Red Bull drivers excluded from qualifying in Abu Dhabi

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ABU DHABI – Red Bull has been excluded from qualifying for tomorrow’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after its cars were found to be in breach of the technical regulations.

Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel qualified in fifth and sixth place respectively at the Yas Marina Circuit on Saturday, but were called before the stewards after the FIA technical delegate deemed the front wing on their cars to be illegal.

The statement from FIA technical delegate, Jo Bauer, reads as follows:

“When checking the front wing of car numbers #1 and #3, it was found that the front wing flags were designed to flex under aerodynamic load.

“In my opinion, this is not in compliance with article 3.15 of the Formula 1 technical regulations. Therefore, I am referring this matter to the stewards for their consideration.”

At 21:26 local time, the stewards confirmed that Ricciardo and Vettel had been excluded.

“The stewards, having received a report from the technical delegate, heard from team representatives, have considered the following matter, determine a breach of the regulations has been committed by the competitor named.”

For both Vettel and Ricciardo, the stewards said that their cars “did not comply with article 3.15 (aerodynamic influence)” of the regulations.

However, “the competitor is allowed to start the race from the back of the grid,” as per the statement issued.

Red Bull has responded to the ruling with the following statement:

“Following the decision of the stewards regarding the front wings on both our cars (Car 1 and Car 3), we are disappointed that we have been singled out for a front wing deflection test when it is clear that other teams are interpreting the rules in a similar fashion.

“The team accepts the decision of the stewards and will start the race from the back of the grid.”

As a change will need to be made to the front wing to bring the cars in line with the technical regulations, a pit lane start is more likely for both Ricciardo and Vettel.

Robert Wickens shares more positive strides toward recovery in new video

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Robert Wickens has made massive steps since sustaining a spinal cord injury in an Aug. 19, 2018 crash at Pocono Raceway.

Since the accident, Wickens publicly has shared his recovery, often uploading videos of his physical rehabilitation on Twitter.

In his most recent update on Wednesday, Wickens shared a video of him walking on a treadmill. Fellow NTT IndyCar Series competitor Tony Kannan, who competes in triathlons during his spare time, also was visible running on the treadmill behind Wickens.

“When I am @TonyKannan [sic] age, I hope to run as fast as him…” Wickens tweeted. “Today was a good day!”

Wickens, who will turn 31 on March 13, first made his return to the IndyCar paddock in last year’s season opener in St. Petersburg. Since then, he’s made a return to the driver’s seat, piloting a specialized Acura NSX prior to the start of last year’s IndyCar race in his hometown of Toronto.

In September, Wickens fulfilled a vow to his wife Karli, by standing with her during their wedding. The new husband and wife also danced together during their reception.

Should Wickens fully recover to resume racing, Arrow McLaren SP co-owner Sam Schmidt has stated that the team’s No. 6 entry will be available for him to drive. Wickens continues to remain as a “driver coach and consultant” for the team.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter