The FIA Stewards’ panel has rejected the HRTF1 team’s request to be allowed to start tomorrow’s Australian Grand Prix after both of its cars failed to qualify today.
In a nearly identical situation to last year’s Australian Grand Prix, the Spanish team’s new cars had little, if any, mileage over the weekend, leading to Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan failing to post lap times within 107% of the fastest time posted in the first phase of qualifying.
De la Rosa missed the cut by 1.2 seconds, with Karthikeyan a further 0.15 seconds slower; both drivers were also investigated by the Stewards for hindering rival drivers during qualifying.
Karthikeyan blamed a malfunctioning DRS and power steering for his slow pace, while de la Rosa suffered from repeated hydraulics problems all weekend, as well as the delay of his car being built during the course of the weekend.
“The stewards having considered all relevant material decide not to allow both cars to take part in the race in accordance with Article 36.1 FIA Formula 1 Sporting Regulations,” a statement from the FIA reads.
With the Malaysian Grand Prix just one week away, the team faces an uphill struggle to have its cars running properly in time for that weekend in Sepang.
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