Grid penalties for Sainz and Hulkenberg

Nico Hulkenberg has been given a one-place grid penalty for the German Grand Prix.

Force India were found to have used a set of tyres during qualifying which they had notified the FIA would not be used following the final practice session. Teams are required to return one set of tyres before qualifying begins.

These tyres are scanned electronically to notify the FIA they will no longer be used. However one of the scanned sets was fitted to Hulkenberg’s car during qualifying in error.

Hulkenberg’s comparatively light sanction sees him moved back one place on the grid from seventh to eighth, promoting Valtteri Bottas.

Carlos Sainz meanwhile was driver was found to have held Felipe Massa up at turn two during Q2.

Sainz failed to progress beyond that stage of qualifying while Massa was eliminated.

Sainz was also given a three place grid penalty and two penalty points for the incident. The penalty drops him from 13th on the grid to 16th.

Hulkenberg picks up penalty after tyre incident

Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Shanghai International Circuit, 2016Nico Hulkenberg has been handed a three-place grid drop for Sunday’s 2016 Formula 1 Pirelli Chinese Grand Prix after his Force India team were found guilty of releasing his car from the pits in an unsafe condition during qualifying.

Hulkenberg’s machine shed its front left wheel at Turn 10 towards the end of the Q2, bringing out the red flags and preventing several drivers from improving their times.

The German finished the session in 10th place, though he could take no part in Q3 as his car had already stopped out on circuit.

Hulkenberg’s penalty drops him from 10th to 13th on the grid, promoting Williams’ Felipe Massa to 10th and the McLarens of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button to 11th and 12th respectively.

Hulkenberg tops day three of testing

Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016Nico Hulkenberg planted his Force India at the top of the timesheets at the end of the third day of pre-season testing from Barcelona.

The German led for most of the day and went fastest using the soft tyres, just 0.2s behind the fastest of the whole test so far by Sebastian Vettel on day two which was on the ultrasofts.

Romain Grosjean confirmed good pace for newcomers Haas by ending the day in second place.

After finishing top on the opening two days, there was a change of fortune for Ferrari.

Kimi Raikkonen took over the procedings from Vettel and ended up third after spending most of the morning in the pits due to to a fuel system issue.

Ferrari did get solid running in the end and crucially suffered problems in the pit-lane whereas McLaren and Renault broke down during testing.

Kevin Magnussen’s Renault stopped on the pit straight after more than 100 laps and Jenson Button’s McLaren juddered to a halt in the pit lane when smoke poured out the car.

Mercedes opted to divide the day’s running between its two drivers due to the high mileages it achieved on the opening day. Today was not quite as busy for the team as yesterday, but between them Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg amassed another 161 laps.

That equalled the tally of Carlos Sainz Jnr who had a busy day in the Toro Rosso STR11 despite suffering a breakdown at the pit exit early in the session.

Rio Haryanto made his debut for Manor but brought the red flags out when he spun into the gravel at turn five.
Team Best time Laps
Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1’23.110 99
Romain Grosjean Haas 1’25.874 82
Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’25.977 77
Kevin Magnussen Renault 1’26.014 111
Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’26.084 74
Carlos Sainz Jnr Toro Rosso 1’26.239 161
Felipe Nasr Sauber 1’26.392 115
Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’26.421 87
Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1’26.497 74
Felipe Massa Williams 1’26.712 109
Jenson Button McLaren 1’26.919 51
Rio Haryanto Manor 1’28.249 77

Force India unveil 2016 F1 car

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The Force India VJM09 has been presented for the first time at the Circuit de Catalunya.

The car is outwardly similar to its 2016 predecessor, featuring the same long nose with distinctive vents on either side.

Technical director Andrew Green confirmed the car was closely based on its predecessor. “You can say the b-spec car from last year formed a basis on which to build our 2016 one,” he said.

“We were in a situation in which the performance on track was very good, and in which the data we were getting correlated well to what we were expecting, so we knew we could continue to develop on a solid platform.”

“With the regulations likely to change for 2017, it didn’t really seem like an efficient use of our resources to start from scratch on a project that would have such a limited lifetime.”

Hulkenberg tops times in Sochi

Nico Hulkenberg went fastest in the first practice session ahead of the Russian Grand Prix.

The 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours winner and Force India driver topped the times in what was a largely irrelevant session as low grip levels hampered every teams running.

Sochi Autodrom circuit
Source- BBC

The session was delayed and eventually cur short by half an hour after a cleaning vehicle spilled fuel onto the circuit meaning marshals had to spend time clearing the track.

This meant that when cars did eventually take to the track that the section of track was very wet an slippy and throughout the entire session drivers were caught out by the lack of grip across the entire circuit around the winter Olympic park.

Lewis Hamilton was set to go fastest when he spun his Mercedes at the final on his final hot lap, only moments earlier there was a spin for Felipe Massa, around whom Hamilton was forced to take evasive action.

Home driver Daniil Kvyat narrowly avoided the barriers and both both Ferrari’s had offs in the tough conditions.

There were a few spots of rain part way through the session, but further heavier is expected to disrupt the second practice session, which may lead to a fruitless Friday much like last time out in Japan where rain once again hampered proceedings.

Hulkenberg managed to eke out the fastest time, less than a tenth ahead of Nico Rosberg with Sebastian Vettl in third.