The start could not have been worse for India’s Narain Karthikeyan and his Hispania Racing team as they have been barred from racing in Sunday’s season—opening Australian Grand Prix for failing to set a lap time within 107 percent in Q1.
Neither Karthikeyan nor his teammate Pedro de la Rosa passed the 107 percent qualifying time, with 1m 33.495s and 1m 33.643s respectively.
According to FIA regulations, article 36.1 states that during Qualifying session number one, any driver whose best qualifying lap exceeds 107% of the fastest time set during that session, or who fails to set a time, will not be allowed to take part in the race.
Under exceptional circumstances, however, which may include setting a suitable lap time in a free practice session, the stewards may permit the car to start the race.
HRT had made a request to the FIA to allow them to race under exceptional circumstances, but the governing body turned down the request.
“The stewards, having considered all relevant material, l decide not to allow both cars to take part in the race in accordance with article 36.1 of FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations,” FIA communicated.
Earlier, Karthikeyan also received a reprimand from FIA stewards for impeding Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.
HRT has been struggling with various car problems in the last few months as it failed the crash test, and could not test its car during the two pre—season testing in Jerez and Barcelona.
“It is a huge disappointment to not qualify for the race, no doubt about that. Some major mechanical issues took up a majority of our time - hydraulics problems in particular, which cropped up yesterday and couldn’t be eradicated today as well,” Karthikeyan said.
Karthikeyan however admitted that he expected teething problems with the car initially, but didn’t expect to be bogged down to such an extent.
“During my F1 career, I’ve always driven older—spec cars.
The Jordan I drove in 2005 was a ‘04 spec, and last year’s car was the same 2010 Dallara chassis. I had higher expectations this year considering it is a new design — I knew it wouldn’t be a walk in the park but I was quite optimistic.
“I believe these issues have shadowed the real potential of the car, but what concerns me more is the reliability. It is a huge unknown, as we haven’t done more than two consecutive flying laps, let alone a full race distance.
“We essentially need more cooling capacity, as the existing system has been unable to cope with the running temperatures and everything heats up very quickly.”
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