Coulthard Frustrated by Handicap System

David Coulthard has again called for the end of the handicap system by which a bad result in one race is carried forward to the next by a driver having to go out first in qualifying

Coulthard Frustrated by Handicap System

"At the risk of having tomorrow's meeting with Mr Mosley cancelled," smiled a tongue-in-cheek DC in Hungary, "it's highly frustrating that Christian (Klien) and I went out on the first lap here through no fault of our own, and effectively Turkey is a write-off for the whole team."

Klien barrel-rolled out of the Hungarian GP on the first lap when his right rear wheel ran over Jacques Villeneuve's left front at Turn 1. Then, further round the first lap, Coulthard was confronted by Fernando Alonso's wing in the middle of the circuit on the exit of Turn 11.

The resultant impact removed the Red Bull's right front wheel, whereupon the Scot became a passenger before coming to a halt without further damage.

"It's just not something you expect," Coulthard said. "I'd made a great  start and had a good battle with Massa in Turn 2 and Webber in Turn 4. Unfortunately I lost out in both and was just concentrating on getting a tow when I was suddenly confronted by the debris.

"I was surprised that the impact took the wheel off and you then lose the front brakes. When you've only got one front wheel on the road and rear brakes only, you spin, and two things cross your mind.

"First, you want to make sure you're not hit by the wheel and, second, you don't want to spin back onto the track and be collected by someone else. I've already had a broken leg in my career through that (at Spa in a Vauxhall Lotus in 1990).

"I was effectively a passenger because the car was basically running on the underbody plank. You accept things like that, it's racing, but to lose the next race as well is too much. It's daft and it's not Formula One."

Although, on the surface, Kimi Raikkonen overcame the system in Hungary by winning despite qualifying first after his Hockenheim retirement, his success was only facilitated by the margin of car superiority that McLaren currently enjoy.

The handicap that Raikkonen faced was clear enough considering that the Finn, consistently the quickest driver over the Budapest weekend, qualified 0.12s slower than teammate Juan Pablo Montoya despite the Colombian being fuelled for 11 laps more.

The penalty for going out first in Hungary was therefore almost exactly one full second.

McLaren Mercedes bosses Ron Dennis and Norbert Haug have also been consistently critical of the handicap system this year, and said once again in Hungary that they would like to see it removed in 2006.

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