Apr.13 (GMM/Inautonews.com) With the ‘Multi-21′ affair still in recent memory, Mark Webber’s woes went from bad to the back of the grid in China.
While teammate Sebastian Vettel’s mid-grid qualifying effort is a deliberate strategy based on Pirelli’s disintegrating soft tyres, Australian Webber was sent to the back of the field by the stewards for the Chinese grand prix.
Last year in Abu Dhabi, Red Bull tried to use the ‘force majeure’ argument when German Vettel’s fuel tank similarly ran dry in qualifying.
The FIA tidied up the rule over the winter, and force majeure was scrapped.
So after Webber’s bowser delivered too little fuel in Shanghai, he ran dry and could only deliver mere millilitres for the mandatory FIA sample.
The penalty is the back of the grid.
Two years ago, however, Webber stormed from eighteenth on the grid to the podium. Can he do it again?
“Back then I had a lot more fresh sets of tyres than my opponents,” Webber, shaking his head, was quoted by Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport.
Indeed, China 2013 has been all about Pirelli and how to make the Italian supplier’s controversial product work.
High profile contenders like Vettel and McLaren’s Jenson Button even sat out Q3 in order to have a better strategy for race day.
“If you didn’t have the speed for pole, you had to use a different strategy,” said Webber.
“Otherwise you’d start and finish fifth.
“After five laps, Vettel and Button will be leading. Then we’ll see how it develops.”