Maldonado excluded from qualifying for fuel breach

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Pastor Maldonado has been excluded from qualifying for the British Grand Prix after the stewards deemed that there was an insufficient amount of fuel left in his Lotus at the end of the session.

The regulations state that each car must be able to provide a one litre fuel sample at the end of qualifying in order to be classified, and after being investigated, the stewards have confirmed that Maldonado’s Lotus E22 did not have enough to meet this requirement.

A statement from the stewards reads:

“There was an insufficient amount of fuel to provide a one litre fuel sample and therefore this is in breach of article 6.6.2 of the FIA Formula 1 Technical Regulations.

“The competitor is, however, allowed to start the race from the back of the grid in front of any cars that failed to set a time within 107% of the fastest time in Q1.”

As a result, Maldonado will start the race from 20th position ahead of the two Caterham drivers.

The Venezuelan driver had qualified in 15th place on Saturday at Silverstone, but his car ground to a halt at the end of the session when it ran out of fuel.

“We had a lack of fuel during the second qualifying session which meant I had to stop the car out on track,” Maldonado explained. “The team are investigating to find out what happened as otherwise the car felt good and we had a strong opportunity to be in the top ten.

“The pace was certainly there this morning and the car was doing what I wanted it to do. We had a good strategy through the difficult weather conditions today so naturally I’m a bit disappointed with where we ended up on the grid.”

Unfortunately for Pastor, he’ll now drop another five places behind the Ferrari and Williams drivers.

Back of the grid for the British GP

14. Valtteri Bottas Williams
15. Felipe Massa Williams
16. Fernando Alonso Ferrari
17. Max Chilton Marussia
18. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
19. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber
20. Pastor Maldonado Lotus
21. Marcus Ericsson Caterham
22. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham

Brown: Dennis would have made same decision on McLaren-Honda split

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Zak Brown believes former McLaren team boss Ron Dennis would have made the same decision to cut ties with struggling Formula 1 engine partner Honda had he still been in charge at the team in 2017.

McLaren executive director Brown helped engineer a deal for the team to split with Honda at the end of the 2017 season after three tough seasons that had seen the Japanese manufacturer offer little in the way of performance or reliability.

The decision split opinion, with McLaren spurning a significant annual financial injection from Honda in order to link up with Renault, believing its on-track fortunes had to be prioritized over its commercial interests.

In an interview with Sky Sports, Brown was asked if he believed Dennis – McLaren’s long-running team chief before stepping down at the end of 2016 – would have made the same decision to cut ties with Honda.

“I think he would have,” Brown said.

“He was here when those conversations were ongoing and I think Ron always has and always will have the best interests of McLaren in his heart.

“He is Mr. McLaren. It burns him inside as much as us not to see us winning races.”

Brown also elaborated on the decision to break off the much-lauded relationship with Honda, saying the first signs of trouble with the 2017 power unit were clear in pre-season.

After a number of attempts to try and rectify the situation, Brown and his fellow team bosses felt there was no alternative but to end the Honda deal for 2018.

“We knew we were in trouble in testing in Barcelona and we worked really hard for six months to try and find solutions that would give us confidence that we’d be much more competitive in 2018,” Brown said.

“Ultimately, after trying many different things and many different ways we felt we couldn’t get there.

“Three years is a long time in Formula 1 and so we needed to change the direction to get our team back at the top.”