Indian pilot Karun Chandhok and Virgin Racing team’s drivers Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi were on Saturday handed five place grid penalties for Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix.
Chandhok of the Hispania Racing team was penalised for changing his gearbox while the Virgin men were sanctioned because they failed to tell the organisers about their chosen gear ratios.
On a day of dramatic announcements, in-form German Sebastian Vettel, who was fastest for Red Bull in final practice, was also called to face the stewards for an infringement. In a statement, the ruling body, the International Motoring Federation (FIA) said Virgin were penalised because “they failed to inform governing body the FIA which gear ratios they were intending to fit within the permitted two-hour time limit from the end of Friday practice.” The Virgin team’s failure was a breach of the technical regulations. As a result, the German and the Brazilian were handed penalties as outlined in a statement issued on Saturday morning at the Circuit de Catalunya. Five other drivers were also summoned to see the stewards after Saturday morning’s final free practice session because they had set a fastest lap time under yellow flags. They were German Nico Rosberg of Mercedes, Spaniard Jaime Alguersuari and his Toro Rosso team-mate Swiss Sebastien Buemi, German Nico Hulkenberg of Williams and Vettel. No announcements on any penalties had been made before the teams began their final preparations for Saturday’s qualifying session in which Vettel was hot favourite to take pole.