2006 Australian Grand Prix

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Australia  2006 Australian Grand Prix
Race details
Race 3 of 18 in the 2006 Formula One season
The Albert Park Circuit
The Albert Park Circuit
Date 2 April 2006
Official name LXXI Foster's Australian Grand Prix
Location Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit
Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia
Course Parkland street circuit
5.30 km (3.33 mi)
Distance 57 laps, 302.271 km (187.822 mi)
Weather Cloudy
Attendance 103,000[1]
Pole position
Driver United Kingdom Jenson Button Honda
Time 1:25.229
Fastest lap
Driver Finland Kimi Räikkönen McLaren-Mercedes
Time 1:26.045 on lap 57
First Spain Fernando Alonso Renault
Second Finland Kimi Räikkönen McLaren-Mercedes
Third Germany Ralf Schumacher Toyota

The 2006 Australian Grand Prix (formally the LXXI Foster's Australian Grand Prix) was a Formula One motor race held at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit in Albert Park, Melbourne on 2 April 2006. The race, contested over 57 laps, was the 22nd Australian Grand Prix as part of the World Championship, and the 71st Australian Grand Prix overall. It was also the third round of the 2006 Formula One season; the Australian Grand Prix had been the season opener since 1996, but this race was held later due to the 2006 Commonwealth Games being held in Melbourne at the time of the opening round. The season was instead opened in Bahrain, and Australia regained its first round slot of the season for 2007.

The race was won by Renault's Fernando Alonso (Renault's third win from three races), with the McLaren of Kimi Räikkönen second. Ralf Schumacher finished in third place to take the last podium of his career with the Toyota team. Polesitter Jenson Button retired from the race when his engine blew on the final lap. He eventually stopped roughly ten metres from the finish line, losing a points scoring position (fifth place) in the process.

Murray Walker made a return to the commentary box for a one-off with Australia's Network Ten.

When Mark Webber took the lead on lap 21 in his Williams-Cosworth he became the first Australian driver to lead his home Grand Prix since John Bowe led the early laps of the non-championship 1984 race driving a Ralt RT4 Ford.


Practice and qualifying[edit]

Friday drivers[edit]

The bottom 6 teams in the 2005 Constructors' Championship and Super Aguri were entitled to run a third car in free practice on Friday. These drivers drove on Friday but did not compete in qualifying or the race.

Constructor Nat Driver
Williams-Cosworth Austria Alexander Wurz
Honda United Kingdom Anthony Davidson
Red Bull-Ferrari Netherlands Robert Doornbos
BMW Sauber Poland Robert Kubica
MF1-Toyota Germany Markus Winkelhock
Toro Rosso-Cosworth Switzerland Neel Jani


The race began with an unusual spin of Juan Pablo Montoya as he completed the formation lap. He lined up at the back of the grid, however Fisichella then stalled his engine on the grid, forcing the start to be red-flagged. Fisichella had to start from the pitlane, while Montoya reclaimed his grid position.

As in 2002, the race had a first-lap accident. Felipe Massa was the victim in an incident involving himself, Nico Rosberg and Christian Klien. The Williams and Red Bull effectively sandwiched Massa's Ferrari as the Brazilian attempted to squeeze through a gap too small, pitching him into the wall hard and out of the race. Rosberg returned to the pits without the rear wing. Klien continued the race unharmed.

These incidents called the Safety Car on the very first lap. Fisichella spun but continued, again in the Jones corner. Alonso passed Button when the SC was recalled two laps later, in the start/finish straight.

On the third lap, Christian Klien had some problem with his suspension and crashed the barriers near Clark Chicane, and destroyed his car. Klien went out walking, happily. This crash had left many pieces of debris on the track and the Safety Car went out again to help the stewards clean the zone. When the race continued, Räikkönen attacked Button and gained his place. Montoya tried that as well, though unsuccessful for many laps.

Vitantonio Liuzzi made an exciting pass on Michael Schumacher, by the Sports Centre turn.

Mark Webber led his home race for Williams

The race continued uneventful for another 10 laps when pit stops began with Montoya, Button and Trulli. Fernando and Räikkönen stopped, giving Mark Webber the lead of his home Grand Prix. A gearbox failure then eliminated him.

Another uneventful stint was run until lap 32 when Montoya touched the grass in the Prost turn, but managed to return to the track. Michael Schumacher also had the same grass cross, although the German champion could not make it back and struck the barriers. He himself said that his car was not easy to drive, and that the tires were not warm enough. This incident called the Safety Car for the third time. Many drivers used this SC situation to go to pits. Räikkönen entered just before Montoya, making a queue. Thankfully for the Woking Team there was not much delay.

On lap 35 the Safety Car was off and the race restarted. Alonso had a strategy to give an enormous gap with the SC and slow down the cars behind, and then blasted off and leave Räikkönen and Heidfeld with the trouble of Albers, creating a 3-second gap between the two leading cars.

The 36th lap called the Safety Car once again. Vitantonio Liuzzi had jumped to the grass, crossed the road, bumped the left barrier, crossed the road again and struck the right barrier near Whiteford, leaving his car completely destroyed. The race restarted on lap 40, and Fernando did exactly the same thing and got a little advantage from Räikkönen. After the incident Liuzzi blamed Villeneuve, saying that the Canadian had screwed up one of his best races.

Lap 39 brought another incident to the race. Tiago Monteiro abandoned due to a mechanical problem. Lap 46 took Montoya out of the race as he crossed the kerbs in the curve where Schumacher had had his accident. This caused the car to jump momentarily, causing an electrical problem which forced a total shutdown of the car, thus making him retire.

The Australian Grand Prix was not free of incidents in the last laps. On the very final lap, in the final 2 corners, Jenson Button blew his engine, causing Fisichella right behind him to be covered in oil and struggling to control the car. Button ended up stalling the car about 10 metres from the finish line. He did so deliberately, giving up a points-scoring position, to avoid a 10 place position penalty in the next race.

Alonso wrapped up his tenth career victory, while Räikkönen grabbed the second place on the podium and Ralf Schumacher scored what proved to be the sole podium for Toyota in the season, and ultimately, his final podium in Formula One. This was despite a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane. After the race, the stewards were busy, handing out a reprimand to Takuma Sato for failing to pay attention to blue flags, and a 25-second penalty to Scott Speed for a similar offence, albeit with yellow flags. The American driver was also fined $5000 for using abusive language during a post-race hearing.



Pos. No. Driver Constructor Q1 Q2 Q3 Grid
1 12 United KingdomJenson Button Honda 1:28.081 1:26.337 1:25.229 1
2 2 ItalyGiancarlo Fisichella Renault 1:27.765 1:26.196 1:25.635 2
3 1 SpainFernando Alonso Renault 1:28.569 1:25.729 1:25.778 3
4 3 FinlandKimi Räikkönen McLaren-Mercedes 1:27.193 1:26.161 1:25.822 4
5 4 ColombiaJuan Pablo Montoya McLaren-Mercedes 1:27.079 1:25.902 1:25.976 5
6 7 GermanyRalf Schumacher Toyota 1:28.007 1:26.596 1:26.612 6
7 9 AustraliaMark Webber Williams-Cosworth 1:27.669 1:26.075 1:26.937 7
8 16 GermanyNick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:27.796 1:26.014 1:27.579 8
9 17 CanadaJacques Villeneuve BMW Sauber 1:28.460 1:26.714 1:29.239 191
10 8 ItalyJarno Trulli Toyota 1:27.748 1:26.327 no time2 9
11 5 GermanyMichael Schumacher Ferrari 1:28.228 1:26.718 10
12 14 United KingdomDavid Coulthard Red Bull-Ferrari 1:28.408 1:27.023 11
13 20 ItalyVitantonio Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Cosworth 1:28.999 1:27.219 12
14 15 AustriaChristian Klien Red Bull-Ferrari 1:28.757 1:27.591 13
15 10 GermanyNico Rosberg Williams-Cosworth 1:28.351 1:29.422 14
16 6 BrazilFelipe Massa Ferrari 1:28.868 no time3 15
17 11 BrazilRubens Barrichello Honda 1:29.943 16
18 19 NetherlandsChristijan Albers MF1-Toyota 1:30.226 17
19 21 United StatesScott Speed Toro Rosso-Cosworth 1:30.426 18
20 18 PortugalTiago Monteiro MF1-Toyota 1:30.709 20
21 22 JapanTakuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda 1:32.279 21
22 23 JapanYuji Ide Super Aguri-Honda 1:36.164 22
  • ^1Jacques Villeneuve was handed a 10 place grid penalty following an engine change before qualifying.[4]
  • ^2Jarno Trulli qualified for the final session however did not completed a timed lap due to gearbox problems.[4]
  • ^3Felipe Massa lost control of his Ferrari during the second qualifying session (Q2) after running over a curb through turn 11 and crashing his car into the wall. It also prompted the session to be red flagged for some time.[4]


Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 1 Spain Fernando Alonso Renault 57 1:34:27.870 3 10
2 3 Finland Kimi Räikkönen McLaren-Mercedes 57 +1.829 4 8
3 7 Germany Ralf Schumacher Toyota 57 +24.824 6 6
4 16 Germany Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 57 +31.032 8 5
5 2 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella Renault 57 +38.421 2 4
6 17 Canada Jacques Villeneuve BMW Sauber 57 +49.554 19 3
7 11 Brazil Rubens Barrichello Honda 57 +51.904 16 2
8 14 United Kingdom David Coulthard Red Bull-Ferrari 57 +53.983 11 1
9 21 United States Scott Speed Toro Rosso-Cosworth 57 +1:18.817 1 18
10 12 United Kingdom Jenson Button Honda 56 Engine 1
11 19 Netherlands Christijan Albers MF1-Toyota 56 +1 lap 17
12 22 Japan Takuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda 55 +2 laps 21
13 23 Japan Yuji Ide Super Aguri-Honda 54 +3 laps 22
Ret 4 Colombia Juan Pablo Montoya McLaren-Mercedes 46 Electrical 5
Ret 18 Portugal Tiago Monteiro MF1-Toyota 39 Hydraulics 20
Ret 20 Italy Vitantonio Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Cosworth 37 Accident 12
Ret 5 Germany Michael Schumacher Ferrari 32 Spun off 10
Ret 9 Australia Mark Webber Williams-Cosworth 22 Transmission 7
Ret 15 Austria Christian Klien Red Bull-Ferrari 4 Accident 13
Ret 8 Italy Jarno Trulli Toyota 0 Collision 9
Ret 10 Germany Nico Rosberg Williams-Cosworth 0 Collision Damage 14
Ret 6 Brazil Felipe Massa Ferrari 0 Collision 15
  • ^1Scott Speed finished eighth but had 25 seconds added to his race time for lack of attention to yellow flags.[6]

Standings after the race[edit]

Note, only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.


  1. ^ "Aussie GP to revert to opening race in 2007". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2006-04-02. 
  2. ^ "2006 FORMULA 1™ Foster's Australian Grand Prix". Formula1.com (Formula One Administration). 1 April 2006. Retrieved 16 December 2012. 
  3. ^ Domenjoz, Luc et al.. Formula One Yearbook 2006–2007. Chronosports S.A. p. 96. ISBN 2-84707-110-5. 
  4. ^ a b c "Button stuns with Australian pole". Formula1.com (Formula One Administration). 1 April 2006. Retrieved 16 December 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c Domenjoz, Luc et al.. Formula One Yearbook 2006–2007. Chronosports S.A. p. 99. ISBN 2-84707-110-5. 
  6. ^ "2006 FORMULA 1™ Foster's Australian Grand Prix". Formula1.com (Formula One Administration). 2 April 2006. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 

External links[edit]

Previous race:
2006 Malaysian Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
2006 season
Next race:
2006 San Marino Grand Prix
Previous race:
2005 Australian Grand Prix
Australian Grand Prix Next race:
2007 Australian Grand Prix

Coordinates: 37°50′59″S 144°58′06″E / 37.84972°S 144.96833°E / -37.84972; 144.96833