The FIA has confirmed that Red Bull Racing drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel will in fact start from the pit lane for Sunday evening’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after being forced to change their front wings.
The pair was excluded from the final qualifying results – after originally qualifying fifth- and sixth-fastest respectively – when the front wing flaps on their RB10s were deemed to be illegal, with the stewards agreeing with the opinion of FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer that they flexed excessively.
The pair had originally been sent to the back of the grid, but in order to make the cars conform to being legal, the team had no choice but to break parc fermé conditions and change the front wings. Under the series’ Sporting Regulations, that automatically warrants a pit lane start.
“Although the team carried out work with the approval of the Technical Delegate, parts have been replaced on the cars that are different to those originally used,” a statement from Red Bull Racing read, explaining the further penalty of a pit lane start.
The race at Yas Marina will be the last for Sebastian Vettel before he joins Ferrari as Kimi Räikkönen’s teammate next year.
Meanwhile, Romain Grosjean will also be making an early tour through the pit lane, with the Frenchman being forced to serve a drive-through penalty in the first three laps of the race.
The Lotus driver was hit with a multitude of grid penalties as a result of a complex 20-place grid drop for changing three separate power unit elements ahead of this weekend’s race.
Grosjean qualified 16th-fastest – originally ahead of just four cars – leaving him with 16 grid places still to drop. As this is the final race of the season and grid penalties can only be carried for consecutive races in a single season, the stewards decreed that Grosjean will additionally have to take a drive-through penalty to make up for the oustanding grid places.
Image via XPB Images