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BAR pulled both cars out of the race

The Lucky Strike BAR Honda team made a reliable start to the 2005 season in today's curtain-raising Australian Grand Prix, but the drivers were compromised by a combination of poor starting positions and lack of performance early in the race.

Having started the race from the fourth row of the grid, Jenson lost three places to complete the first lap in 11th. His team-mate Takuma made up six places off the start, charging through the rear of the pack from his back row grid slot to 14th place. They completed two pitstops each but failed to catch the top 10 as both drivers struggled with poor tyre warm-up and found it difficult to follow other cars closely enough to overtake.

Since both drivers would have been out of the points at the end of the race, the team decided to pull both cars into the pit on the final lap. This failure to finish provides the opportunity to use new engines in the next race without further penalty.

Jenson Button commented on his race: "I had a poor start to the race and I was losing up to three seconds a lap behind Villeneuve. Once I passed him after the second pitstop the car was pretty good. The car ran reliably but clearly this wasn't the way we wanted to start the season and we have a lot of work to do to get back up to where we need to be."

Takuma Sato said "It was a difficult weekend for all of us, particularly in the race with me starting at the back of the grid. The team did a great job repairing the car for me for today and obviously I drove the best I could to recover some positions, but generally we were off the pace and we will work hard to turn this around for the next race."

Nick Fry, BAR's Chief Executive Officer said: "The cars were prepared well, ran reliably and it is a credit to the team that Takuma's car was repaired so rapidly after his accident in first qualifying. However, our car performance was not up to the standard that we have come to expect and our technical team must work to find more pace before the next round in Malaysia. Both drivers performed well and we must now give them the equipment they need to score Championship points."
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