Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg is set to receive a five-grid place penalty for the Russian Grand Prix for changing the gearbox on his VJM07 contender.

Formula 1’s regulations demand that drivers must use their gearbox for six consecutive rounds, but the German – who finished twelfth-fastest on Friday’s combined practice timesheets in Russia – has made the swap in advance.

“The above driver (Hülkenberg) did finish the last race in Suzuka and this gearbox change was before the six consecutive events expired. Therefore, it is not in compliance with Article 28.6a of the 2014 Formula One sporting regulations,” read a note from FIA Formula One Technical Delegate, Jo Bauer, on Friday evening after second practice.

Hülkenberg finished and was classified in eighth place on countback at last weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka, despite his Force India rolling to a stop at the end of the pit lane when the race was red flagged following the accident of Jules Bianchi.

Image via XPB Images

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Michael Terminello

Journalist at MotorsportM8