MAY 11, 2006

BMW drops the engine

Jacques Villeneuve will have to drop 10 places on the grid in Spain this weekend after BMW damaged his engine in transportation from the Nurburgring to Barcelona. The team says that the problem occurred when the engine was being prepared for transportation and that it was not an obvious incident - such a forklift prong through the side of the block - because the engineers were not sure that the engine was damaged and asked the FIA for permission to open the engine and check for damage. This would seem to rule out obvious mistakes like dropping a screw into one of the intakes. The FIA refused to make an allowance for the team and so the BMW engineers had to make the tough decision to change the engine because of the risks involved. All the indications are that the engine was probably dropped but no-one wants to actually admit that was what happened.

One way or the other, however, it is really not that important. The problem is that Jacques will be starting much further down the grid than normal at a track where overtaking is not easy and which all the drivers know so well that there is no such thing as a surprise attack.