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F1 China 2013: Webber to swap back row for pit-lane

14 April 2013

Red Bull Racing will start Mark Webber from the pit-lane at the Chinese Grand Prix in a bid to give the Australian a better chance of scoring points.

Three weeks on from the 'Multi21' affair in Malaysia, Webber endured a nightmare in qualifying for the Chinese race, running out of fuel on his way back to the pits after completing his first timed run in Q2. Under the regulations, he would have been unable to take part in Q3 had he remained in the top ten times, but ultimately slipped back to 14th as others improved on their second attempt.

Worse was to come for the Australian, however, when it was discovered that he did not have enough fuel left in his tank to provide the necessary scrutineering sample, instantly relegating him to the rear of the grid in the same way as RBR team-mate Sebastian Vettel and then McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton were dealt with in Abu Dhabi and Barcelona respectively last season.

Red Bull confirmed that an issue with one of its fuel bowsers had been at the root of Webber's woe, and announced on Sunday morning that it would be starting the Australian from the pit-lane, rather than row eleven, in order to make changes to his set-up and, hopefully, improve his chances of carving through the field. The #2 machine, which was removed from parc ferme, will receive a new gearbox and changes to its rear wing and suspension ahead of the 56-lap contest.

Team-mate Vettel starts ninth on the grid after opting not to complete a timed lap in qualifying, a decision which will allow him to take a free choice of tyre. It is likely that the German will start on the harder medium compound in an effort to run longer than most of the drivers ahead of him, and Webber is expected to make the same choice in order to make up as much ground as possible early in the race.


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