Karthikeyan to miss season-opening F1 Australian Grand Prix

Updated: 26 March 2011 18:13 IST

India's Narain Karthikeyan will miss Sunday's season-opening Formula One Australian Grand Prix here as his Hispania team car, which he drove without any pre-season test, failed to clear the cut-off timing in the qualifying session on Saturday.

Karthikeyan to miss season-opening F1 Australian Grand Prix

Melbourne:

India's Narain Karthikeyan will miss Sunday's season-opening Formula One Australian Grand Prix here as his Hispania team car, which he drove without any pre-season test, failed to clear the cut-off timing in the qualifying session on Saturday.


Karthikeyan and his team-mate Vitantonio Liuzzi were ruled ineligible for Sunday's race because under the re-introduced "107 per cent" rule, they were more than seven per cent slower than session winner Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull.

With the cut-off time set at 1:31.266, Liuzzi could manage only 1:32.978 and Karthikeyan had 1:34.293. Liuzzi missed the cut-off time by around 1.7 seconds while Karthikeyan was slow by over three seconds.

Hispania, which assembled their car here only without running it in pre-season tests, made an exemption request, pleading "exceptional circumstances" for the poor times but race stewards turned it down and excluded the team from Sunday's race.

Meanwhile, Force India's Paul di Resta will start 14th at the grid tomorrow, two places ahead of team-mate Adrian Sutil who spun his car at the final turn but continued to complete the race.

Sutil spun his car 360 degrees coming out of the final turn, narrowly missing a wall while disappearing in tire smoke, before regaining control and continuing his lap.

World champion Sebastian Vettel will start from pole position after a dominant performance by the Red Bull driver in today's qualifying.

Vettel had a time of 1 minute, 23.529 seconds, more than three-quarters of a second quicker than nearest rival Lewis Hamilton of McLaren.

Red Bull's Mark Webber will start from third in front of his home crowd, with Jenson Button of McLaren fourth as he attempts to win the race for a third straight year.

Fernando Alonso of Ferrari qualified fifth, 1.4 seconds behind Vettel, while teammate Felipe Massa was eighth. Mercedes' former world champion Michael Schumacher was a disappointing 11th.



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