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F1 tweaks quali due to fewer cars

2014-10-31 08:17

VETTEL HEADED FOR POOR START IN AUSTIN: Sebastian Vettel will start the 2014 US grand prix from the pits lane as he receives a penalty for using an unscheduled sixth engine in 2014. Image: AFP/ Dimitar Dilkoff

ALAN BALDWIN

AUSTIN, Texas - Formula 1 has had to modify its qualifying (Nov 1) format because financial problems have ruled out the Caterham and Marussia teams for the 2014 US GP scheduled for Sunday (Nov 2) while Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel is set to be sidelined by an engine penalty.

Stewards said in a statement on Thursday (Oct 30) that the slowest four cars in the first session would play no further part in qualifying with the next-slowest four also dropping out in the second phase.

That will still leave 10 drivers racing for pole in the final phase.

CATERHAM, MARUSSIA WOES

Previously the slowest six dropped out in each of the first two sessions with the Caterham and Marussia cars usually in the initial group.

Caterham and Marussia are both under financial administration and seeking new ownership to survive.

With only nine teams now competing, F1 will have fewer cars in qualifying than at any time since 2005.

Qualifying is likely to see only 17 cars on track, with four-times F1 champion Vettel facing a pits-lane start because he is likely to exceed the season's allocation of five 'power units'. The driver said: "As far as I know, the plan is to use the opportunity to change, to have a sixth component of all the various components.

"For that, as far as the regulations are concerned, we have to start from the pits lane."

Without having to think about qualifying, Vettel can use practice to focus entirely on the race set-up.

Vettel's team mate Daniel Ricciardo commented: "If he qualifies on pole he still has to start from the pits lane...why would you put miles on the engine?"

"It's not ideal for him, for everybody, for the fans... you want to be out there, you want to drive. You want to give the fans what they came for."

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 US GP weekend.

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