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GP Week : Issue 216
Tale of attrition Just 15 cars rolled onto the starting grid in Albert Park, the fewest number of starters since the 1982 san Marino Grand Prix. Unlike in 1982 there were no extenuating circumstances or external pressures which kept teams away. Valtteri Bottas suffered a back injury during qualifying and failed a subsequent medical evaluation which ruled him out of the race, and Manor never got out of the garage to be able to qualify. With the rules preventing Williams substituting a driver in place of Bottas the team was left with no choice but to withdraw the car. Between Manor and Williams the starting grid, at best, was only ever going to be 17, the lowest number in the Australian Grand Prix's history. Then, on the out lap to the pits, disaster struck Kevin Magnussen's McLaren when his Honda engine expired. Moments later Daniil Kvyat's Red Bull ground to a halt with gearbox failure, leaving just 15 cars on the grid when the lights went out. By contrast the 1982 San Marino race was held in the midst of the FISA/FOCA war, which saw FOCA teams boycott the race. It left just 14 starters for the race, which was eventually won by Didier Pironi over Gilles Villeneuve. Ferrari and Renault were the only leading teams to take part. rIGHT: Kevin Magnussen exits his stranded McLaren- Honda on the parade lap ... 18 GPWEEK.com // 18 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> AUSTRALIA PARTNERS: