Kovalainen penalised after safety car infringement

Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Caterham CT01 retired from the race Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday 18 March 2012.

Heikki Kovalainen's Caterhamm is recovered after the race

Mar.18 (Reuters) Caterham driver Heikki Kovalainen has been docked five places on the starting grid for next weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix for overtaking while the safety car was deployed at the season-opener in Australia on Sunday.

The Finn, who retired from the Australian Grand Prix after 41 of the 58 laps with a suspension problem, was punished by race stewards for passing two rivals.

The sanction came as a further blow to Caterham at the end of a disappointing day on which they had hoped to compete with the teams in the middle of the field but instead suffered two retirements.

Russian Vitaly Petrov, who last year got on the podium in third place at Albert Park for Renault, made his exit on the 36th lap because of a problem with his steering wheel.

By contrast, the Marussia team – which had not been able to test its car pre-season, managed to get both Germany’s Timo Glock and French rookie Charles Pic home in 14th and 15th places, albeit well off the pace.

Subbed by AJN.