Sergio Perez and Valtteri Bottas will both be starting today’s Australian Grand Prix from the pit lane, after opting to change their cars under parc ferme regulations.
Perez failed to set a time in qualifying after beaching his car in the gravel trap down at Turn 3, something that initially looked to be driver error but that Team Principal Christian Horner later revealed might have been caused by an engine braking issue.
He had been cleared to race despite not setting a time within 107% as per the regulations, but given he was lining up 20th, Red Bull opted to fit his RB19 with a raft of new PU components, including a new Energy Store and Control Electronics unit.
That means he’ll have those components in his pool of parts for the rest of the season, but does have to start today’s race from the pit lane. Joining him there will be Valtteri Bottas. The Finn qualified 19th, but a written request was later submitted by Alfa Romeo to change the set-up of his suspension.
This was granted by the FIA, but still requires him to start from the pit lane. His team mate Zhou Guanyu and Williams’ Logan Sagreant will now share what becomes the back row of the grid in 17th and 18th, while Perez’s team mate Max Verstappen lines up on pole.
Qualifying Highlights: 2023 Australian Grand Prix