Sebastian Vettel, who provisionally qualified in third position on the grid for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, has been excluded from qualifying. The German driver will now start the race tomorrow from the back of the grid.
Vettel stopped on track after his qualifying lap, following an order from his team. Although race stewards agreed that his actions were acceptable under the rules of force majeure, the post-session scrutineering report revealed that an insufficient amount of fuel remained in the car for sampling.
Stewards scrutinised the telemetry from his car and allowed Red Bull Racing to state their case. However Vettel was deemed to have infringed article 6.6.2 of the 2012 technical regulations which states that “Competitors must ensure that a one litre sample of fuel may be taken from the car at any time during the event. Except in cases of force majeure (accepted as such by the stewards of the meeting), if a sample of fuel is required after a practice session the car concerned must have first been driven back to the pits under its own power.”
It is not the first time this season that a driver has been excluded from qualifying thanks to fuel issues. In Barcelona, Lewis Hamilton took provisional pole only to have to start the race from the back of the grid after a fuelling mistake saw him unable to complete his in lap and therefore not have enough fuel for the sampling. Despite starting last, Hamilton battled his way to eighth position.