McLaren drivers Kimi Raikkonen and David Coulthard were left licking their wounds after seeing Michael Schumacher erode the points advantage they had built up in the first four races of the season.
The Ferrari star has slashed Raikkonen's world championship lead to four points while Coulthard dropped to fifth place after neither McLaren could finish the Spanish Grand Prix.
Raikkonen's race ended after just a couple of metres when he slammed into the back of Antonio Pizzonia's Jaguar at the start.
The Finn was at the back of the grid after making a mistake on his qualifying lap.
And Coulthard crashed out after a collision with Jenson Button's BAR.
Raikkonen said: "A real shame but it's one of those things which can happen when you start from the back.
"[It was] a terrible and very short race for me. I got off the line quickly and was beside one
of the Minardis when all of a sudden there was nowhere to go but into the back of the stationary Pizzonia."
Coulthard was also philosophical.
"All in all, today's result is not good but that is motor racing and we will take it on the chin and bounce back at the next race," he said.
Coulthard, who was second in the championship, fell to fifth place behind Renault's Fernando Alonso and the second Ferrari of Rubens Barrichello.
Coulthard's race started badly when he ran off the road after a collision with Renault's Jarno Trulli at the second corner.
"I knew it was going to get messy through turn two and I tried to give as much space to the car in front as possible, but unfortunately Jarno ran into the back of me," Coulthard said.
"I had to pit but there was some damage to the floor which made the car difficult to drive but I still thought it would be possible to get some points until Jenson and I came together.
"I need to look at the footage to establish exactly what happened," he added.
McLaren boss Ron Dennis blamed Button for the later collision, saying the Brit had produced a "badly judged overtaking manoeuvre".
Button, who finished ninth, said: "It was just one of those things, nothing more to say really. A racing incident."
The disastrous result is likely to put more pressure on McLaren to introduce their new car, which is not scheduled to debut until the Canadian Grand Prix in three races' time.