Ultimate Motorsport's racing director Johnny Ostrowski has pledged extra vigilance for the remainder of the season after lead driver Miguel Molina was stripped of his pole position at the opening round of the Formula Renault 3.5 season at Barcelona.
Pre-season title favourite Molina was sent back to 12th on the grid for this afternoon's race, after being found guilty of using a set of tyres belonging to team-mate Greg Mansell. He had been fastest in the Super Pole session, which meant he was set to start eighth on today's partially-reversed grid and on pole for race two tomorrow.
"It was an innocent mistake," said Ostrowski. "We spotted it and told the Renault guy. It's a case of hands up, this is what we have done. We could have kept quiet about it, but in the current climate of being honest about everything we held our hands up.
"It is against the regulations, but there was no performance advantage. Maybe if we had kept quiet we would have got away with it."
The penalty has an added sting coming at Barcelona, as the circuit's young driver programme is one of Molina's principal backers.
"Miguel did a fantastic job, it is his home circuit, his family and sponsors are here and we let him down," Ostrowski added. "We are sorry. We'll see where we are at the end of the season, but this could be a championship decider, already, and we haven't even raced.
"We'll have to be super vigilant and that much better at every race. I really hope we get some rain this afternoon, so he can progress." Starting grid for race one:
Pos Driver Team Time
1. Adrian Valles Epsilon Euskadi 1m33.360s
2. Marcos Martinez Pons 1m33.299s
3. Bertrand Baguette Draco 1m33.256s
4. Oliver Turvey Carlin 1m33.125s
5. Jaime Alguersuari Carlin 1m33.106s
6. Daniel Move P1 1m32.983s
7. James Walker P1 1m32.876s
8. Charles Pic Tech 1 1m32.584s
9. Fairuz Fauzy Fortec 1m33.377s
10. Marco Barba Draco 1m33.412s
11. Chris van der Drift Epsilon Euskadi 1m33.863s
12. Miguel Molina Ultimate -
13. Brendon Hartley Tech 1 1m33.825s
14. Pasquale Di Sabatino RC 1m34.104s
15. Greg Mansell Ultimate 1m33.833s
16. Federico Leo Pons 1m34.140s
17. Mihai Marinescu Interwetten 1m34.385s
18. Sten Pentus Fortec 1m34.188s
19. Anton Nebilitskiy Comtec 1m34.436s
20. Harold Schlegelmilch Comtec 1m34.192s
21. Omar Leal Prema 1m34.734s
22. Adrian Zaugg Interwetten 1m34.313s