Nico Hülkenberg will start the Spanish Grand Prix from the pit lane on Sunday after his Renault F1 Team changed the specification of front wing on the German’s R.S.19 during Qualifying on Saturday.
Hülkenberg had been set to start sixteenth on Sunday after a disappointing display during Qualifying at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, which included an incident that saw him break his front wing against the turn four barriers during his first run in Q1.
The German believed initially that the same specification of wing was attached to his car for his second run in Q1, but the FIA have handed him the pit lane start after it was found not to be the same by the scrutineers at the Spanish circuit.
“The Stewards reviewed the evidence from the Technical Delegate and sought clarification from the Team Sporting Director,” said the FIA statement. “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. Accordingly, the Stewards determine that the competitor is required to start the race from the pit lane.”
Hülkenberg has not been the only driver to be hit with a penalty, with Alfa Romeo Racing’s Antonio Giovinazzi being given a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change, although the Italian is set to start in the exact same position as he qualified – eighteenth – as Williams Racing’s George Russell already has a five place penalty himself for another gearbox change.
The driver to primarily profit from these penalties is Robert Kubica, who initially qualified twentieth and last on Saturday but will now start seventeenth on the grid in the second Williams.