Engine software issue hinders Vettel
15 March 2014 – Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel suffered an engine software issue during Australian Grand Prix qualifying, Renault has confirmed.
Although team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was able to secure a place on the front row, Vettel lacked engine power and was eliminated from Q2.
He will start Sunday afternoon's race from 12th position, after the gearbox penalty for Williams driver Valtteri Bottas is applied by the stewards.
"This morning [final practice] was still OK but definitely a step down, and then this afternoon [in qualifying] when it started to rain I was struggling a lot with driveability and it made my life pretty difficult," explained Vettel.
"I made it round, but I struggled a lot when going on the power, so driveability was down. We programmed it to be like yesterday, if not a little bit better. There was a different set-up and a software update, but with modern Formula 1 there's a lot of software programming and it's not easy for drivers to understand what's going on."
Although Red Bull has enjoyed an encouraging start in Melbourne, Vettel expects the race to be a challenge.
"We still haven't done a race distance in one go," he commented. "We have improved reliability compared to testing because we're able to put parts on the car with zero mileage. But there's still a long way to go.
"We know that on reliability there are still things to do. We're both trying to see the chequered flag and we know the car's quick, so we want to finish as high up as possible, but priority number one is to finish the race."