Speed hoping Italy turns out better than Australia

Updated: April 21, 2006, 6:43 PM ET
By Dan Knutson | Special to ESPN.com

IMOLA, Italy -- Scott Speed arrived here for this weekend's San Marino Grand Prix wiser and poorer. He is also brimming with confidence and happy the tension between David Coulthard and himself has been put to rest.

Speed finished eighth in the recent Australian Grand Prix. It was a big deal for the rookie F1 driver from California because he had scored his first point in only his third start with a team that has earned few points over the years. F1 only gives out point to the top eight, so points for the small teams are a big deal.

Several hours later, however, the euphoria came crashing down when race officials penalized Speed for passing Coulthard while yellow flags were waving.

Things got quite heated between the two drivers in the postrace hearing. A frustrated Speed told Coulthard to & well, he told him off.

"It was very satisfying at the time," Speed said, "but a little less satisfying when I found out that I was going to get penalized for it!"

Officials fined Speed $5,000 for using abusive language.

Speed's Scuderia Toro Rosso team is not going to pick up the tab on that one.

"It is my mistake, so I pay for it," Speed said. "I'm surprised at how strict everyone is over here. I stepped over a line and won't do it again."

What, Speed was asked, did Coulthard do to make him so angry?

"What happened in the meeting that got me so torked off was that I was treated a bit disrespectfully by my teammate," Speed said. "That is why I was upset. The point being taken away, that was not even decided at that time. I felt very disrespected. So we got in an argument and I got fined for it."

Why did Speed feel he was treated with disrespect?

"I am the new rookie coming up," Speed said. "It is very easy to talk down on someone. But, anyway, it is water under the bridge. I am over it. I'm looking forward to this race. Our car should go well here."

Speed is not the first F1 rookie to have troubles with a veteran. Three-time World Champion Ayrton Senna punched an impudent new guy named Eddie Irvine in the nose after the 1993 Japanese Grand Prix.

Senna was upset when Irvine tried to un-lap himself and went to reprimand him after the race. Irvine talked back (Senna was doing the swearing) and Senna threw a punch.

Coulthard and Speed have talked it over and settled things.

"We are cool right now," Speed told ESPN.com. "It was just something that happens."

Coulthard said everything is fine, but still says Speed was at fault.

"There is no problem in my relationship with Speed," Coulthard said. "But I don't understand his reaction. In F1 the rules are clear-cut -- you can't overtake when the yellow flag is out."

The fact that the two drive for sister teams -- Scuderia Toro Rosso and Red Bull Racing -- owned by Red Bull should not make any difference, Speed said.

"For sure there comes a line where you decide how much teams actually work together," he said, "and it is very clear that we are quite separate entities at this moment."

Having said that, both teams share Red Bull's immense new "energy station" hospitality building at the track. The drivers and team members can't help but bump into each other. But the atmosphere is good.

"The relationship between everyone is now at a positive level," Speed said. "We all talked about it because there is a really good relationship within Red Bull, and both teams are in the same energy station. There is a good positive energy between everyone now."

Looking back on the events in Australia, Speed said losing the point was disappointing, but the team got a good boost out of it all in the end.

"It is very disappointing," he said, "not only for me but for the whole team. Everyone was devastated. The excitement that we went through that day -- it was an emotional roller-coaster.

"But it is good because it gives us all confidence, and we know outright that we did the job, whether they take a point away from us or not. We actually did the job, and nothing can take that away from us."

Dan Knutson covers Formula One for National Speed Sport News and ESPN.com.