Red Bull says it is baffled as to the nature of the fuel cell problem on Sebastian Vettel's car that resulted in him getting thrown out of qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Vettel will start from the pitlane at the Yas Marina circuit on Sunday after he was disqualified from his third place slot on the grid for not having enough fuel in his car for a mandatory one-litre fuel sample to be taken.
With the team and Renault both convinced there was enough fuel in the car to provide the sample - but the limits of the regulations preventing it being extracted – the FIA had no choice but to exclude Vettel from the results.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said on Saturday night that his outfit and Renault had no immediate answers for what had gone wrong, which is why Vettel's car was being pulled from parc ferme so a full investigation could be undertaken.
"It is frustrating. It's annoying. It is one of those things," explained Horner, whose team had successfully proven that there was a 'force majeure' reason for stopping Vettel after his qualifying effort.
"It is an issue that was reported on the in-lap. The instruction from Renault was clear. They wanted us to stop the engine immediately due to an issue that they saw within the fuel cell. We did that.
"The FIA accepted that, they accepted the technical issue that Renault reported to us, and unfortunately as the regulations dictate there has to be a one litre fuel sample to be able to taken from the car, and it is only 850ml that has been extracted.
"Renault are convinced that the rest of the fuel is in the tank but we have taken the car out of parc ferme tonight to further investigate."
He added: "It is a frustrating scenario and we need to get into the fuel cell to understand what the issue is. We are working with Renault on it, and they dictate the amount of fuel that goes into the car.
"They are happy with the margins, they are happy with the amount of fuel that should be in the car but for whatever reason we have had this issue on the slow down lap."
Vettel's car being taken out of parc ferme means he will now start from the pitlane, which is a blow to his hopes of further extending his points advantage over Fernando Alonso in the championship table.
Horner said, however, that there were still opportunities for Vettel to limit the damage of what has happened.
When asked what impact he believed the result would have on the title battle he said: "It is difficult to say.
"There is a long race ahead of us and there is an opportunity, so we will go into the race, we will attack the race and I am sure Sebastian will demonstrate to everybody why he is a great racer.
"He has come from the back and produced great races before and I have no doubt he can do it again. There is no reason why Sebastian cannot salvage something."
- Motor Racing
- Sports & Recreation
- Sebastian Vettel
- Christian Horner