Hulkenberg faces five-place grid penalty

BAKU, Azerbaijan — Nico Hulkenberg faces a five-place grid penalty at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix after Renault was forced to change his car’s gearbox following final practice.

Hulkenberg completed just 11 laps in FP3 before returning to the pits prior to the usual qualifying simulation run at the end of the session. The team discovered the issue when the car was back in the garage and made the decision to replace the gearbox ahead of qualifying.

Nico Hulkenberg will start five places below wherever he qualifies at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Clive Mason/Getty Images

The faulty gearbox had not completed the six consecutive events required under the FIA’s sporting regulations and therefore a five-place penalty will be added to Hulkenberg’s qualifying position on Saturday afternoon.

The gearbox rule is in the regulations as a cost-saving measure and is intended to limit the amount of expensive drivetrain components fitted to a car over the course of a year. – RPM