Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Sochi Autodrom, 2014

Vettel missing qualifying “not ideal for everyone”

2014 United states Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Sochi Autodrom, 2014Daniel Ricciardo admits it would be “not ideal for everyone” if his team mate cannot participate in qualifying, but says it’s a consequence of the rules.

As Sebastian Vettel is widely expected to take a complete sixth power unit this weekend, he will be required to start from the pits.

Ricciardo explained that would leave Red Bull with nothing to be gained from running Vettel’s car in qualifying.

“I don’t think anything’s one hundred percent yet,” said Ricciardo, “but if you’ve got to race, and even if he qualifies on pole he’s still got to start from pit lane, so it’s like why would you put miles on the engine?”

“So that’s as I said it’s not one hundred percent, but obviously that’s the thoughts behind everything.”

“It’s not ideal, for him and for everyone, the fans, if that is the case,” Riccairdo added. “You want to be out there, you want to drive for yourself and you want to give the fans what they came for.”

“We’ll see what happens, but that’s the rules and the regs for this year and unfortunately that’s a negative from it if that is the case.”

Meanwhile McLaren have confirmed they will change Jenson Button’s gearbox this weekend, meaning he will take a five-place grid penalty.

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Keith Collantine
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27 comments on “Vettel missing qualifying “not ideal for everyone””

  1. So if he doesn’t qualify and therefor starting from the pit-lane, doesn’t that mean that the penalty will roll over to next weekend since the penalty can’t be applied?

    1. Starting from the Pit Lane *is* the penalty.

      1. I thought that it was a 10 place grid penalty and that if you don’t qualify well enough to drop ten places, the remainder rolls over to the next weekend. That’s at least what they did when Crashtor had to use a sixth engine in Japan.

        Here’s a link –

        1. If you change the entire Power Unit, you need to start from the Pit Lane. If you change one of the 6 components of the Power Unit (e.g. the Internal Combustion Engine like Maldonado did) then you suffer a 10 place grid penalty.
          Vettal wants a new Power Unit, so he needs to start from the Pit Lane.

    2. @repete86 No, because Vettel isn’t going to be given a grip drop, he’ll be starting from the pit lane. See here:

  2. Another slow clap for the FIA rules..

  3. The rule is in the Sporting Regulations, section 28.4 (c). The penalty for changing the entire power unit is starting from the pit lane, whereas for changing a single component is 5 or 10 grid places depending on first or second time the component is changed.
    When I commented in the Round-Up yesterday, I was unaware of this particular penalty — I had assumed that the penalty was the sum of several grid position losses, leading to being last on the grid.
    The counter-argument to not participating in qualifying is the risk of being excluded by the stewards based on rule 36.1. Saving mileage surely does not qualify as “exceptional circumstances”, but I haven’t found a specific definition of “exceptional circumstances”.
    Based on the current rules, Vettel should put in a timed lap during the first part of qualifying. The rule makers can argue about changing the rules to prevent similar ridiculousness next year. Of course, if he does skip qualifying, the stewards will claim that having only 17 cars for the race is “exceptional circumstances”.

    1. What about the qualifying format? Will it be adjusted for 18 cars? Or will we basically have two part qualifying with an 18 minute warm-up so that Maldonado can start last?

      1. @mateuss – It’s been linked/discussed here and elsewhere that they may well go to a ‘drop 4 cars per session’ for Q1 and Q2 to deal with the attrition.

        1. with Vettel not taking part, it is going to be 3 and 4 – most likely the Saubers and Maldonado in Q1.

          I guess they can directly start with Q2 with the rest of the cars.

  4. Although I’m not a Vettel fan, it’ll provide some nice action to see how far he can carve his way through the field!

  5. I don’t think it’s a bad rule, if we weren’t already missing four cars we’d probably think it was exciting to see a top car fight from the back. A pit lane start for a complete new power unit is a reasonable penalty.

    1. @george – I disagree. I think the old 10 place penalty is enough and I think the current penalty only really hurts the midfield. Here’s my rationale:

      For the back of the field, both systems’ penalties are pointless because they are already at the back. It is just kicking them unnecessarily.

      For the top teams, they can largely overcome both penalties. Mercedes is an outlier, but they can come from the back to win as has been proven. But RBR this year, and other teams in recent years have proven that they can podium/win from 13th and get podium/pts from the back.

      For the midfield, however, they are generally closer together, have less downforce and less power and cannot get past each other quite as easily. So 18th place instead of 8th or 21st instead of 11th (in a 22-24 car field) is already a big problem. Moving them to the back just penalizes them more harshly when the are already well behind the front runners.

  6. So we have a possible 17 cars for Sat qualifying….with various grid penalties for other drivers for the race as well….I personally understand why Seb would start from the pit lane, and think all of us would be doing the same in his position…bu I think in a bid to bring credibility to the race, assuming 18 cars. would be 5 cars out of each qually 1 and 2..leaving top 8 to fight for pole….

  7. Will anybody explain me, please, what will happen with 10 position penalty for the engine change if Fetter will miss qualification?

    1. Vettel, of course

    2. @koulikoff Vettel is expected to miss qualifying because he will change his entire power unit and incur the penalty for that which is a pit lane start, not a grid drop.

      1. Thank you, but why the penalty is not grid drop?

        1. Because it’s the entire power unit. Changing one of the pieces of it incurs the grid drop. Changing the entire thing means starting from the pits.

          1. It sure would be nice if they had written the rule such that the penalty for replacing the entire power unit was the greater of a 10-place grid drop or starting from the pits. That way if the guy who is replacing the entire power unit chooses not to qualify, he would face the 10-place grid drop which should carry over to the next race.

  8. Doesn’t he have to turn a quali lap to hit the %107 rule ?

    1. I wouldn’t have thought so, many drivers have either broken down or crashed before completing a lap in Q1 before – they were allowed on the grid on the basis of their practice times justifying there is enough speed in the car to be within the 107% time if it had taken part in qualifying. I suppose Vettel will do something in one of the FP sessions and the stewards will use those times as a marker to let him race without qualifying.

  9. Clever move from RBR. Take the grid penalty where there are only 18 cars, and overtaking is easy. He’ll be up to the points position in no time.

    1. To be fair they’ve been planning this for a while, before we knew that Caterham and Marussia would miss the race (then again, perhaps paddock insiders already suspected that would happen)

    2. We’renot that dumb, and we’re not that smart

      -Coca Cola

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