According to the after-qualifying report issued by the Aussie stewards, both cars had “extreme flexibility” in their rear wings, in contradiction with the current FIA rule book – stating that the rear wings should by rigidly secured and lack “any degree of freedom”.
“The Stewards have received a report from the Technical Delegate that the upper rear wing elements of cars No. 9 and 10 are showing extreme flexibility in contravention of Article 3.15 of the 2009 Formula One Technical Regulations,” announced the statement issued by the international federation.
"The Stewards have heard the explanation from a representative of Panasonic Toyota Racing and have examined the cars in question. The Stewards concur with the opinion of the Technical Delegate and find the cars contravene the requirements of Article 3.15 of the 2009 Formula One Technical Regulations. It is the Stewards decision that cars number 9 and 10 be excluded from the Qualifying Session Official Classification,” added the statement.
Toyota quickly issued a statement of their own, accepting the penalty. The two drivers will therefore start the Sunday race from 19th and 20th (after previously qualifying 6th and 8th). Also, McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton got a penalty of his own as a result of the gearbox problem suffered by the MP4-24 ahead of Q2. The McLaren mechanics were forced to replace Hamilton’s gearbox for precautionary measures, enforcing a back-of-the-pack relegation on the starting grid (18th place).