Hamilton and Leclerc disqualified after failing plank wear check at F1 US GP

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Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc have both been disqualified from the United States Grand Prix after their cars failed during the plank wear check that was carried out after the Austin F1 race. F1Technical's Balázs Szabó reports on the technical infringements at the Unites Stated Grand Prix.

The five-time Austin race winner finished second at the U.S. Grand Prix while a less than optimal strategy from Ferrari saw Charles Leclerc end up sixth in Texas. FIA's technical team carried out their usual excessive investigation process after the race of which some measurements were performed on all cars.

However, only four cars - the Red Bull of Max Verstappen, the McLaren of Lando Norris, the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc and the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton - were selected for plank wear tests.

Following the test, the FIA confirmed that Verstappen's and Norris' cars passed the test, however the two other cars failed to comply with the regulation. The governing body noted: "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.”

As a result of its, both drivers were disqualified from the Austin race. It meant that Hamilton has lost second position at the U.S. Grand Prix and Leclerc lost his sixth place finish in the Austin F1 round.

The FIA's scrutineering document noted: "During the hearing the team acknowledged that the measurement performed by the FIA Technical Team was correct and stated that the high wear on the skid pads was probably a result of the unique combination of the bumpy track and the Sprint race schedule that minimized the time to set up and check the car before the race."

The U.S. Grand Prix Stewards noted that "the onus is on the competitor to ensure that the car is in compliance with the regulations at all times during an event. In this particular case, the rear skid in the area defined in the Technical Delegate’s report was outside of the thresholds outlined in Article 3.5.9 e) of the FIA Formula One Technical Regulations, which includes a tolerance for wear."

The disqualifications see Lando Norris move up to second with Carlos Sainz completing the podium places. Sergio Perez moves to fourth while George Russell jumps from seventh to fifth.

The infringement promotes Pierre Gasly to sixth and Lance Stroll to seventh. Yuki Tsunoda moves up the order to eighth with Williams drivers Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant inheriting ninth place and tenth place respectively as the American driver grabs his first F1 point on home soil.

Speaking of the disqualification, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said: “Turning to the race result and the disqualification, set-up choices on a sprint weekend are always a challenge with just one hour of free practice - and even more so at a bumpy circuit like COTA and running a new package.

“In the end, all of that doesn't matter; others got it right where we got it wrong and there's no wiggle room in the rules. We need to take it on the chin, do the learning, and come back stronger next weekend.”

Commenting on his misfortune on a weekend when Mercedes have made huge inroads with their all-new floor, Hamilton noted:“I came here in the mood to fight hard, felt great and I'm really happy with my performance,” he said. “Overall, we still didn't perform optimally today.

“We had good pace and I was feeling great in the car. It was tough racing those around me as they were so quick, but we can be happy with many things. I feel positive as we're moving forward, even if reflecting on it we could have possibly won today. It is of course disappointing to be disqualified post-race but that doesn't take away from the progress we've made this weekend.”