Red Bull motorsport advisor Dr Helmut Marko apologised to Pierre Gasly after the Frenchman was eliminated from Q1 at the Australian Grand Prix as he sat in the pits. Red Bull opted not to run Gasly at the end of the opening session, only to see lap times tumble as the track improved suddenly.
Gasly will start his first Red Bull race in 17th as a result of the team's error.
The misstep means Red Bull failed to get both cars out of Q1 for the first time since Max Verstappen did not take part in qualifying at last year's Monaco GP as a result of a crash in practice.
Marko pointed the finger at Red Bull's strategy department for the costly error.
"A stupid mistake from our strategy people, and we have to apologise to him for this stupid mistake," he told Autosport.
Although Gasly will get free tyre choice for the race, Albert Park's short straights and narrow nature mean Gasly faces a tough order to get back into a strong points-scoring position, regardless of Red Bull's advantage.
Asked how he felt after hearing of Marko's apology, Gasly said: "Not much better because at the end of the day the result is still there.
"We've been too optimistic as a team and we didn't expect the track to improve that much on the second set after the first lap.
"It was a pretty good lap, we thought we would make it through.