Toro Rosso driver Jaime Alguersuari has ratted on revealed his team-mate Sébastien Buemi was the culprit behind Renault driver Nick Heidfeld’s damaged sidepod, which Renault released this picture of Heidfeld's battered R31 cost the German a possible shot at a decent result at the Australian Grand Prix.

Unseen by photographers or trackside cameras, the right-hand-side of Heidfeld’s R31 copped a hard hit, contributing to the German’s poor debut race with Renault where he finished a distant 12th, while team-mate Vitaly Petrov took an impressive third.

“I would definitely have scored some points,” Heidfeld rued after the race, “but a Toro Rosso hit me in Turns 10 and 11 and I lost 1.5 seconds every lap.”

“He lost KERS and the balance was affected,” added Renault team boss Eric Boullier.

The primary suspect for the crash was in fact Alguersuari, who had a rough opening lap after clipping Buemi at the first corner and then causing race-ending rear suspension damage to Michael Schumacher at Turn 3 after he hit the seven-time World Champion.

Faced with further accusation that he’d tried a ‘three out of three’ opening lap with Heidfeld, the Spaniard instead pointed the finger at Buemi, who finished the race in eighth.

“I am not responsible [for Heidfeld’s damage],” he said. “I was right behind and saw exactly what happened. Séb was in corner ten fighting with the Renault and he hit him at corner 11.”

Buemi’s post-race comments made no mention of the accident, and the matter was not raised for escalation by the race stewards.

[Original image via Renault]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.