Spanish GP: BAR race notes

Jenson Button narrowly missed out on a point for Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda in today's Spanish Grand Prix, a race which held such promise for the team. The Briton fought hard to recover from a 17th lap incident with Coulthard's McLaren but...

Jenson Button narrowly missed out on a point for Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda in today's Spanish Grand Prix, a race which held such promise for the team. The Briton fought hard to recover from a 17th lap incident with Coulthard's McLaren but subsequent car damage, a problematic pitstop and a gearshift problem in the final stages put paid to his fight for a top-eight placing. He took the chequered flag in 9th position. Team-mate Jacques Villeneuve's race was brought to an abrupt end by an electrical fire after only 12 laps, just as he was starting to reap the benefit of a two-stop strategy following the early appearance of the safety car.

Jenson Button:

"Considering how bad the race was for me I'm lucky to end up even close to the points. The start wasn't fantastic but then the tyres took a long time to warm up and I dropped behind the Williams. After the first pit stop I came up behind David Coulthard and he seemed to be struggling a little bit. I got alongside him on the inside in the first corner and he just turned in, so that destroyed my race really. I had to come into the pits with a damaged front wing and a puncture to the left front tyre."

"Because of that there was a problem getting the jack under the car and then getting the new tyre on again. I pushed as hard as I could for the rest of the race and there was still a chance of getting seventh or eighth. Then we had a gearshift problem towards the end of the race and I lost third gear three laps from the end and fourth for the last two laps. Not the best of races and in the end I was lucky to make it to the finish. The team did a great job throughout the weekend though so I'm just sorry we weren't able to make the best of it."

Jacques Villeneuve:

"What can I say? I was very optimistic because I was running more fuel than Jenson. He was three-stopping and I was on two, but I was right behind him after the safety car. The race was going really well and we were genuinely fighting to be in the top there. I was running the same strategy as Barrichello and would have come into the pits at the same time. We could have had a good battle with Montoya. It's a little bit frustrating now because it's been the same story race after race. It's a shame that we spend the weekend working on race strategy and set-up, and we compromise our qualifying position to give us the best shot at the race. Then we can't even make use of that work because we don't finish on Sunday."

David Richards, Team principal:

"It's no use hiding my disappointment at what had all the makings of an excellent weekend. The qualifying positions and the strategy for both cars were good, but an electrical fire on Jacques' car and Jenson's incident with Coulthard put paid to all the best-laid plans. At least we can feel confident in our ability to compete at the front and put this race behind us as we look forward to Austria in two weeks' time."

Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director:

"Both drivers got reasonably good starts and we were looking strong after the safety car came in. Jacques in particular was in a very good position for his strategy, but unfortunately he was forced to retire with signs of fire damage to the injector loom. Jenson's race was hampered by his incident with Coulthard and by a problem during the pitstop with the change of nose and a problematic left-front wheel change. In the last few laps, when it still looked that we were in contention for at least one point, he suffered a problem shifting through the gears. Clearly this is an unacceptable level of reliability for the team and it is now our highest priority to do what it takes to achieve a two-car finish."

Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:

"After a strong weekend I was hoping for a much better result today. Jacques made a good start and it's such a shame that his race was cut short. There was an engine wiring harness fire which caused the engine to shut down. At the moment we don't know exactly what started the fire but it is unrelated to the problem we had in the last race. Jenson was obviously fighting hard but again, a really frustrating afternoon for him."

Jacques Villeneuve
Chassis: BAR Honda 005-3
Position: DNF (12 laps)
Best lap time: 1:22.175

Jenson Button
Chassis: BAR Honda 005-4
Position: 9th
Best lap time: 1:21.300


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button , David Coulthard , Jacques Villeneuve , David Richards , Shuhei Nakamoto
Teams McLaren , Williams