Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg will have to start the Azerbaijan Grand Prix from the pit lane after the American team changed the setup of his VF-23. The change was made after the German driver suffered a terrible sprint race, losing places lap after lap as his car struggled to cope with the punishing Baku street circuit.
Hulkenberg qualified in P17 on Friday, with his teammate Kevin Magnussen one place behind him. However, the duo lacked the pace required to challenge the mid-field teams in Baku.
Following the disappointing performance in the sprint race, Haas decided to modify Hulkenberg’s set-up in order to improve the car’s performance. This change was approved by the Technical Delegate and was made while the car was in parc ferme, meaning that Hulkenberg will now start the race from the pit lane.
The Haas driver will not be alone in the pit lane, however, as Alpine’s Esteban Ocon will also be starting from there due to his team changing the gearbox on his car. The stewards have confirmed that the reason for Hulkenberg’s pit lane start is due to the suspension set-up being changed from that previously used in the sprint race. This is in accordance with Article 40.9 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations.