Vettel sent to back of grid for qualifying infringement

2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Yas Marina, 2012Sebastian Vettel has been sent to the back of the grid for stopping on the track after qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The FIA stewards were unable to extract a sufficient quantity of fuel from Vettel’s car for testing after he stopped.

“The stewards received a report from the race director that car one failed to return to the pits under its own power as required under Article 6.6.2 of the FIA Formula One Technical Regulations,” they said in a statement.

“The stewards heard from the driver and team representatives and studied telemetry evidence that showed the reason why the car was stopped. The stewards accepted the explanation and considered the incident as being a case of force majeure.

“However a report was received from the technical delegate that showed during post-qualifying scrutineering an insufficient quantity of fuel for sampling purposes.

“The stewards determine that this is a breach of Article 6.6.2 of the FIA Formula One Technical Regulations and the Competitor is accordingly excluded from the results of the Qualifying Session.

“The competitor is however allowed to start the race from the back of the grid.”

Christian Horner said: “During the slow-down lap following the final run of Q3, Renault instructed to immediately stop Sebastian’s car on the circuit due to an issue with the fuel system.

“After speaking with the stewards, who accepted the situation of force majeure for technical reasons for the car to be stopped, unfortunately, for reasons yet to be fully understood, 850ml of the required one litre was pumped out of the car following post race checks.

“As a result, the FIA has excluded Sebastian from qualifying and we will withdraw the car from parc ferme in order to investigate further. Therefore Sebastian will start from the pit lane for tomorrow’s race. We will need to make the most of Mark’s strong front-row grid position and Sebastian will have a busy evening ahead of him.”

Vettel added: “One of the best ski jumpers of all times once said ‘Every chance is an opportunity and as far as we are concerned there are still plenty of chances tomorrow’.”

The stewards also decided against penalising Sergio Perez for impeding Bruno Senna during Q1. The Sauber driver received a reprimand for the incident, following which both drivers progressed to Q2.

2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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255 comments on Vettel sent to back of grid for qualifying infringement

  1. Karthikeyan (@ridiculous) said on 3rd November 2012, 19:38

    Don’t think RedBull are this stupid to under fuel Vettel at this stage of the championship considering what happened in Barcelona. Must be FIA’s way of spicing up the championship just like 94(Britain), 97(Suzuka), 99(Malaysia), 2003(US) and 2008(Fuji)

    • OOliver said on 3rd November 2012, 20:24

      The FIA had no choice. The only thing the FIA could have done is regret why they gave Hamilton the same penalty in Barcelona.

  2. petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 3rd November 2012, 19:46

    I can’t wait for the GP tomorrow now! It’s going to be brilliant to see what Alonso can do because if it finished as it’s going to start, you’d have to say Vettel would still be the clear favourite for the title.

    If Alonso can move forward, it’ll get very interesting.

  3. troutcor said on 3rd November 2012, 19:46

    This is a heckuva break for this Ferrari fan who is packing his bags in two weeks for Austin!
    Any predictions on how many places Vettel can make up?
    I guess he finishes P9.

  4. Neel Jani (@neelv27) said on 3rd November 2012, 19:56

    I believe that this will give a good opportunity for Fernando to more or less equal Seb in the championship.

    Until and unless, Ferrari really doesn’t come up with an upgrade (a good one), it’s Seb’s title to loose. It’s just got delayed. Instead of Texas, it will be Sau Paulo.

    Yes, we still hope for reliability issues for RBR but it’s to a limit that Alonso can drag a noncompetitive car to championship glory.

    What a great weekend we have had at Abu Dhabi!

  5. Neel Jani (@neelv27) said on 3rd November 2012, 20:09

    Interestingly, does that mean RBR can make significant changes to the setup of the car? Especially allowing Seb more straight line speeds?

    • OOliver said on 3rd November 2012, 20:42

      I think that is exactly what they intend to do now.
      The advantage is that the tyres can take some punishement so he can really push the car unlike earlier in the season.

  6. Cucamest (@kevincucamest) said on 3rd November 2012, 20:12

    Therefore Sebastian will start from the pit lane for tomorrow’s race…

    Didn’t Hamilton start in last place on the grid in Spain? Why does Vettel have to start from the pits, especially because the pit lane exit is so long in Abu Dhabi.

    • Neel Jani (@neelv27) said on 3rd November 2012, 20:16

      So that they can make some setup changes to the car and also start on the primes.

      @Keith: Why did you deleted my Autosport link abt Seb starting from the pitlane?

    • John H (@john-h) said on 3rd November 2012, 20:49

      He doesn’t have to, but the car doesn’t work. They have to take the fuel cell to bits and out of parc ferme, hence a pit lane start (as far as I understand it).

      • No, it’s a decision so they can make changes to the car. New gear ratios and less downforce for overtaking, they can even fit a brand new (9th) engine and gearbox at this point if they want.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 4th November 2012, 7:55

        I guess they want time to do the repairs properly @john-h. Maybe even put in a 9th engine (as a penalty is a non-issue now) and probably try and rethink the setup to maximize his chances of overtaking in the race. I wouldn’t be surprised to see RBR breaking curfew this night/morning and even flying in a couple of bits from the UK to make it go better on the straights.

  7. Pete (@repete86) said on 3rd November 2012, 20:13

    I don’t understand why it took so long for this decision to be reached. If there wasn’t enough fuel in the tank, that should be pretty cut and dry. Why did it take six hours?

  8. F1Rollout (@f1rollout) said on 3rd November 2012, 20:17

    Vettel not scoring and Hamilton winning will keep Hamilton in championship for next race..Lewis deserves it..

    • John H (@john-h) said on 3rd November 2012, 20:52

      Indeed I think if Lewis wins and Vettel DNF, he is still 50 points behind! As Mr. Button reminds us often enough, it’s still mathematically possible.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 4th November 2012, 7:58

        Yeah, but I don’t expect that to happen. But it will mean Kimi still has an outsider shot and probably take the championship to the last round instead of sealing it in Austin.

  9. William Brierty said on 3rd November 2012, 20:18

    This is the best news F1 has had for a while. It might not be 2002 again, one Alonso might just be able to conjure up the finest championship win of recent times. Everyone in F1 is happy about this, perhaps excluding Red Bull team members. OK, tomorrow’s race will be dull, Hamilton will run and hide, but it’s great for the championship and Alonso and Vettel should provide some entertainment in the race, with Vettel playing damage limitation and Alonso trying to make the moat of this GOLDEN opportunity.

  10. Racer (@racer) said on 3rd November 2012, 20:21

    I can’t help but wonder if they did this to try and spice up the championship fight…

  11. dot_com (@dot_com) said on 3rd November 2012, 20:22

    How ironic that at this particular track, Vettel will probably find himslef tucked up behind a midfield car, unable to overtake, while Alonso is way up the field collecting points toward his championship. I love F1!

  12. Atticus (@atticus-2) said on 3rd November 2012, 20:23

    Probably this was already brought up, but what I don’t understand is how they realised the fuel sensor error. The only way this ‘gate’ makes sense is if the team realised the problem right at Turn 18. Otherwise, they should have stopped him earlier.

    And then there is the Vettel interview in which he was told to get back to the pits as soon as possible, which is a rather strange order even if one suspects the sensors are not right.

    Excuse me, if I misunderstood something.

  13. After reading the steward’s decision that it was force majeur and Horner’s comments, this sounds more and more like a fuel leak (though wouldn’t the car have ignited then?) or something else along those technical lines, rather than human error as it was with McLaren in Barcelona.

    I’m a bit out of it this weekend to figure out the time difference, but what are the odds Red Bull has to break curfew in order to replace whatever failing part?

    • John H (@john-h) said on 3rd November 2012, 20:53

      Indeed. My guess is a fuel leak into another part of the car, presumably not somewhere too hot otherwise as you say there would have been flames.

    • Chemakal said on 3rd November 2012, 22:13

      Possibly. Would that not have affected the cars performance in the previuos qualifying lap? Always could have happened during cool down lap…

  14. Eddie (@wackyracer) said on 3rd November 2012, 20:56


  15. This is fair and should make an interesting race tomorrow

  16. Alex Lewis (@lewis465151) said on 3rd November 2012, 21:19

    This is good news for Alonso and Ferrari fans! But bad news for Vettel Fans. As proved from Alonso in 2010, this track is hard to overtake. So Vettel will just have to hope for other cars to have DNFs if he has a chance for the points.

    • Kart King said on 3rd November 2012, 21:32

      Well Red Bull are changing the gearing ratios so he will have a lot of top end on the long straight and there is one difference between 2010 and 2012, DRS

      • Neel Jani (@neelv27) said on 3rd November 2012, 21:35

        and even KERS

      • Chemakal said on 3rd November 2012, 21:59

        So SV wont have downforce and traction for the slow curves, RBs strong points

        • JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 3rd November 2012, 23:36

          It’s damage limitation. The Red Bull is a very fast car in clear air – but that’s no use if you start at the back and can’t overtake. I guess they will make some changes which make it slightly slower over the course of a clean lap, but better at overtaking (i.e. top speed).

  17. Chemakal said on 3rd November 2012, 21:56

    The 2 biggest team errors in F1 history (if SV does not win the title) take place in the same circuit, Abu Dahbi.
    Ferrari 2012, RedBull 2012
    Come on Fer!

  18. I thought regulations state that gear ratio can not be changed post qualifying .
    Does this not stand even if a gear box change is undertaken.

  19. said on 3rd November 2012, 22:21

    could they not somehow use kers an a constant slow speed to get them back and than have VERRY tight fule margins

  20. Davey Jones said on 3rd November 2012, 22:29

    Did Vettel hit the wall during qualifying? Maybe the fuel thing is a bunch of creative bs so that they can quietly change the gear box.

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