|Honda Racing F1 Team
A sensational drive from Jenson Button in the Malaysian Grand Prix gave him and the Honda Racing F1 Team their first podium finish of 2006. Jenson’s pace throughout the 56-lap race was strong, which confirmed the potential of this year’s RA106.
Rubens Barrichello, by contrast, had a tough race. He started from 20th position, having received a 10-place grid penalty after the team changed his engine yesterday morning, and he climbed steadily through the field to be 10th at the checkered flag.
At the start of the race, Jenson made a clean get-away from the front row to be second into the first corner. A very strong opening stint followed, which resulted in him taking over the lead of the race when Giancarlo Fisichella pitted on lap 17. Jenson made his first pitstop on lap 18, rejoining the race in fourth position.
Rubens also drove a strong opening stint. With a heavy fuel load, he charged through the field to be 11th by lap 19. He then pitted for tyres and fuel on lap 31, rejoining in 11th place, and looked set for a points-scoring finish.
Unfortunately, he was booked by the stewards for speeding in the pitlane and he had to return to the pits on lap 36 for a 10-second stop-go penalty, which ended his chances of a strong finish.
At the front, Jenson remained just a few seconds shy of race leader Fisichella, until he was held up by a slower car on his in-lap, on lap 38. The incident ultimately cost him second place because he emerged from the pitlane behind Fernando Alonso and had to settle for third place.
Honda now has a two-week gap and a test in Vallelunga, Italy, before the next race, the Australian Grand Prix, on 2nd April.
Position: 3rd / Fastest Lap Time: 1:35.604
“I’m obviously pleased to see us back on the podium but it was the top step that we had in mind, so we are a little disappointed. We want to be winning races and today showed that we are in the fight, but there is still a lot of work to be done before we can achieve that target. Having said that, I was held up by traffic a few times, not least of all by Scott Speed before the second pitstop. Had that not happened, maybe I could have come out of the pits ahead of Alonso. Regardless of that though, we have two weeks and a test in Vallelunga to work through our issues and hopefully we can look forward to better things in Melbourne in two weeks’ time.”
Position: 10th / Fastest Lap Time: 1:36.188
“It’s certainly been an eventful weekend and it was disappointing to end it with a stop-go penalty when I was in with a chance of at least coming away with a few points. These past two races have been a bit of a learning curve but I’m sure things will pick up for the next few races and we can start to realize more of the car’s potential.”
GIL DE FERRAN
“We are happy with our first podium of the year. Jenson fought hard all afternoon but in the end we lacked a little pace and he lost some time in traffic during crucial periods of the race, especially around the second stop. Rubens was on course to be fighting for points, but unfortunately got a 10 second stop-go penalty for a pit lane speed violation. Another good note was the reliability of the engine, which in its second race showed no problems in dealing with the hot conditions we have encountered in Malaysia. We are certainly encouraged by our performance so far this season, but at the same time are determined to make further improvements and bring us closer to the fight. Let’s see what Australia brings."
MANAGEMENT BOARD MEMBER – HONDA RACING F1 TEAM ENGINEERING DIRECTOR – HONDA RACING DEVELOPMENT
“Aside from the problem with Rubens yesterday, which necessitated an engine change, we have been encouraged by the engine performance in the first two races. We have two weeks to improve for the next race in Australia and will be working hard in testing and with the data we have gathered here to do our best for Melbourne.”
SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM
Takuma Sato and Yuji Ide drove a solid race for the SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM in Sepang today. During what was only the team’s second grand prix, they were able to challenge for position and contribute to an exciting, action-packed Malaysian race.
Position: 14th / Fastest Lap Time: 1:40.199
“Great team work has meant that we have been able to improve on our pitstops since Bahrain and as a result I lost no time and was able to get back into the race and actually challenge a few cars. Of course we struggle on the high downforce corners with our pace, but I had another exciting race and at least we managed to finish the race once again. We still have a lot of hard work to do if we are to catch up to our nearest rivals, but we showed good teamwork today and I am very happy and proud of the team.”
Position: DNF / Fastest Lap Time:1:42.833
“The balance of the car was not good from the start and I had the same mechanical problem as I had in Bahrain. The problem got worse as I continued the race and gradually the car's pace got slower and I could not accelerate on the straight, then I stopped. I really wanted to finish the race, so my goal is to finish the race in Australia and then move on from there.”
"I think that the team did a great job during the pitstops and Takuma had a great race. He made a good start today and had better performance than we thought we could achieve from the current chassis. Unfortunately Yuji had a similar mechanical problem to the one he suffered in Bahrain and stopped once again before the checkered flag - but I think that he drove very well today. I am very happy that we have completed our second race and I am very much looking forward to traveling for round three in Australia next week."