Honda F1 website

SEPTEMBER 27, 2005

Backmarkers cost McLaren the title? Rubbish

Backmarkers did not cost the McLaren team the Drivers' World Championship. The team's reliability, or rather lack of it, must take the blame for that and blaming others is unfair and indeed unbecoming of a team which will, if it does not screw things up further, take the Constructors' title at a canter in the final two races. Mercedes-Benz's motorsport chief Norbert Haug was still blaming Antonio Pizzonia for Juan Pablo Montoya's retirement at Spa, which is unfair when one listens to Pizzonia's explanation, which made it very clear that he believed that Montoya not only knew that he was there and planning to pass, but had given all the signs that he was leaving room. If anyone is to blame it is the team for failing to radio Montoya to tell him to let Pizzonia pass. The Brazilian was catching at great speed and was no threat to Montoya's position and was in fact chasing points of his own. It was in everyone's interest that Montoya be told to get out of the way, even if he was a lap ahead.

As to the odd punishment at Spa where Takuma Sato was dropped 10 positions on the grid for the Brazilian GP and Pizzonia was only fined $9,645. The explanation for this is that Williams could not guarantee when they saw the stewards that Pizzonia would be in the car at the next race and so there might have ended up being no punishment at all. It only came to light that Pizzonia would be present in Brazil after it emerged that Nick Heidfeld had been injured.

The fact that Montoya has twice collided with backmarkers is not nearly as significant as the number of mechanical failures that have taken away points from Kimi Raikkonen.

And whining about backmarkers is not going to change that unfortunate and embarrassing fact.