Kimi Raikkonen has been excluded from qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix following a front floor deflection test failure.
Representatives of his Lotus team were summoned to see the race stewards in Abu Dhabi after it was found that Raikkonen’s car did not conform to the regulations. The left side of the floor was found to deflect more than the permitted 5mm vertically when the testing load was applied to it.
Investigations by Lotus found that the issue had been caused by a broken floor due to curb damage, but the stewards did not accept the explanation. He has therefore been excluded from qualifying but will be allowed to start from the back of the grid.
Revised Abu Dhabi Grand Prix qualifying results:Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m39.957s 2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m40.075s +0.118s 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m40.419s +0.462s 4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m40.501s +0.544s 5. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m40.576s +0.619s 6. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m40.997s +1.040s 7. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m41.015s +1.058s 8. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m41.068s +1.111s 9. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m41.111s +1.154sQ2 cut-off time: 1m40.989s Gap **10. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m41.093s +0.620s11. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m41.133s +0.660s12. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m41.200s +0.727s13. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m41.279s +0.806s14. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m41.395s +0.922s15. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m41.447s +0.974sQ1 cut-off time: 1m41.884s Gap *16. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m41.999s +1.306s17. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m42.051s +1.358s18. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m43.252s +2.559s19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m43.398s +2.705s20. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m43.528s +2.835s21. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m44.198s +3.505s22. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m40.542s +0.585s***107% time: 1m47.741s* Gap to quickest in Q1** Gap to quickest in Q2*** Excluded post-session
AUTOSPORT understands that the stewards did not accept the explanation because Romain Grosjean’s car had suffered a similar problem in Hungary earlier this year, when he escaped a penalty after hitting a kerb.
While a one-off event like that could be put down to misfortune, the stewards felt that modifications should have been made to the car to ensure that there was no repeat event.
Raikkonen’s penalty means that he will not be able to take up his best grid slot since the German Grand Prix in July, having qualified fifth.
For the Abu Dhabi weekend Raikkonen has reverted to the shorter wheelbase version of the E21 after feeling that the longer version did not suit his driving style.
“We wanted to do it in previous races already but some races we could not,” said the Finn. “I was told it was maybe an area where I can get the car like I want, so it has been OK.
“I think it doesn’t need to be a big change, but if you get the front end as I like it, then I can drive normally and everything comes more to like it should be. At least here today was not too bad.”