Renault and Fernando Alonso established early leads in both the Constructors' and Drivers' Championships. The Spanish World Champion achieved six wins (including four consecutive victories) in Bahrain, Australia, Spain, Monaco, Britain, and Canada. Teammate Giancarlo Fisichella won his third career race in Malaysia. The Malaysian event also saw the first example of fowl play in F1 where a number of teams (worst offender being Ferrari) were found to be running illegal 'flexi wings' which allowed better strait line speed. Changes were made to both the wings and the rules for the next race.
After a disastrous 2005 season and slow start to the 2006 season Michael Schumacher won two consecutive races at Imola and the Nürburgring. During the final lap of his qualifying session for the Monaco Grand Prix, Schumacher came to a stop at the La Rascasse hairpin, resulting in yellow flags, meaning that other drivers could not go at maximum speed. After the session there were immediate complaints from the other teams claiming that this was a deliberate move by Schumacher to ensure he started in pole position - Alonso's lap was likely to beat Schumacher's fastest time, as by the second sector, Alonso was already over two tenths quicker then Schumacher's time, and his final time was just 0.024 seconds slower than Schumacher. Although Schumacher insisted that he had simply locked up at the corner, a stewards' inquiry stated, "We are left with no alternative but to conclude that the driver deliberately stopped his car on the circuit." The penalty was that Schumacher's qualifying times were all deleted, demoting him to 22nd position on the grid. He opted to start from the pitlane, and finished 5th, largely do a well timed safety car which hugely boosted his position.
In the British Grand Prix, Alonso became the first Spanish driver and the youngest driver (24 years, 10 months, 13 days) to get the Hat Trick, missing the Grand Chelem by a single lap. Schumacher won the United States Grand Prix (his fourth consecutive victory at Indianapolis and fifth career victory there) and the French Grand Prix. It was the events of the Monday after the French GP which will be remembered for many years to come. After being allowed for the best part of a year the FIA decided that a device called ‘Mass Dampers’ developed by Renault (used by other teams too who were all unable to make it work as well the British-French team) were now illegal. This one act was condemned by the majority of F1 as yet another example of clear Ferrari bias in the FIA by it's ability to cripple an already behind Renault team and hand the championships to Ferrari (see 2003). The effect of the ban was clear at the next race where the Renault's struggled to even get points. He also won the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim, with Alonso finishing 5th.
Jenson Button achieved his first Formula One career victory in the Hungarian Grand Prix. Alonso had a mechanical failure whilst leading in the later stages of the race whilst Michael Schumacher retired after a collision with Nick Heidfeld. However Schumacher was promoted to 8th place in the standings (having been classified 9th following a retirement three laps from the end) because of Robert Kubica's disqualification in his first race. The Polish driver had finished 7th in the BMW Sauber.
Felipe Massa won the next Grand Prix in Turkey, so for the second race in a row, Formula One had a debut winner. Fernando Alonso extended his lead over Michael Schumacher by two points after he managed to finish a tenth of a second ahead of the German in second place.
Back to Italy for Monza and yet more controversy and calls of Ferrari bias in the FIA, this time Alonso was given a penalty for 'holding up' Massa during quli to the puzzlement of the fans and drivers passed and present (Max Moseley has since admitted the penalty was wrong). Schumacher manage reduce Alonso's lead to only two points after winning the Italian Grand Prix, while Alonso suffered an engine failure in the late stages of the race. Despite a fourth-place finish for Alonso's teammate, Giancarlo Fisichella, and a flat-spotted tyre causing Felipe Massa to score no points, the race also saw Ferrari pull ahead of Renault for the first time in 2006. Polish driver Robert Kubica took his BMW Sauber to his first ever podium finish, in only his third race, but the race results were largely overshadowed by Schumacher announcing, during the post-race press conference, that he would retire at the end of the season. Afterwards he did say that he would hold a position in the Ferrari F1 team for 2007, though he did not disclose what.
Three weeks later, with his victory at Shanghai right ahead of Alonso, Schumacher drew level on points with him him at the head of the championship. Schumacher officially lead the World Championship for the first time in 2006 after the race, as he had won 7 races compared to Alonso's 6. Massa did not finish the race, and Renault gained again the lead in the constructors' championship thanks to Fisichella's third place.
A week later at the Japanese Grand Prix, Felipe Massa took pole ahead of Michael Schumacher in second and Fernando Alonso in fifth. Schumacher quickly took the lead and set about gaining a five second lead, which continued until after the second round of pit stops. However, Schumacher's engine failed with 17 laps to go, forcing him to retire and handing Alonso the win ahead of Massa.
At the final round, the Brazilian Grand Prix, Massa again took pole. Drama in qualifying saw Michael Schumacher have a mysterious failure, meaning that he started down in 10th, while Alonso began in 5th. In the race, Schumacher had yet more bad luck, suffering a puncture just a few laps in. He recovered to finish fourth, while teammate Massa became the first Brazilian to win his home Grand Prix since Ayrton Senna, in 1993, and Alonso finished second to secure his second successive championship, adding the record of the youngest man to secure back-to-back titles to his ever-increasing list of records. Fisichella finished 6th for Renault, meaning that the French outfit secured their second successive title. Kimi Räikkönen finished fifth for McLaren, meaning that McLaren failed to secure a single win in the season for the first time since 1996 and it was the first time since the 1956 that a British constructor failed to win.
Hi. I'm in danger of breaking something called the 3 revert rule, so I won't edit any more of your additions today. I hope you feel that the reference which I have added for Alonso's penalty at Monza is at least useful. My main objection to most of your changes comes under something called the neutral point of view policy. We should try not to express our own views as such, but to keep a neutral tone and report only facts or the opinions of suitable individuals - this can be difficult, but it means not putting what we feel about something into the text. Anyhow - hope you enjoy editing Wikipedia. Cheers. 4u1e 23:30, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
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- "Controversial pole for Schumacher". Official Formula One Website. Retrieved 16 October 2006
- "2006 Monaco Grand Prix - Qualifying" (Click "Live Timing Archive") Official Formula One Website. Retrieved 16 October 2006
- "Post-qualifying press conference - Monaco" Official Formula One Website. Retrieved 16 October 2006