Melbourne: India`s Narain Karthikeyan will miss Sunday`s season-opening Formula One Australian Grand Prix here as his Hispania team car, which he drove without any pre-season test, failed to clear the cut-off timing in the qualifying session on Saturday.
Karthikeyan and his team-mate Vitantonio Liuzzi were
ruled ineligible for tomorrow`s race because under the
re-introduced "107 per cent" rule, they were more than seven
per cent slower than session winner Sebastian Vettel of Red
With the cut-off time set at 1:31.266, Liuzzi could
manage only 1:32.978 and Karthikeyan had 1:34.293. Liuzzi
missed the cut-off time by around 1.7 seconds while
Karthikeyan was slow by over three seconds.
Hispania, which assembled their car here only without
running it in pre-season tests, made an exemption request,
pleading "exceptional circumstances" for the poor times but
race stewards turned it down and excluded the team from
Meanwhile, Force India`s Paul di Resta will start 14th at
the grid tomorrow, two places ahead of team-mate Adrian Sutil
who spun his car at the final turn but continued to complete
Sutil spun his car 360 degrees coming out of the final
turn, narrowly missing a wall while disappearing in tire
smoke, before regaining control and continuing his lap.
World champion Sebastian Vettel will start from pole
position after a dominant performance by the Red Bull driver
in today`s qualifying.
Vettel had a time of 1 minute, 23.529 seconds, more than
three-quarters of a second quicker than nearest rival Lewis
Hamilton of McLaren.
Red Bull`s Mark Webber will start from third in front of
his home crowd, with Jenson Button of McLaren fourth as he
attempts to win the race for a third straight year.
Fernando Alonso of Ferrari qualified fifth, 1.4 seconds
behind Vettel, while teammate Felipe Massa was eighth.
Mercedes` former world champion Michael Schumacher was a