GREATER NOIDA, India, Oct 29, 2011 (AFP) - A customs bungle dented Michael Schumacher's Indian Grand Prix hopes on Saturday after vital tyre-checking equipment was held up by Indian border officials.
The fuming seven-time champion missed out on the top-10 shoot-out by just 18 thousands of a second after suffering tyre vibrations and will start halfway down the field in 12th position on Sunday.
Afterwards, Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn revealed they were unable to run a final check on Schumacher's tyres before qualifying because some of their equipment had been held up at Indian customs.
"Normally for race tyres we do a final check for balance to make sure they're OK. Unfortunately we didn't have the equipment there," Brawn said.
"Part of it arrived, we didn't get all of it. So we can't use it. (Tyre supplier) Pirelli balance the tyres, we just like to do a final check. I think most of the teams just do a final check to make sure.
"Because obviously if you have a tyre vibration, particularly in a race it's a serious issue. We'll get Pirelli to re-check out tyres."
Brawn said he would not know if Schumacher's tyres were unbalanced until he receives the car's technical data. The problem also plagued the German at this month's Korean Grand Prix, where he was forced to retire.
"Sometimes things move, you lose a balance weight or a tyre moves and it can deteriorate, so we'll get those wheels and tyres checked. Twenty grams out of a balance on a tyre, a driver can feel quite severely," Brawn said.