Toyota may appeal but Williams accept disqualifications

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Just as a moment's inattention can lead even the best drivers into making an expensive mistake, so even the best race teams can embarrass themselves with what the paddock calls "finger trouble" or "drop-offs". What Williams-BMW and Toyota experienced in Montreal on Sunday evening was Formula One's equivalent of England dropping the ball in Portugal just when all the hard work seemed over.

Just as a moment's inattention can lead even the best drivers into making an expensive mistake, so even the best race teams can embarrass themselves with what the paddock calls "finger trouble" or "drop-offs". What Williams-BMW and Toyota experienced in Montreal on Sunday evening was Formula One's equivalent of England dropping the ball in Portugal just when all the hard work seemed over.

After five hours of intense deliberation and meetings between race stewards, technical inspectors and team representatives, the Williams-BMW drivers, Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya, were disqualified from second and fifth places in the Canadian Grand Prix, and the Toyota drivers, Cristiano da Matta and Olivier Panis, from eighth and 10th. On all four cars the brake ducts did not comply with the regulations. As is usually the way in Formula One the infringements were small and inadvertent, and were to do more with the measurements of the ducts' positioning rather than their actual size.

Sam Michael, the 33-year-old Australian who recently took over the technical direction of Williams-BMW from Patrick Head (now the director of engineering, and absent from Sunday's race), took it on the chin, accepting that there had been "a mistake" but arguing that it was "not intentional". Williams will not appeal; Toyota are still considering whether to.

From two points McLaren-Mercedes jumped to five, and Jordan scooped a totally unexpected haul of three to move ahead of Toyota again.

"It's good news for everybody in the team to have their hard work rewarded with points," said the Jordan chief executive, Eddie Jordan. "Timo joins an élite group of people who have scored points in their very first race, and a long line of them have been Jordan drivers."

The developments are doubly bad news for Jaguar Racing, only ninth overall with three points. McLaren's points scoop means that the minimum score to maintain sixth place in the constructors' rankings after the forthcoming US Grand Prix at Indianapolis next weekend will be 13 points. It is believed that Mark Webber has a performance clause in his contract that calls for Jaguar to be sixth at the season's mid-point; if true, this means that Jaguar must win at Indy with McLaren failing to score.

There may therefore be a silver lining to Williams-BMW's Canadian cloud if the Australian, long targeted by Williams and Head as the man they most want as the replacement for Juan Pablo Montoya for 2005, thus becomes more easily able to join them.

CANADIAN GRAND PRIX (Montreal, 70 laps) Revised results: 1 M Schumacher (Ger) Ferrari 1hr 28min 24.403sec; 2 R Barrichello (Br) Ferrari 1:28:38.403; 3 J Button (GB) BAR-Honda 1:28:50.403; 4 G Fisichella (It) Sauber-Petronas 69 laps; 5 K Raikkonen (Fin) McLaren-Mercedes 69 laps; 6 D Coulthard (GB) McLaren-Mercedes 69 laps; 7 T Glock (Ger) Jordan-Cosworth 68 laps; 8 N Heidfeld (Ger) Jordan-Cosworth 68 laps; 9 C Klien (Aut) Jaguar 67 laps; 10 Z Baumgartner (Hun) Minardi-Cosworth 66 laps. Not Classified: F Massa (Br) Sauber-Petronas Did not finish 62 laps; T Sato (Japan) BAR-Honda DNF 50 laps; F Alonso (Sp) Renault DNF 44 laps; G Bruni (It) Minardi-Cosworth DNF 43 laps; M Webber (Aus) Jaguar DNF 9 laps; J Trulli (It) Renault DNF 1 laps; R Schumacher (Ger) BMW-Williams Disqualified; J-P Montoya (Col) BMW-Williams Disq; C Da Matta (Br) Disq; O Panis (Fr) Toyota Disq.

Fastest Lap: Barrichello 1min 13.622sec.

Drivers' Championship: 1 M Schumacher 70pts; 2 Barrichello 54; 3 Button 44; 4 Trulli 36; 5 Alonso 25; 6 Montoya 24; 7 R Schumacher 12; 8 Fisichella 10; 9 Sato 8; 10 Coulthard 7; 11 Massa, Raikkonen 5; 13 Da Matta, Webber, Heidfeld 3; 16 Glock 2; 17 Panis.

Constructors' Championship: 1 Ferrari 124pts; 2 Renault 61; 3 BAR 52; 4 BMW Williams 36; 5 Sauber 15; 6 McLaren 12; 7 Jordan 5; 8 Toyota 4; 9 Jaguar 3.

Comments