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What if nobody finishes the Oz GP?

2014-03-13 11:31

ALL SMILES FOR NOW... Daniel Ricciardo will have his Red Bull debut at the 2014 Australian GP in Melbourne on March 16. Image: AP

MELBOURNE, Australia - When asked how many cars he thinks will finish Sunday's (March 16) 2014 Formula 1 season-opener in Australia, Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo  grinned and answered: "No one. We're all going to be running across the line!"

Sadly, he was only half-joking...

Indeed, after the calamitous tests in Spain and Bahrain, Germany's Auto Motor und Sport has asked International Automobile Federation (FIA) director Charlie Whiting what will happen if not a single car reaches the chequered flag in Melbourne.


Whiting said: "The winner will be the driver who failed last. So it could be that the winner is actually not the last survivor."

Another bizarre possibility was that F1 might struggle to gather half a grid at Albert Park.

If the "107% rule" had applied at the final test in Bahrain, many cars, notably Red Bull's four-times champion Sebastian Vettel, would not have qualified to race.

The Associated Press pointed out that stewards could overlook that rule in some cases and Whiting confirmed that cases in Australia were likely to be looked at "very sympathetically".

What is clear is that Vettel will struggle at Albert Park, even though boxes upon boxes of new parts for the RB10 have been shipped to be fitted ahead of practice on Friday (March 14).

Vettel said: "We are not in the best position for this race but it's a different story when you talk about the championship."

Even the overwhelming favourite, Mercedes, is expecting the unexpected.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton commented: "All the media are talking us up. Favourite driver, favourite team. I just don't know what's going to happen this weekend."

What do you think of the new F1 rules for 2014? Do you have any suggestions for the FIA? Email us and we'll publish your thoughts on Wheels24.

Stay with Wheels24 for the first race of the 2014 F1 season in Melbourne.

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