Several drivers have felt the wrath of the FIA this weekend during the Japanese Grand Prix qualifying session. The afternoon was hectic and saw many accidents as drivers skated over gravel traps and contacted barriers. With several red flags and many more yellow flags, the stewards were having a field day.
The first penalty of the day went to Vitantonio Liuzzi, the Italian taking an unscheduled gear box change prior to qualifying and therefore accepting a five-grid slot demotion. As it turned out, Liuzzi could only manage last-place anyway, his only consolation being the non-active participant, Mark Webber. The Red Bull pilot was unable to take part in the running after damaging his car earlier in the day. Webber will start tomorrow’s race from the pitlane, therefore leaving Liuzzi at the back of the grid.
And for infringing the rule which states drivers must lift sufficiently when the yellow flags are waving, Fernando Alonso, Adrian Sutil, Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button have all been reprimanded. Sebastien Buemi has landed himself in hot water as well for driving back to the pitlane with a damaged car. Each has been awarded a demotion of five grid slots, meaning a change to the order following qualifying.
- Vitantonio Liuzzi qualified 19th and remains 19th.
- Fernando Alonso qualified 12th but will start 17th.
- Sebastien Buemi qualified 10th but will start 15th.
- Jenson Button qualified 7th but will start 12th.
- Rubens Barrichello qualified 5th but will start 10th.
- Adrian Sutil qualified 4th but will start 9th.
This promotes Nick Heidfeld to fourth, Kimi Raikkonen to fifth and Heikki Kovalainen to sixth. Nico Rosberg and Robert Kubica also get promoted up the order. A grid will follow later today.