Räikkönen hit with 5-place grid penalty
23 March 2012 – Lotus F1 driver Kimi Räikkönen has been handed a 5-place grid penalty for Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix, after being forced into a gearbox change this afternoon.
The technical issue stems back to last weekend's Melbourne season opener, where an off-track excursion led to slight structural damage. As a result, it has been decided that to avoid risking a retirement, his gearbox will be switched prematurely.
"A bit more work for Kimi's crew this evening," the team explained via its official Twitter feed. "An issue with Kimi's gearbox so we're changing it now."
"We had some trouble with the KERS and the team also noticed an issue with the gearbox tonight," Räikkönen added later in the evening. "We’ll have to change it which means losing 5 places on the grid. It’s a bit frustrating but we’re confident the car will be fixed and it’s better to have this happen now than in the race."
In accordance with the FIA's stringent sporting regulations, gearboxes must last for a total of five race weekends before being changed without a punishment.