Jacques Villeneuve and Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda recorded seventh place in today's San Marino Grand Prix while his team-mate Olivier Panis retired from the race on lap 46 after the engine cut. DHL Jordan Honda's Giancarlo Fisichella retired from...
Jacques Villeneuve and Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda recorded seventh place in today's San Marino Grand Prix while his team-mate Olivier Panis retired from the race on lap 46 after the engine cut. DHL Jordan Honda's Giancarlo Fisichella retired from the race on lap 21 due to a hydraulics problem. His Jordan Honda team-mate Takuma Sato stopped on lap six due to gear selection problems.
The weather remained fine and the track temperature reached 31 degrees as the San Marino Grand Prix got underway at Imola. Jordan Honda's Takuma Sato moved up into 13th position off the grid, but was forced to pit on lap five as he was stuck in first gear. The Japanese driver rejoined the race on lap six after the team had re-booted the system, only to stop out on track almost immediately as the same problem occurred again.
Giancarlo Fisichella lost a few places at the start after being forced wide onto the gravel by Heinz Harald Frentzen (Arrows), but quickly moved up into 17th place and made up another position on lap six when his Jordan Honda team-mate Takuma Sato retired from the race. Fisichella was later forced out of the action on lap 21 due to a loss of hydraulic pressure.
B.A.R Honda's Jacques Villeneuve and Olivier Panis got off the grid in 11th and 12th positions, just behind the Sauber's of Nick Heidfeld and Felipe Massa. The B.A.R Honda drivers moved up into 7th and 8th positions as the Sauber duo followed by the Renaults of Jenson Button and Jarno Trulli carried out their first pit stops.
Panis came in for his first pit stop on lap 26, rejoining in 11th position behind Massa, while team-mate Villeneuve pitted one lap later and rejoined just ahead of him. On lap 42 after several retirements and the second set of pit stops, Villeneuve and Panis moved up into 8th and 9th positions respectively. Just four laps later Panis retired from the race when his engine cut and he limped back to the pits on reduced power. Villeneuve came in for his second pit stop on lap 49 and went on to cross the line in seventh position, Honda's highest finish so far this season.
It was a Ferrari one-two in San Marino, as Michael Schumacher took the chequered flag followed by team-mate Rubens Barrichello. The Williams pairing of Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya finished third and fourth with Jenson Button (Renault) and David Coulthard (McLaren) completing the top six.
Shuhei Nakamoto - Race and Test Team Manager, Honda Racing Development
"Jacques drove a good race, but I'm very disappointed that we couldn't show the potential of the engine in Olivier's car because of a throttle linkage failure. It was obviously a tough race for Giancarlo and Takuma - overall not a very good day at the office. However, we know we have more improvements to come so we will persevere until we achieve the result we want."
Jacques Villeneuve Position: 7th
"We've had a good weekend and we fought very hard in the race today. The track and the tyres suited the car so it's a shame that on the one weekend where we haven't had any problems we didn't manage to get any points."
Olivier Panis Position: DNF
"Despite a relatively problem-free weekend we didn't achieve a consistent balance on my car, which is something we will have to work on. I was hoping to at least finish the race today in order to bring the team some valuable data but unfortunately a throttle linkage failure cut the engine on lap 44."
Giancarlo Fisichella Position: DNF
"I made a good start but then Heinz-Harald closed the door and I went off onto the gravel and lost a lot of places. But then I was doing my race, and had overtaken Eddie Irvine, when the car totally lost drive. It appears to have been due to a loss of hydraulic pressure, possibly the same problem that I had in qualifying yesterday."
Takuma Sato Position: DNF
"A disappointing end to the weekend. I was on my fourth lap, with everything up to then working fine, when suddenly I felt a problem with the gears which left me stuck in first gear, unable to select any other gears. I made it back to the pits and the team tried to re-set the electrics, but the same problem re-occurred as soon as I went out so I had to pull over and retire from the race."