Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc, two of Formula 1’s most prominent racers, have been disqualified from the United States Grand Prix. The race, which took place in Austin, saw both their cars undergo post-race inspections. The FIA Technical team, after conducting a plank wear inspection, identified irregularities in both vehicles.
What Lead to Disqualification?
The Delegate’s Report highlighted the specific non-compliance, stating, “The skids located in the area -825 ≥ XR ≥ – 1025 are found to be not in compliance with Article 3.5.9 e) of the 2023 Formula One Technical Regulations.” This discovery led to an immediate referral of both racers to the stewards.
Hamilton, who showcased an impressive performance by finishing second and was closely tailing the winner, Max Verstappen, had been using a new floor for this race. Mercedes had introduced their final major upgrade package of the year for this Austin event. On the other hand, Leclerc managed to secure the sixth position, narrowly beating George Russell of Mercedes.
Both the Mercedes and Ferrari teams sent representatives to discuss the matter with the stewards. They argued that the excessive wear on the skid pads was likely due to the unique combination of Austin’s bumpy track and the Sprint race schedule. This combination, they claimed, reduced the time available to set up and inspect the cars before the race.
However, the Stewards emphasized that it is the responsibility of the competitor to ensure their car adheres to the regulations throughout the event. They pointed out that the rear skid in the specified area was outside the thresholds outlined in the regulations, even when considering wear tolerances.
The disqualification has led to a reshuffling of the race standings. Norris now occupies the second position, while Carlos Sainz has been elevated to the podium. Sergio Perez’s move to fourth has further solidified his lead over Hamilton in the race for second in the drivers’ championship. Other beneficiaries include Russell, Pierre Gasly, Lance Stroll, Yuki Tsunoda, Alex Albon, and Logan Sargeant, with the latter securing his first F1 point on his home ground.
The world of Formula 1 is no stranger to controversies, and this recent disqualification has added another chapter to its rich history. As teams and racers adapt and strategize for upcoming races, fans worldwide will be keenly watching the unfolding drama on the racetrack.