2006 Australian Grand Prix

The 2006 Australian Grand Prix (officially the 2006 Formula 1 Foster's Australian Grand Prix)[2] was a Formula One motor race held at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit in Albert Park, Melbourne on 2 April 2006. The 57-lap race 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 of the season slot for 2007.

2006 Australian Grand Prix
Race 3 of 18 in the 2006 Formula One World Championship
Albert Park Street Circuit
Albert Park Street Circuit
Race details
Date 2 April 2006
Official name 2006 Formula 1 Foster's Australian Grand Prix
Location Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit
Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia
Course Temporary street circuit
Course length 5.303 km (3.295 mi)
Distance 57 laps, 302.271 km (187.823 mi)
Scheduled distance 58 laps, 307.574 km (191.118 mi)
Weather Cloudy with sunny breaks. Air temperature 20°C
Attendance 103,000[1]
Pole position
Driver Honda
Time 1:25.229
Fastest lap
Driver Finland Kimi Räikkönen McLaren-Mercedes
Time 1:26.045 on lap 57
First Renault
Second McLaren-Mercedes
Third Toyota
Lap leaders

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.

This was the last race until the 2015 Mexican Grand Prix that neither Ferrari was classified.[3]


Practice and qualifyingEdit

Friday driversEdit

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   Alexander Wurz
Honda   Anthony Davidson
Red Bull-Ferrari   Robert Doornbos
BMW Sauber   Robert Kubica
MF1-Toyota   Markus Winkelhock
Toro Rosso-Cosworth   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   Jenson Button Honda 1:28.081 1:26.337 1:25.229 1
2 2   Giancarlo Fisichella Renault 1:27.765 1:26.196 1:25.635 2
3 1   Fernando Alonso Renault 1:28.569 1:25.729 1:25.778 3
4 3   Kimi Räikkönen McLaren-Mercedes 1:27.193 1:26.161 1:25.822 4
5 4   Juan Pablo Montoya McLaren-Mercedes 1:27.079 1:25.902 1:25.976 5
6 7   Ralf Schumacher Toyota 1:28.007 1:26.596 1:26.612 6
7 9   Mark Webber Williams-Cosworth 1:27.669 1:26.075 1:26.937 7
8 16   Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:27.796 1:26.014 1:27.579 8
9 17   Jacques Villeneuve BMW Sauber 1:28.460 1:26.714 1:29.239 191
10 8   Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:27.748 1:26.327 no time2 9
11 5   Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1:28.228 1:26.718 10
12 14   David Coulthard Red Bull-Ferrari 1:28.408 1:27.023 11
13 20   Vitantonio Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Cosworth 1:28.999 1:27.219 12
14 15   Christian Klien Red Bull-Ferrari 1:28.757 1:27.591 13
15 10   Nico Rosberg Williams-Cosworth 1:28.351 1:29.422 14
16 6   Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:28.868 no time3 15
17 11   Rubens Barrichello Honda 1:29.943 16
18 19   Christijan Albers MF1-Toyota 1:30.226 17
19 21   Scott Speed Toro Rosso-Cosworth 1:30.426 18
20 18   Tiago Monteiro MF1-Toyota 1:30.709 20
21 22   Takuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda 1:32.279 21
22 23   Yuji Ide Super Aguri-Honda 1:36.164 22
  • ^1Jacques Villeneuve was handed a 10 place grid penalty following an engine change before qualifying.[6]
  • ^2Jarno Trulli qualified for the final session however did not completed a timed lap due to gearbox problems.[6]
  • ^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.[6]


Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 1   Fernando Alonso Renault 57 1:34:27.870 3 10
2 3   Kimi Räikkönen McLaren-Mercedes 57 +1.829 4 8
3 7   Ralf Schumacher Toyota 57 +24.824 6 6
4 16   Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 57 +31.032 8 5
5 2   Giancarlo Fisichella Renault 57 +38.421 2 4
6 17   Jacques Villeneuve BMW Sauber 57 +49.554 19 3
7 11   Rubens Barrichello Honda 57 +51.904 16 2
8 14   David Coulthard Red Bull-Ferrari 57 +53.983 11 1
91 21   Scott Speed Toro Rosso-Cosworth 57 +1:18.817 18
10 12   Jenson Button Honda 56 Engine 1
11 19   Christijan Albers MF1-Toyota 56 +1 lap 17
12 22   Takuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda 55 +2 laps 21
13 23   Yuji Ide Super Aguri-Honda 54 +3 laps 22
Ret 4   Juan Pablo Montoya McLaren-Mercedes 46 Electrical 5
Ret 18   Tiago Monteiro MF1-Toyota 39 Hydraulics 20
Ret 20   Vitantonio Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Cosworth 37 Spun off/Accident 12
Ret 5   Michael Schumacher Ferrari 32 Accident 10
Ret 9   Mark Webber Williams-Cosworth 22 Transmission 7
Ret 15   Christian Klien Red Bull-Ferrari 4 Accident 13
Ret 8   Jarno Trulli Toyota 0 Collision 9
Ret 10   Nico Rosberg Williams-Cosworth 0 Collision damage 14
Ret 6   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.[8]

Championship standings after the raceEdit

  • 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. 2 April 2006.
  2. ^ "2006 FORMULA 1™ Foster's Australian Grand Prix - Race". Retrieved 21 December 2020.
  3. ^ "F1 Mexican Grand Prix: Ferrari counts costs of first double DNF since 2006". crash.net. 2 November 2015. Archived from the original on 3 November 2015. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  4. ^ "2006 FORMULA 1™ Foster's Australian Grand Prix". Formula1.com. Formula One Administration. 1 April 2006. Archived from the original on 29 August 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2012.
  5. ^ Domenjoz, Luc; et al. Formula One Yearbook 2006–2007. Chronosports S.A. p. 96. ISBN 2-84707-110-5.
  6. ^ a b c "Button stuns with Australian pole". Formula1.com. Formula One Administration. 1 April 2006. Archived from the original on 24 December 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2012.
  7. ^ Domenjoz, Luc; et al. Formula One Yearbook 2006–2007. Chronosports S.A. p. 99. ISBN 2-84707-110-5.
  8. ^ "2006 FORMULA 1™ Foster's Australian Grand Prix". Formula1.com. Formula One Administration. 2 April 2006. Archived from the original on 6 June 2014. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
  9. ^ a b "Australia 2006 – Championship • STATS F1". statsf1.com. Retrieved 7 March 2019.

External linksEdit

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