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Sauber disqualified after Sergio Perez impresses

Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez

Sauber happy before exclusion

BY Richard Rae

Swiss team Sauber were disqualified from the Australian Grand Prix after drivers Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi finished seventh and eighth.

The team were ruled to have infringed technical rules relating to the size of the uppermost rear wing element.

Perez, a 21-year-old Mexican, had won widespread praise for his performance, and making just one stop in the race.

The exclusion promoted Scot Paul di Resta in the Force India to a point-scoring 10th position on his debut.

Sauber have announced they will appeal against the decision.

Technical director James Key said: ""This is a very surprising and disappointing result. It appears that there is a question over the top surface of the uppermost rear wing element, this area is not the working surface of the component and therefore relatively unimportant to its function.

Perez made one of the finest debuts I have ever seen

Eddie Jordan

"Certainly this has not lead to any performance advantage. We are checking the design of the parts now to better understand the situation and we intend to appeal the decision made by the stewards."

Before the team's exclusion, BBC F1 summariser David Coulthard and chief analyst Eddie Jordan both made Perez their driver of the day.

Speaking on the BBC F1 Forum on the red button, Perez, who had started 13th on the grid, confirmed that the team had anticipated making two or even three stops.

"To be honest we never thought we could do only one stop," he admitted.

"But then I did a very long stint on the prime [harder] tyres, and everyone was on options so I lost some positions, but I was very consistent.

"When I put on the options I thought it was only going to be for 10 or 15 laps so I really pushed, then when [race leader Sebastian] Vettel was in front of me I tried to save a lot, then he pitted and I managed the tyres.

"Without going to the limit my pace was three or four tenths away from what I could do. It's a race I will remember for ever."

Andrew Benson's blog

Team boss Peter Sauber, who after selling his eponymous team to BMW in 2005, bought it back from the German manufacturer at the end of 2009, had described the race as a dream start to the season.

He added that he had no explanation for how Perez had managed to do 35 laps with a set of used soft tyres, setting consistent lap times.

Jordan said it had been one of the finest debuts he had ever seen.

"The car is there, the reliability is there, the drivers are a strong and exciting pairing, it's a chance for the team to really push on," said Jordan.

Perez competed in British Formula Three before graduating to the GP2 series.

His signing by Sauber was linked to a sponsorship deal with a Mexican telecom company, but his performance in Melbourne led many to conclude F1 was witnessing the arrival of an exciting new talent.



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see also
Vettel beats Hamilton in opener
27 Mar 11 |  Formula 1
I'm back in the fight - Hamilton
27 Mar 11 |  Formula 1
Petrov boosted by Renault podium
27 Mar 11 |  Formula 1
Vettel plays down car 'dominance'
27 Mar 11 |  Formula 1
Australian GP as it happened
27 Mar 11 |  Formula 1
Australian Grand Prix race result
27 Mar 11 |  Results
Australian Grand Prix photos
27 Mar 11 |  Formula 1
Australian GP from the pit lane
27 Mar 11 |  Formula 1


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