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Hülkenberg in Gutierrez-Sauber: Car exchange would have been allowed

Daniel Reinhard
Hulkenberg in Gutierrez-Sauber
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F or for Nico Hülkenberg the GP Australia was over before he had started. Seven minutes after the start, the German went to the hotel. 'I didn't want to have to watch a race in Melbourne from the hospitality area for the third time in a row,' said the tall blonde as the reason for his early departure from the race track. Hulkenberg could have taken part in the race. In the car of team-mate Esteban Gutierrez.

Sauber car exchange is permitted under certain conditions

Because such a case has not occurred for years, even seasoned race stewards had to take their Look up rule books. Is it even allowed for a driver to switch to his teammate's car after qualifying? It is, however, subject to conditions. The fact is: Both Sauber had qualified for the race. Both drivers had passed the 107 percent hurdle. So both are allowed to start, and it doesn't matter which of the two cars.

But changing vehicles at the last minute is no longer as easy as it was until 2002, when there was no parc fermé and restrictions on engines and Transmission gave. If Sauber had put Hülkenberg in the Gutierrez car, Hülkenberg would have received a second engine. Two out of eight. The change after qualifying would have meant that the replaced engine could not have been used again until the finale.

It would also have meant a gear change for Hülkenberg. So five starting positions back, starting from the 18th position of his team-mate. But that would not have mattered, because from Hülkenberg's point of view, jumping into the other car would have been tantamount to a setup change. And then you have to start out of the pit lane anyway.

What happens when it comes to the world title?

Castling was out of the question for Sauber. It would have been demoralizing for Gutierrez to have the car taken from him on his debut. Hulkenberg would not have expected it, nor did he deal with this question. It never occurred to him that a change would have been possible.

Nevertheless, the subject is hot. You just have to ask yourself the following question: what would Red Bull or Ferrari do in a comparable situation if it were to win the world title? Should Mark Webber or Felipe Massa then have their cars in favor of their team captains?resign?


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