Atlas F1 News Service

Poor Start of the Season for Benetton

Sunday March 4th, 2001

Benetton sulked away from the Albert Park circuit Melbourne with their confidence low after an indifferent start to the season in the Australian Grand Prix.

The team's drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and Jenson Button failed to match the pace of their rivals and were lapped by the entire field.

Fisichella finished 13th, while Button retired four laps from the end with an exhaust problem.

"I had a good start and was very careful as it was important to finish the race," Fisichella said.

"The car was running well and it felt good but then it developed a problem that we are looking into. I lost power and so cruised to the end of the race."

Team-mate Button was given a 10-second stop-go penalty after team mechanics were late leaving the grid before the formation lap. But the Briton was positive about his pace at the start.

Button said: "I was very impressed with how good the car was off the line and I pulled up to 11th and then I had a little battle with (Jos) Verstappen which resulted in me running over the kerb and losing quite a few places.

"After that the car was well balanced. There was a problem, which we think was the exhaust, which meant I couldn't push at all."

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