Following incidents in Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix, BAR's Takuma Sato has been disqualified from the race and Sauber's Jacques Villeneuve given a time penalty which dropped him one place to 12th. Sato clashed with the Toyota of Jarno Trulli, ...
Following incidents in Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix, BAR's Takuma Sato has been disqualified from the race and Sauber's Jacques Villeneuve given a time penalty which dropped him one place to 12th. Sato clashed with the Toyota of Jarno Trulli, putting the Italian out, and the stewards deemed Sato had forced Trulli off track.
"The stewards viewed the video of the incident and presented the same to Takuma Sato and his team manager Ron Meadows and independently to Jarno Trulli and his team manager Richard Cregan," said an FIA statement.
"Having heard both parties the stewards independently conclude that Takuma Sato was involved in an incident forcing the driver of car number 16 off the track and therefore order Sato be excluded from the results."
Trulli and Toyota were furious. "I'm utterly flabbergasted. What Sato did is just not on. It was a hopelessly ambitious move. It was reckless and I'm very annoyed," team principal Tsutomu Tomita told Reuters. "I'm all in favour of aggressive driving but Sato goes way beyond what is acceptable. He goes beyond being enthusiastic. It's flat-out dangerous."
Sato was unrepentant and claimed it was just a racing incident. "I'm hugely disappointed for the myself, the fans, the team and Honda, but I will be back here racing at Suzuka," he said.
Villeneuve, meanwhile, was given a 25 second penalty after the stewards decided he was to blame for Juan Pablo Montoya's McLaren crashing out on the first lap. The Sauber appeared to run wide at the first corner, forcing Montoya off track. "Villeneuve missed the chicane and pushed me off the track, and that was the end of my race," said the Colombian.
Villeneuve had a different view of the incident. "As for Montoya on the first lap, I never even saw him so I have no idea what he might have been trying to do when he went off," he commented.
Mark Webber and David Coulthard, who are hardly the best of friends anyway, also exchanged cross words. Webber accused Coulthard of jumping the start at Suzuka but the Scot told him to go speak to the FIA if he had a problem.