The FIA has confirmed that Sebastian Vettel will start this weekend’s United States Grand Prix from the pit lane after changing to a sixth complete power unit for the race in Austin.
For 2014, stricter engine regulations have come into force that penalize a driver for every extra component they use on the power unit above the allocation of five.
Vettel had been expected to change to a sixth complete power unit for this weekend’s race in Austin, and the FIA confirmed that this would be the case on Friday afternoon.
“Car #1 is required to start the race from the pit lane,” a statement from the stewards reads.
“The sixth complete power unit has been used by car #1. This is in breach of article 28.4 of the FIA Formula 1 Sporting Regulations.
“The requirement to start the race from the pit lane is imposed in accordance with article 28.4c. The team notified the technical delegate of the change to the power unit elements on Monday 27th October.”
As he will start the race from the pit lane, Vettel may opt not to complete any running during qualifying tomorrow at the Circuit of The Americas so that he can extend the life of the new unit.
Had he opted to change individual components on his engine, Vettel would have been hit with a 10-place grid penalty. However, as he is overhauling the entire unit, this harsher sanction has been imposed.
Should Vettel not take part in qualifying, just three cars will be at risk of being eliminated in Q1 in Austin after the FIA confirmed that it would be tweaking the qualifying format for the session on Saturday.