The FIA Stewards have declined to give HRT dispensation to allow Tonio Liuzzi and Narain Karthikeyan to start in Australia after they failed to meet the 107% requirement, in accordance with Article 36.3.
After barely appearing on track at all in practice the cars actually ran without too many problems in Q1, and Liuzzi was only 2.1s off Jerome d’Ambrosio’s Virgin.
The FIA Stewards do have the option to waive the rule in ‘exceptional circumstances,’ but that wasn’t the case here.
Asked by this blog to clarify the new rule, the FIA’s Charlie Whiting said: “The 107% is a maximum, there’s no tolerance around that 107%. If you’re out you’re out. However there is provision in the rule for the stewards to allow a car in under exceptional circumstances, which could include setting a good time in a previous session, or if there were changeable weather conditions that clearly disadvantaged some cars that couldn’t get out at the beginning when it was dry.
“Those sorts of things, or generally speaking if a car’s done a good time in P3 for example, and has a mechanical problem and can’t do a clear lap. We’ve seen it all before. Then the stewards are probably likely to allow the car to start. I personally don’t believe it’s the case with HRT, but it’s a matter for the stewards.”