Timo Glock will miss the Japanese Grand Prix today following his heavy accident in qualifying. The Toyota driver suffered a 5cm cut in the back of his left leg. Doctors on Sunday morning advised him against racing.
This is a blow for Toyota, who ran Kamui Kobayashi on Friday in the practice session as Glock was reported to be suffering from flu. Toyota applied for Kobayashi to be given dispensation to race, but this was rejected because a driver must compete on the second day of a GP meeting.
Everyone in the F1 paddock has been trying to work out what the grid will be for this afternoon’s race. It became a popular game and almost nobody got it right.
For a start none of the five offenders have actually gone back the five places they were given.
Because so many drivers were given penalties, the key to it was the time at which the offence occured and at which the stewards considered it.
The winners from the revised grid are, Kimi Raikkonen, who goes from 8th to 5th, Nico Rosberg, who goes from 11th to 7th and Robert Kubica who was 13th and is now 9th.
Ironically Rubens Barrichello, is also a winner here. He was given a penalty for missing the yellow flags, but it only drops him down one place on the grid, from 5th to 6th.
Explain that to someone who isn’t a Formula 1 fan; how can a five place drop mean a drop of only one place? And even more whacky is the fact that he starts in front of Adrian Sutil, who was also penalised but who actually qualified in front of him! It’s not the stewards’ fault, the rules are what they are. But is it fair?
It’s like something from Alice in Wonderland.
But it is a classic example of the dysfunctionality of F1, the over-complication which has evolved into the system and which makes the sport so hard to explain to people at home. If you want a successful product, confuse your public at your peril.
And because of people’s natural scepticism, many will believe that Barrichello has been put 6th and Jenson Button 10th to keep the championship alive, when there is a perfectly logical explanation; except that it is illogical for Barrichello to get a five place penalty and drop only one place.
As for the race, Vettel may struggle to keep Hamilton with his KERS system behind him at the start. But he has the pace and the extra lap of fuel, to pass him at the first stops and drive off to win. Hamilton has the pace to keep everyone else at bay so I think he will finish second and Barrichello’s good fortune with the grid and his fuel load, suggest that he should be able to finish third today and take a few more points out of Button. Rosberg and Raikkonen are well placed to have a strong run.
Grid for Japanese Grand Prix (Changes in brackets)
4 Heidfeld (+2)
5 Raikkonen (+3)
6 Barrichello (-1)
7 Rosberg (+4)
8 Sutil (-4)
9 Kubica (+4)
10 Button (-3)
11 Kovalainen (-3) gearbox change
12 Alguersuari (+3)
13 Buemi (-3) Impeding
14 Fisichella (+2)
15 Nakajima ( (+2)
16 Alonso (-4)
17 Grosjean (+1)
18 Liuzzi (+1)
Starting from pit lane: Webber
Non Starter: Glock