Spanish Grand Prix – Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg has been ordered to start Sunday’s race at Catalunya from the pitlane, after using two different front wings in qualifying.
Hulkenberg started Q1 on Saturday with one of Renault’s updated specification front wings for this weekend but crashed within minutes of the start of the session. The front end collision with the barriers caused frontal damage but Hulkenberg was able to extricate himself and get back to the pits.
He re-emerged with five minutes remaining in the session and put in another flying lap but wasn’t able to go quickly enough to get through into Q2.
Provisionally classified in P16, Hulkenberg was then investigated by the race stewards as the Technical Delegate Jo Bauer felt that the team had used two different specification front wings during qualifying, while under parc ferme conditions.
Confirmation came through on Sunday morning that this was the case, and Hulkenberg has thus been ordered to start from the pitlane: “The Stewards reviewed the evidence from the Technical Delegate and sought clarification from the Team Sporting Director. The Sporting Director advised that the Team’s opinion was that the front wing main plane was “similar” to the one it replaced however the Team was willing to accept the view of the FIA Technical Delegate that the front wing is of a different specification from the one used during qualifying.”
Hulkenberg owned up to his mistake after qualifying, acknowledging that he deserved to pay for the crash: “I’m quite disappointed with myself about that. I made a mistake on the first run, touched the wall slightly and we had to change the front wing and we also suffered bargeboard damage. If you make mistakes, you pay for them. We could have made Q2 at a minimum today. We’re lacking a bit of pace and harmony in the car at the moment. We’ll give it our best tomorrow and aim for a better result.”