MELBOURNE • Indonesian rookie Rio Haryanto had a troubled start to his Formula One career, crashing in the pit lane and receiving a three-place grid penalty from Australian Grand Prix stewards yesterday.
Haryanto, his country's first F1 driver, suffered the indignity of crashing before he even got onto the track for final practice in Melbourne, an accident which means he will start today's race in last place.
The Manor Racing driver was heading out of his team's garage when he collided accidentally with the car of Haas' Romain Grosjean.
Engineers had to disentangle the chassis of the two cars before they were forced back into the garage for repairs.
The Indonesian appeared at fault as he ventured out of his garage into the pit lane and nudged Grosjean's passing car, damaging his front wing.
The Albert Park stewards blamed Haryanto for the mishap and said the penalty was being applied because he "did not pay attention to the approaching car (of Grosjean) that was in the fast lane".
Haryanto, who was second-slowest in qualifying but is now demoted to the back of the grid, also picked up two penalty points.
"Sorry guys," he was heard to say to his hard-pressed support team as his car was being pushed back.
Haas said their engineers had to replace the floor on Grosjean's car following the incident and it cost him half of final practice.
Haryanto's day got no better when he was the second driver knocked out in qualifying.
The 23-year-old F1 driver only secured a seat in Manor Racing after he managed to pay €15 million (S$23 million) to join the British F1 racing team, according to local media.