Formula One: Kobayashi cleared over Aussie crash

Formula One: Kobayashi cleared over Aussie crash
The car of Caterham-Renault driver Kamui Kobayashi of Japan veers off the track during an accident at the start of the Formula One Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 16, 2014

MELBOURNE - Japan's Kamui Kobayashi was cleared of any blame over a first-lap crash at the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday after an investigation discovered a brake failure.

Kobabayashi, in his first race for Caterham, ploughed into the back of Felipe Massa's Williams at turn one in an incident which ended the season-opening grand prix for both drivers.

Massa later called for Kobayashi to be given a one-race ban over the crash, the same punishment handed to Lotus's Romain Grosjean after a similar incident at Belgium in 2012.

But after reviewing technical data, stewards found the crash was caused by a "serious technical failure completely outside the control of the driver".

Kobayashi had initally accepted blame, but after the investigation he said: "That isn't how I wanted my first race back to go, and I'm sorry for the team and for Felipe that both our races ended early.

"From the initial data it looked like I had a brake system issue which obviously meant I couldn't do much about the contact and when we got the car back and looked at the information in much more detail it was clear that was the problem.

"After the race I went to the stewards and they went through the data from the car and confirmed this was the case. We'll have a close look at what caused that problem and make sure we fix it."

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