- Red Bull
Vettel 'very likely' to skip qualifying in Austin
Sebastian Vettel has confirmed he is likely to miss qualifying and start from the pit lane at this weekend's US Grand Prix as Red Bull expect to make a full power unit change ahead of Saturday.
The regulations state that only five of the various engine components can be used over the course of the season, with the sixth incurring a penalty. If the team uses its sixth of just one type of component - e.g. the turbo - the driver is subject to a 10-place penalty, but Red Bull are considering to take one hit by changing the whole power unit and will therefore be forced to start Vettel from the pits. With that in mind, Vettel is likely to skip qualifying to save mileage on his new power unit.
"I think it's to be confirmed, but, yes, we have to get an extra engine at some stage this year and very likely at this event here," he said. "Obviously we had quite a bad first half of the season in terms of reliability, with a lot of things happening, and that put us in that position. Practice we will definitely run to try to maximise the track time, but more focus towards the race because qualifying fast is not that important if it comes down to Sunday when we start from the pit lane due to the regulations.
"Of course we would like to do more but as I said we will use practice and see where we are and go from there. The rules are pretty clear, once you decide to play the joker and take a sixth part, a sixth engine, sixth turbo etc. - all the pieces - you have to start from the pit lane. Even if you qualify on pole you have to start from the pit lane, so that's why instead of burning mileage in qualifying which you may then regret later on in Brazil or Abu Dhabi, where we might not see the finish line, that would be a lot more costly than deciding here not to qualify. But I see your point and it would be a real shame.
"You can talk about obligations but in the end we have to manage the situation with the engines. The rules are the same for everyone, obviously it was our fault being very greedy at the beginning of the season; I had a lot of issues in terms of reliability, taking the engines to the end of their lives."