtaking Red Bull's David Coulthard under yellow flags. Coulthard gained the eighth place and apparently a rude ear-bashing from Speed in return.

Tonio Liuzzi overtook Michael Schumacher's Ferrari, which raised a few eyebrows, but then crashed into a wall, for which he blamed BMW Sauber's Jacques Villeneuve. "I guess you get used to this sort of thing from Jacques," Liuzzi told reporters. "He has done it plenty of times before."

Villeneuve had his own take on the incident. "I saw him (Liuzzi) at the last second when he was already sideways on the grass, because I saw movement in the mirror," the Canadian said, according to Speed TV. "So what the hell was he doing there?"

"When I'm on the outside of someone, and I'm not ahead, I lift, because normally I know I'm going to run out of road. That's the way it is. I don't understand what he was doing there."

Toro Rosso also attracted attention from rival teams for another reason -- the good old V10 engine debate. Reportedly MF1 and Super Aguri have written to the FIA to lodge a protest against Toro Rosso as they believe the team should not be allowed to use the restricted V10.

"We think that it was an unfair situation when Red Bull bought Minardi, because I understand they gave this authorisation to use the V10 because otherwise Paul Stoddart was out of business," Super Aguri managing director Daniel Audetto told Autosport.

"That was the reason and the fact that Red Bull is now owning Toro Rosso, they have not only the money to buy a V8 but they could buy Cosworth if they want. I think it is unlikely that the FIA will accept our request because it is very difficult to change during the year the regulations, but at least we made a point."

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About this article
Series FORMULA 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Jenson Button , Michael Schumacher , David Coulthard , Fernando Alonso , Paul Stoddart , Scott Speed
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , Toro Rosso , Minardi