Atlas F1 News Service, a Reuters report

Fisichella Apologised for Malaysia Start Error

Wednesday March 21st, 2001

Giancarlo Fisichella apologised to his Benetton team after forcing the start of Sunday's Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix to be aborted when he positioned his car in the wrong place on the grid.

"I immediately admitted to the mistake," the Italian driver told the Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper on Wednesday. "I apologised to the whole team on the radio."

Fisichella tried to correct his mistake by moving his Benetton across the grid at Sepang but become stranded diagonally across the track instead.

"How did it happen? I was simply concentrating too hard on making sure that the car was set up right and I was only watching the car in front," said the driver.

"When I realised the error it was too late to do any sort of manoeuvre."

Team boss Flavio Briatore said he had not rebuked the driver: "What happened on Sunday is also a result of a particular situation we are going through," he said. "We are still in an experimental stage.

"Unfortunately Giancarlo was distracted..."

Renault-owned Benetton have a new engine this season and Briton Jenson Button's 11th place in Malaysia was their best result so far in difficult two races.

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