Zurich Gnome

The journal of a Swiss-based motor-racing enthusiast.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Mine's a Point

So, how much is a point worth these days? The reason I ask is because Jenson Button stopped just before the finish line. I thought at the time that it might have something to do with avoiding the 10 slot penalty that he would have received at Imola, had he crossed the line. Honda's post-race press release seems to confirm that point: "As Jenson did not take the chequered flag in Melbourne today he escapes a 10-place grid penalty in the next race, which gives the team the opportunity to maximise the benefit of its testing developments."

Now Jenson could have scored three points if he'd rolled across the line. And as a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, that's like trading sixth place for third. So Honda appear to think that Jenson is in with a good chance of finishing higher than third in Imola. Granted, he came third last year (before the stupid exclusion) and ran well the year before, leading for part of the race and finishing second. So they may well view Imola as their best chance this year.

But it shows what a stupid rule this is. Jenson was actually classified in the results, which in my book means he was a finisher. So he might get the penalty anyway. And if Coulthard and Speed had been lapped by Alonso, Button could still have scored a point, but escaped the penalty. Doesn't sound right to me.

Either way, if Jenson wants to win in Imola, he needs to watch the race and learn from his mistakes. He was great at the first corner, holding Alonso off. But he was a complete idiot (I used a much stronger word when watching the race) at the restarts. It is unforgiveable to lose a place when you are controlling the pack. Button should know all about slowing and speeding up on the pre-restart lap. After all he went off the road at Monza a while back trying to avoid Schumacher. And even when Alonso was alongside I thought a quick lift to make Fernando pass before the finish line (and thus get a penalty) would have been worthwhile. Not gentlemanly, but this is racing. Which Jenson should also remember, because Kimi was allowed down the inside with no defence at all. It was like watching a goalkeeper just cover his eyes and hoping the striker missed. Kimi didn't.

All in all an incident packed race. But not that exciting, which is a shame, because it could have been.


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