Sep.2 (GMM) Red Bull's title hopes could take a big hit at Spa-Francorchamps, with neither RB8 set to start Sunday's race from the points rankings.
Mark Webber, who is second in the drivers' title chase behind Fernando Alonso, qualified the highest (7th) of the pair in Belgium, but he must move five places back due to a gearbox change.
The Australian revealed he has known since the days immediately after Hungary in late July that his gearbox was irreparably damaged.
"I had a holiday on that," he shrugged and smiled on Saturday.
With even less pace in qualifying was his teammate and reigning back to back world champion Sebastian Vettel, who could not explain why he failed to make the cut for Q3.
"There was nothing obvious that was wrong," said the German. "I was just too slow," he is quoted by the Kolner Express.
"I would like to know why as well," added Vettel.
Red Bull's motor racing manager Dr Helmut Marko told Kleine Zeitung newspaper: "We didn't expect that.
"Now we need to show all of our teeth in the race," he said.
Triple world champion Niki Lauda, however, said he doubts Red Bull will be able to shine that brightly.
"I thought Red Bull wanted to attack here at Spa," said the great Austrian. "With Vettel, I have not seen a sign of that."
HRT's wily Pedro de la Rosa, however, said motivation has little to do with it. Red Bull has simply lost its dominance of 2011.
"It's not just Vettel, Webber is also behind," the Spaniard told AS sports newspaper.
"Unfortunately there is no other explanation than the car. We want heroes, but there are few, mainly it's cars and teams.
"If it was only about the drivers, then Alonso would win every race," added de la Rosa, "but it's not."