Nico Hulkenberg will not take the start of the Australian Grand Prix after a fuel system failure left the Sauber team with no time to prepare his car for the race.

The German was due to start from the potentially advantageous eleventh spot on the Albert Park grid, which would have given him the choice of tyres where those ahead of him would have had to start on worn supersoft rubber, but, with less than half an hour to go to the start, his C32 did not have its engine attached as the mechanics worked frantically to fix the fault.

As the clock continued to tick, however, it dawned on the team that there was no way the car could be readied for the start, and an official message on Twitter confirmed that Hulkenberg would not be out 'for safety reasons'.

The second Sauber, piloted by rookie Esteban Gutierrez, will start from 18th on the grid after crashing in the opening phase of qualifying on Saturday evening.