Championship leader Nico Rosberg and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel have been handed a five-place grid penalty after third and final practice for the Austria Grand Prix.
Mercedes tweeted following final practice that Rosberg forced to take a five-place grid penalty “for a gear-box change”, and that his Turn 2 crash was because his left-rear wishbone failed after “an unusually high load at full throttle”.
Toto Wolff, Mercedes F1 team boss later confirmed: “The loads were extremely high and then the upper suspension broke. We discussed whether to send Lewis out or not but then we decided to do it and (told him to) try to stay off the kerb a little bit and it was OK.”
Wolff also added that Mercedes need to investigate the trouble ahead of final qualifying: “If you want to qualify at the front you need to go over the kerbs. So we need to strengthen the suspension.”
Rosberg was second fastest and he will start from seventh.
Sebastian Vettel will also drop five places on the Austrian Grand Prix grid.
“The driver did finish the last race in Baku and this gearbox change was before the six consecutive events expired,” read the FIA’s report.
“Therefore this is not in compliance with Article 23.6a of the 2016 Formula One Sporting Regulations.”
Vettel qualified fourth but he will start from ninth ahead of Williams’ Felipe Massa.