Home - The Official Formula 1 Website Skip to content

Kovalainen to drop five grid places after gearbox change 31 Oct 2009

Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) McLaren MP4/24 in the first practice session.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Practice Day, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Friday, 30 October 2009 Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) McLaren in the third practice session. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Saturday, 31 October 2009

Heikki Kovalainen is set to receive a five-place grid penalty from the Yas Marina race stewards after McLaren decided his car needed a new gearbox following Saturday’s qualifying. Kovalainen, who had qualified in 13th, will now start Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from 18th.

The Finn had looked strong during practice and the early stages of qualifying, but as he was preparing for his fast laps in Q2 his MP4-24 was struck by transmission problems.

“What a disappointing outcome to my qualifying,” said Kovalainen. “I got stuck in second gear during Q2 and that was it. I already had minor problems with the gearbox yesterday when it jumped out of gear, so it’s frustrating when you have a car you can easily take into Q3.

“But I’m looking at the positives: the balance of my car has been good throughout the entire weekend, and it’s been great to drive on this fantastic circuit. You can absolutely guarantee I’ll be giving it my all in the race tomorrow and I’ll be fighting from the first lap to the very last.”

This season the regulations state that gearboxes must last four race weekends.