Sergio Perez will start the Austria Formula 1 sprint race on Saturday from 13th on the grid after all of his Q3 lap timings were nullified due to a track restrictions violation in Q2.
Perez advanced to the last qualifying session at the Red Bull Ring with his final Q2 lap after his initial time was nullified for exceeding track restrictions.
However, it was discovered after the session that Perez looked to have violated the track regulations on the final lap, prompting in an investigation by the stewards.
Perez qualified fourth for Red Bull, but will now drop to thirteenth on the grid when it was discovered that he breached track limitations during his Q2 lap, resulting in the deletion of all of his Q3 times and his best Q2 lap time.
The stewards stated that it was "not recognized until just before Q3 began," indicating that he participated in Q3 because there were "several situations to analyze during each session."
In addition, it was acknowledged that the circumstance in which a driver progresses through a qualifying round only to be later found to have violated track regulations "does not occur frequently and certainly not in the recent past," forcing it to be studied as a "new issue."
“The team made the point that they took both risk and expended resources to compete in Q3,” the FIA bulletin reads. “The stewards accept this point. However, in assessing a penalty after a session, this is no different than any other situation.
“The usual penalty is deleting the lap time concerned, and the stewards order the same penalty here.
“However, as a consequence, the driver would not have proceeded into Q3 and therefore, in fairness to all the other competitors, the stewards order that all the lap times for Q3 for the driver also are deleted.”
The briefing indicates that Perez's contested Q2 lap was also erased, meaning his revised quickest time drops him to thirteenth in the qualifying standings.
Due to Perez's penalty, Mercedes' George Russell will start fourth, behind Max Verstappen, the Ferrari combo of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, and Perez.
Pierre Gasly of AlphaTauri was one of the greatest losers from the failure to erase Perez's lap promptly. He was eliminated in 11th place in Q2 after finishing 0.014 seconds slower than Mick Schumacher.
The stewards also revealed that Mercedes driver Russell received a warning for illegally entering the track when he traversed the circuit on foot after his Q3 collision.