Carlin's Mikhail Aleshin will not compete in this weekend's feature and sprint races at the opening round of the 2011 GP2 main series, after a crash during qualifying left him with injuries to both hands.
Aleshin brought out a red flag during the Friday afternoon qualifying session at Istanbul Park in Turkey, when the car braked too hard and too late down the back straight causing him to lock up and run off into the gravel trap, where he made heavy contact with the barrier that bent the Carlin car's nose seriously out of shape. Qualifying was suspended while Aleshin's car was recovered from the run-off area.
The impact injured the metacarpal in each of the metacarpal bones in both of Aleshin's hands, with the left hand sustaining a small fracture. That makes it impossible for him to compete in this weekend's event.
"I am very disappointed not to be able to race this weekend and sorry that I couldn't score any points for the team," said Aleshin after his hands had been examined and he had been ruled out of competition.
"Obviously our first concern is Mikhail, and it is a great shame for him that he will not be able to race this weekend," said team racing director Trevor Carlin. "We expect him to make a speedy recovery.”
Talking about the cause of the accident, Aleshin explained how "I braked in my normal place in corner 12, but the car didn't stop. The team are investigating now what the problem may have been."
Colini driver Michael Herck had a similar accident only moments later, but escaped with lighter contact with the barrier at the end.
Carlin said that he appreciated Aleshin's continued efforts on behalf of the team: "Mikhail is helping us understand the problem and despite his injury has stayed at the circuit to help the team with feedback and our set-up for the first race tomorrow."
Aleshin's team mate Max Chilton qualified in tenth position for tomorrow's 32-lap feature race.
Since practice and qualifying sessions are completed, it is too late for the team to add a reserve or stand-in driver for the weekend's races. British driver Oliver Turvey had stood in for Aleshin at pre-season testing sessions after problems with the 23-year-old Russian's key sponsors threatened to force him out of the GP2 season altogether.
The team only confirmed on Wednesday
that Aleshin would in fact be in the Carlin car for Turkey, and it's still unknown whether those sponsorship problems are now resolved or whether Aleshin's appearance at Turkey will prove to be a one-off interim agreement.