Mark Webber will not be taking part in qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix after crashing in the final practice session and damaging his Red Bull Renault challenger.
Webber, now out of championship contention, went off at the Degner Curve and nosed the RB5 into the tyre
wall. What appeared to be a minor shunt damaged the monocoque however and the team will now begin building up the spare chassis for the Australian to race on Sunday. He will start the 53-lap race from the pitlane.
"You think of the preparation that goes into a weekend like this, so to not have the opportunity to do the race from a decent grid position is very tough for all of us – especially the guys in the garage," said Webber. "It wasn’t a big crash by any means, but it did too much damage to the chassis, so we have to change it. We don’t have spare cars these days, so that’s the outcome and it’s a shame. We made a few changes to the car for the final run and I lost control when it bottomed-out through turn eight.”
Team principal Christian Horner now admits that the team has a mountain to climb if they are to challenge and beat Brawn Mercedes to the constructors’ championship. "We’ll have to re-scrutineer the new chassis in the morning, which will necessitate him starting the race from the pit lane," said Hormer. "So, not a good start to the weekend.”
Sebastian Vettel, fourth in the morning practice session, remains a championship contender but will need a strong race and problems for both Jenson Button
and Rubens Barrichello
to take the battle on to Interlagos.