Formula 1: Liuzzi, Karthikeyan Become First Victims of 107 Percent Rule

Alistair HunterContributor IMarch 26, 2011

Liuzzi driving during qualifying in Australia.
Liuzzi driving during qualifying in Australia.Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

After the torrid time Hispania Racing Team had with their new car during preseason testing, they didn't manage to qualify for the first race of the season Down Under.

Vitantonio Liuzzi went out of the first stage of qualifying after setting his best time of 1:32.978, just over seven seconds behind Sebastian Vettel, the fastest man throughout the session.

Liuzzi's teammate Narain Karthikeyan finished even further behind with a personal best time of 1:34.293, which left both HRT drivers behind the eventual 107 percent cut at 1:31.267.

They both had issues in the Friday sessions after Liuzzi only set an installation lap at the end of the second session, while Karthikeyan set his first timed lap on Saturday morning.

Despite an appeal to start the race from the Spanish team, they were rightfully denied the chance to start the race at the wonderful Albert Park circuit in Melbourne.

However, this means that the next time Hispania take to the track in Malaysia, they will still be slow.

Allowing them to race would have let them at least attempt to sort out their reliability issues, but they will now have to make massive progress at the next race.

Letting them race would have possibly caused a danger to the race leaders, and they would be nowhere near competing for points, but the benefits of this would have at least given HRT a greater chance of sorting out their car for Malaysia.

Giving them the chance to compete would give the team at least a chance of being noticed by sponsors, which would then possibly give them more finances to upgrade the car to be a little bit better.

They might have made Formula One look slightly less grand for one race, but at least they would have a greater chance of doing better in the next race.

And of course, the drivers are being punished for driving a car that is slow, which is unfair for Liuzzi and Karthikeyan, as they have done nothing wrong.

Personally, I think that they should have been allowed to race, simply because that gives them the test session they never got to have after being disrupted by customs officials in their own country.

At least then they would be able to use the information gained to look more respectable in Malaysia, rather than putting in an embarrassing performance once again.