An unfortunate Nick Heidfeld will start his BMW from the pit lane and therefore the back of the field in Singapore on Sunday evening after his car was found to be underweight. With the knowledge of the penalty, the team has also fitted a new gearbox and engine to the F1.09.
Heidfeld, who had qualified an excellent seventh in his heavily-updated F1.09, was relegated after post-qualifying inspections found the car to be under the minimum required weight and therefore outside regulations.
"When Nick Heidfeld’s car was weighed after qualifying we found out we were slightly under the minimum weight," a team spokesperson has said. "We have been investigating this and have found that the wrong ballast weights were fitted to the car.
"We have reported our findings to the FIA. As a consequence Nick will start the Singapore Grand Prix from the pitlane. As we found ourselves in this situation, the team also decided to change both the engine and gearbox."
The usual procedure for an underweight car is immediate disqualification from the event, but given that the weight issue was not picked up during qualifying and the team admitting the error to the FIA stewards, he has managed to avoid this sanction.
Heidfeld had previously been disqualified from the 2000 European GP, when his Prost Peugeot was found to be underweight after he had qualified a sterling 14th.
The team will also use the opportunity to change his engine and gearbox ratios. Unless there are several safety car interventions, he is unlikely to be able to make any headway during the race.
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