Both Ricciardo and Vettel will be starting the season finale in a major hole.
After qualifying fifth and sixth for the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Red Bull has been excluded from qualifying. The stewards deemed that their visibly flexible front wings are illegal.
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.
RBR also said that it had been singled out by the FIA for a deflection test when in fact four teams were tested yesterday.
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.
Red Bull Racing statement
Team personnel including Adrian Newey were brought in front of the stewards to state their case before this decision was made. FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer originally called the team out on the issue, stating, “When checking the front wing of car numbers #1 and #3, it was found that the front wing flags were designed to flex under aerodynamic load."
A breach of the regulations has been committed by (Red Bull)
“In my opinion, this is not in compliance with article 3.15 of the Formula 1 technical regulations."
Once it was determined that Bauer was indeed correct in his observation, the following statement was released...
“The stewards, having received a report from the technical delegate, heard from team representatives, have considered the following matter, determine a breach of the regulations has been committed by the competitor named.”
The cars did not comply with article 3.15 of the regulations regarding aerodynamic influence. Both drivers forfeit their starting positions as a result and will start the GP from the pit lane. The team accepts the ruling and will take their penalty.
Red Bull statement
“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."
Adam Cooper/Nick DeGroot