Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Yas Marina, 2012

Vettel sent to back of grid for qualifying infringement

2012 Abu Dhabi Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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”

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  1. Not a Vettel fan, but I am calling BS………

  2. Can’t remember where I read it but the reason Red Bull couldn’t provide the 1 ltr was that it has to come out of the car without removing any body work. Horner was convinced there was enough in the car but the couldn’t get it without going into the fuel cell. The sample has to come out the same way the fuel goes in.

    1. It’s on autosport under “Red Bull says Vettel’s car had enough fuel”

    2. And it gets worse (maybe…) Rule 6.6.1 says “Competitors must provide a means of removing all fuel from the car” and here’s Horner saying there’s still some left and he doesn’t know how to get it out without Renault taking the fuel cell to pieces.

      So Horner is basically saying his car doesn’t comply with the technical regulations, ergo it’s illegal, ergo RBR shouldn’t be allowed to race? Oh well…

      1. For all we know, the reason why they cannot get it out was connected to the failure in the car that had him stop though. A fuel leak would do that, or a damaged pump, to name a few.

        1. Reminds me of bar in 2005. Thee was a secret tank in the car to increase apparent car weight. If rbr havea tank they claim cannot be accessed and drained or sampled in the normal way then their minimun weight compliance must be in question.

  3. So I guess E.J was wrong then…

  4. Well, the 1L minimum fuel requirement has claimed another victim. We wish things like this wouldn’t affect Championships, but rules are rules. And they will remain so until the FIA and the teams agree to change them.

    The intent of these fuelling rules, I believe, is to ensure there aren’t any games played with the fuel. The FIA doesn’t need 1L to do their analysis, but that’s a nice round number. Should it be 100ml, maybe or maybe not. We obviously don’t want cars regularly running out of fuel before they reach the pitlane after qualifying or finishing a race. Is a better solution to have a smaller minimum fuel requirement? I’m not sure that necessarily changes anything. Somebody will eventually run afoul of a newer limit.

    The minimum car weight rules will catch out anyone running light.

    But it should be noted (as it has in several places), that violations of the Technical Regulations require disqualification or exclusion. The Stewards can’t invent new “more appropriate for the circumstances penalties”. They don’t have the flexibility available the Sporting Regulations provide. If they were going to be really draconian, Hamilton and Vettel could both have been excluded from the race for these breaches.

    What I don’t understand is where Vettel’s fuel went. I find it hard to believe that RBR short fuelled Vettel. But maybe it was a screwup. Maybe something odd was happening that caused the engine to consume more fuel. And I don’t see how 1L of fuel can be in the car but unobtainable without removing bodywork. Why now all of a sudden is this a problem. Horner’s comments on this have been a bit confusing. And I’d like to know the details on what the mechanical failure was that the FIA accepted as Force Majeure.

    RBR will no doubt make the most of this setback. I believe they can use a 9th engine without incurring a meaningful penalty, as well as deploy a fresh gearbox.

    In any event, this provides us with a great new drama for what is usually a processional race. I’m happy about that. I’d love to see Vettel and Alonso battling to the final corner of the last lap at Interlagos.

  5. If the car is pulled from parc ferme they can now work on the brakes and setup right? This might have been part of the tactics to work the car now rather than on the grid? Just asking.

  6. Keith, can Vettel change gear ratios for tomorrows race?

  7. although im no fan of red bull and less of a golden child fan but i have to say even though Red Bull took a punt and failed, I admire the way they could have settled for a 2nd-4th for vettel but pushed the envelope and tried to cut it fine. Yes it backfired and was in hindsight unnecessary but going for it is bold, and look what its potentially done for the championship xD

  8. Bit of a shocker really! It’s not often Red Bull make a mistake. I just hope they’ve ironed out the other bugs so he can race properly.

    1. It’s shocking that they under-fuelled him. But when he stopped most of us knew what the reason was, and the penalty that was forthcoming.
      What I find more shocking is how far Redbull is willing to go with their lies, just to avoid the penalty.

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