|The Australian Grand Prix proved to be a frustrating race for Lucky Strike B·A·R Honda drivers Jenson Button and Takuma Sato. They finished in 11th and 14th places, having been caught up in the mid-order traffic throughout the grand prix’s 57 laps.
It took two starts to get the 2005 World Championship under way, the first having been aborted after Kimi Raikkonen stalled his McLaren. Jenson, who started eighth, then got too much wheelspin away from the line and lost several positions on the run to the first corner. He ended the opening lap in 11th place.
Takuma fared better from the back of the grid, finishing the opening lap in 14th place. He quickly passed Felipe Massa for 13th, while Jenson was three places ahead in 10th. The first round of pitstops took place at one-third distance, Takuma pitting on lap 20 and Jenson on lap 21. They rejoined in 14th and 15th places. It was at this stage of the race that they finally lost touch with the front-runners because they were stuck behind Jacques Villeneuve.
The drivers then made their second and final pitstops on lap 40 (Takuma) and 41. They rejoined in 12th and 13th places and inherited a couple of places when Michael Schumacher and Nick Heidfeld clashed. However, this final stint of the race was little more than a test session to give the team as much tyre information as possible before the next race. They then ended the race in the pits, allowing the team to change their engines prior to the next race in Malaysia, without incurring a penalty.
Button, Position: 11th
"I had a poor start to the race and I was losing up to three seconds a lap behind Villeneuve. Once I passed him after the second pitstop the car was pretty good. The car ran reliably but clearly this wasn’t the way we wanted to start the season and we have a lot of work to do to get back up to where we need to be."
"It was a difficult weekend for all of us, particularly in the race with me starting at the back of the grid. The team did a great job repairing the car for me for today and obviously I drove the best I could to recover some positions, but generally we were off the pace and we will work hard to turn this around for the next race."
Willis - Technical Director
"On the positive side both cars ran reliably and we proved towards the end of the race with Jenson that we could record very competitive lap times. At the start of the race both drivers struggled with poor tyre warm-up and both found it difficult to follow other cars closely enough to give them the opportunity to overtake. In the last stint, once we were in clear air, the cars were very much better and performed as we expected."
“As we were out of the points, on the last lap we decided to stop both cars which gives us the opportunity to change engines for Malaysia without further penalty. This could be an advantage at a race where we normally encounter high temperatures."
“We are clearly very disappointed with this race performance and will be working very hard to identify our problem and find a solution."
Nakamoto - Engineering Director,
Honda Racing Development
"We have obviously had a disappointing day today. We have a lot of work to do, it's as simple as that."