Tuesday May 1st, 2001
Being left stranded on the Formula One grid feels as uncomfortable as sitting on a motorway with your back to the traffic, according to Germany's Heinz-Harald Frentzen.
The Jordan driver explained what it had felt like to be left struggling with the controls, as he was on Sunday in the Spanish Grand Prix, while others thundered past.
"Try taking an armchair into the middle of the fast lane of your nearest motorway and sit down facing away from the traffic," he wrote on his website. "It's a great way to tint your hair grey.
"That will give you an idea of how I felt when the lights went out for the start and I was sitting there with my car in neutral and a lot of lights flashing on the dash panel."
Frentzen said he saw lights suddenly flash on the control panel just before the start. His team said in a statement after the race that the driver had inadvertently deactivated the new electronic 'launch control' system used to ensure a smooth and fast start.
The electronics were used legally for the first time in Spain after being banned at the end of 1993. Frentzen eventually engaged gear with most of the field ahead of him but went out after just six laps as he tried to pass Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa's Jaguar.
"It would have been a great challenge to fight my way back up to the points but, because of de la Rosa, I didn't get the chance," wrote Frentzen. "He said later that he didn't see me until I hit him."