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Abu Dhabi GP: FIA excludes Sebastian Vettel from qualifying after fuel issue

By Berthold Bouman

Sebastian Vettel has been excluded from qualifying after the current World Champion parked his Red Bull under the walkway of the Yas Hotel, earlier today Vettel maintained he didn’t know why his team had ordered him to stop after the chequered flag had been waved. “I don’t know why I had to stop,” he said. “It was probably some problem but it shouldn’t be something major.”

Vettel has to start from the back of the grid

To Sky Sports he said, “We’ve got an issue and Renault asked us to stop the car and that’s what we did. Until I get more info I can’t really say much more. It could be one of many, many things,” thus suggesting it was an engine or KERS related issue.

Regulations say a car must return to the pit lane under its own power, and there must be sufficient fuel in the car left (one litre) for the FIA Stewards to take a sample, but the FIA Stewards said the was not sufficient fuel in the car to do so. Therefore Vettel was excluded from qualifying and will have to start the race from the back of the grid, he originally qualified in third place. A document released by the FIA stated:

“The Stewards received a report from the Race Director that car 1 failed to return to the pits under its own power as required under Article 6.6.2 of the FIA Formula One Technical Regulations. 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.”

Article 6.6.2 of the Technical regulations states:

Competitors must ensure that a one litre sample of fuel may be taken from the car at any time during the Event.

Except in cases of force majeure (accepted as such by the stewards of the meeting), if a sample of fuel is required after a practice session the car concerned must have first been driven back to the pits under its own power.”

This is of course a big blow for Vettel and Red Bull’s championship aspirations, as his main rival Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso will move up one place on the grid and will start tomorrow’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from sixth spot and will now have ample opportunity to make up his 13 points deficit to leader Vettel.


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