Red Bull says that its drivers will start the Abu Dhabi GP from the back of the grid after the FIA deemed that its front wing flaps were flexing illegally.
The team has to change the wings to make them legal, and normally that would be a change of spec, and a pitlane start. However, after the precedent of the Hamilton brake disc manufacturer change in Hockenheim if the FIA deems that the revised wing is of similar mass, inertia and function, the cars will be allowed to start from the grid.
Some rival teams told this writer that they were surprised that a change from an illegal to legal spec could be regarded as ‘similar.’
However, the team could yet start from the pitlane for strategic reasons – for example taking off wing to maximise straightline speed for overtaking.
RBR also said that it had been singled out by the FIA for a deflection test when in fact four teams were tested yesterday.
An RBR statement said: “Following the decision of the Stewards regarding the front wings on both our cars (Car 1 and Car 3), we are disappointed that we have been singled out for a front wing deflection test when it is clear that other teams are interpreting the rules in a similar fashion.
“The team accepts the decision of the Stewards and will start the race from the back of the grid.”