Abu Dhabi GP: Kimi Raikkonen's Lotus excluded from qualifying

Kimi Raikkonen has been excluded from qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix following a front floor deflection test failure

Abu Dhabi GP: Kimi Raikkonen's Lotus excluded from qualifying

Representatives of his Lotus team were summoned to see the race stewards in Abu Dhabi after it was found that Raikkonen's car did not conform to the regulations.

The left hand side of the floor was found to deflect more than the permitted 5mm vertically when the testing load was applied to it.

Investigations by Lotus found that the issue had been caused by a broken floor due to kerb damage, but the stewards did not accept the explanation.

He has been excluded from qualifying but will be allowed to start from the back of the grid.

FIA REJECTS TEAM EXPLANATION

A statement issued by the FIA said: "The stewards heard the explanation of the team that the relevant part broke upon contact with a kerb.

"However, the stewards did not accept that the incident referred to constituted an accident, or excused failing the relevant test."

AUTOSPORT understands that the stewards did not accept the explanation, unlike when there was a similar situation with Romain Grosjean in Hungary, because it did not feel that the incident at Turn 3 where Raikkonen ran off the track and broke the floor should be considered as accidental damage.

Raikkonen's penalty means that he will not be able to take up his best grid slot since the German Grand Prix in July, having qualified fifth.

"The team respects the stewards' decision," team principal Eric Boullier said. "No advantage was sought or gained in the incident and the relevant part has been replaced.

"We've seen what Kimi can do to work through the field when he needs to and we are going all out for the strongest result possible."

For the Abu Dhabi weekend Raikkonen has reverted to the shorter wheelbase version of the E21 after feeling that the longer version did not suit his driving style.

"We wanted to do it in previous races already but some races we could not," said the Finn. "I was told it was maybe an area where I can get the car like I want, so it has been OK.

"I think it doesn't need to be a big change, but if you get the front end as I like it, then I can drive normally and everything comes more to like it should be. At least here today was not too bad."

Revised Abu Dhabi Grand Prix qualifying results: Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m39.957s 2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m40.075s +0.118s 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m40.419s +0.462s 4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m40.501s +0.544s 5. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m40.576s +0.619s 6. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m40.997s +1.040s 7. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m41.015s +1.058s 8. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m41.068s +1.111s 9. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m41.111s +1.154s Q2 cut-off time: 1m40.989s Gap ** 10. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m41.093s +0.620s 11. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m41.133s +0.660s 12. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m41.200s +0.727s 13. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m41.279s +0.806s 14. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m41.395s +0.922s 15. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m41.447s +0.974s Q1 cut-off time: 1m41.884s Gap * 16. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m41.999s +1.306s 17. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m42.051s +1.358s 18. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m43.252s +2.559s 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m43.398s +2.705s 20. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m43.528s +2.835s 21. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m44.198s +3.505s 22. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m40.542s +0.585s*** 107% time: 1m47.741s * Gap to quickest in Q1 ** Gap to quickest in Q2 *** Excluded post-session
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