Raikkonen disqualified and sent to back of Abu Dhabi grid after qualifying
3 November, 2013
Kimi Raikkonen was sent to the back of the grid at the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix on Saturday after his Lotus failed a post-qualifying inspection.
Stewards said in a statement that the Finn, who had qualified fifth at Yas Marina and is third in a Championship already won by Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, was excluded from the results after failing a front floor deflection test.
“The stewards heard the explanation of the team that the relevant part broke upon contact with a kerb,” the statement said.
“However the stewards did not accept that the incident referred to constituted an accident or excused failing the relevant test.”
The car of Raikkonen’s French team mate Romain Grosjean failed a similar test at the Hungarian Grand Prix in July but on that occasion he escaped punishment after Lotus also argued it had been damaged by a kerb.
“The team respects the Stewards’ decision and will do everything in its power to ensure Kimi and the team gets the best result possible after starting from the back of the grid in The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix,” said team principal, Eric Boullier. “No advantage was sought or gained in the incident and the relevant part has been replaced.
“We’ve seen what Kimi can do to work through the field when he needs to and we are going all out for the strongest result possible.”
Ferrari-bound Raikkonen has had a difficult weekend, hitting the headlines on Friday when he told reporters that Lotus had not paid any of his wages this season and he had considered not turning up for Sunday’s race.
The Finn’s punishment will be a boost for his future Ferrari team mate Fernando Alonso, who now moves up a place to 10th on the grid, and a blow for Lotus who are challenging Mercedes and Ferrari for second place in the Constructors’ Championship. (Reuters)
Subbed by AJN.