Sergio Perez and Valtteri Bottas will start from the pit lane for the Australian Grand Prix after changes made to their cars ahead of the race. The drivers qualified 19th and 20th respectively and both teams opted to make suspension changes prior to the race. Red Bull also replaced Perez‘s energy store and control electronics, which are his third examples of 2023, and the stewards noted that the changes were made without approval. However, as Perez was already due to start from the back, he has been able to add them to his component pool without a significant grid penalty. Red Bull also replaced the front brake friction material on Perez‘s car after he experienced braking problems in Saturday’s qualifying.
Regarding the changes to his car, Perez explained on Saturday that the braking issue was “very difficult to do anything out there, just braking. I became a passenger as soon as I touched the brake.” However, he was hopeful that “we are able to fix it as a team tomorrow and be able to race and minimise the damage.” Red Bull made the necessary brake changes in compliance with parc ferme rules, so Perez did not incur a penalty for that change.
The stewards deemed the changes to the cars to be in violation of Article 40.3 of the 2023 Formula One Sporting Regulations as they were made without approval from the FIA technical delegate. In addition to the suspension changes, Red Bull replaced the energy store and control electronics in Perez‘s car, both of which are only allowed twice per season. As this was his third example of each, the stewards determined that Perez could add them to his component pool without penalty.
Despite starting from the pit lane, Perez is confident and ready for the race. Red Bull has been working hard to make the necessary changes to his car and hopes that they have successfully addressed the braking issue. It will be interesting to see how Perez and Bottas fare from the pit lane and how the changes to their cars will impact their performance in the Australian Grand Prix.