Sauber had a disastrous start to its Australian grand prix on Friday, with two wings at the front of Kamui Kobayashi’s C29 breaking in the first practice session.
In warm and sunny weather at the Albert Park circuit, the Japanese rookie was to blame for the first breakage and red flag, when he ran over the kerb at the fast turn 11 and hit the corner cone.
But later, with a spare fitted, the wing appeared to break on its own in the middle of the supports as he approached the braking zone for turn 3.
Concerned FIA official Jo Bauer visited the Swiss team’s garage for an explanation, but it is said that Sauber team members are not sure what caused the problems.
It is believed the team has only three spare front wings remaining for the rest of the Melbourne weekend.
The incident again stopped the session, but Michael Schumacher went on to controversially set a fast time amid the waving red flags and flashing red lights.
Red Bull’s Christian Horner told BBC radio that the Mercedes driver should get a ten-place grid penalty for the next two races.
It was also a bad session for Lotus, whose Jarno Trulli suffered an hydraulic leak, while Heikki Kovalainen pulled over at the end of the 90-minute practice with a technical problem.
But the green T127s were comfortably the quickest of the three new teams.
“The whole session was a bit messy because of red flags and traffic,” said Ferrari, whose cars were fourth and sixth fastest.