Ferrari’s sporting director, Diego Ioverno, has shed light on the disqualification of Charles Leclerc from the United States Grand Prix, attributing it to the “bumpiness” of the Austin track and the unique sprint weekend format. In a surprising turn of events, both Leclerc and seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton were disqualified from the race due to excessive wear on their skid blocks. The stringent rules, which dictate that if the plank shows wear of more than 1mm, the driver of the respective car will be disqualified, came into play. The stewards’ decision to disqualify Hamilton and Leclerc had significant repercussions, altering the final race standings and championship dynamics.
“The bumpiness of the Austin track played a crucial role in our disqualification,” Ioverno explained. “The unique sprint weekend format, combined with the track conditions, led to the excessive wear on the skid blocks, ultimately resulting in our drivers’ disqualification.”
The rule in question is clear and unambiguous: if the plank, which is designed to protect the car from scraping against the asphalt, shows wear beyond 1mm, the driver is subject to disqualification. In this case, both Hamilton and Leclerc were found to be in violation of this rule, leading to the stewards’ decision to strip them of their hard-earned positions.
As a consequence of this disqualification, Lewis Hamilton lost his second-place finish, which he had secured after a fierce race that saw him challenging Max Verstappen for the win. Charles Leclerc also suffered a setback, as his sixth-place finish was nullified. The impact on their respective standings in the championship race was palpable.
However, despite this setback, Ferrari managed to turn the situation to their advantage. Carlos Sainz was elevated to a podium finish, earning valuable points for the team in the constructors’ championship. This unexpected turn of events saw Ferrari close the gap to Mercedes in the constructors’ championship, marking a promising outcome for the Italian racing team.
Diego Ioverno further elaborated on the disqualification in a video shared on Ferrari’s official social media platform, formerly known as Twitter and now called “Ferrari X.” He explained, “What happened? It happened that technical regulations clearly state that, at the end of the race, there are some measurements that have to be respected for the bottom parts of the car, parts of the car that are used to protect the car from grabbing asphalt.”
He continued, “At the end of the race measurement, our car was below the minimum threshold for a few tenths, but enough to bring the stewards to consider illegal our position.” Ioverno’s explanation provides valuable insight into the precise reasons behind the disqualification and the meticulous regulations governing Formula 1.
In conclusion, the disqualification of Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton at the United States Grand Prix was a result of a strict adherence to regulations governing the wear on skid blocks, influenced by the challenging conditions of the Austin track and the unique sprint weekend format. While it was a setback for these two prominent drivers, it presented a fortuitous opportunity for Ferrari to make gains in the constructors’ championship, further emphasizing the unpredictable nature of Formula 1 racing.