Charles Leclerc adamant plank ‘gave no performance’ after disqualification by ‘so, so little’

Thomas Maher
Charles Leclerc races for Ferrari at the Circuit of the Americas during the United States Grand Prix.

Charles Leclerc races for Ferrari at the Circuit of the Americas during the United States Grand Prix.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc said there’s no doubt in his mind that his illegal plank offered no performance gain during the United States Grand Prix.

The Monegasque driver, who finished in sixth place at the Circuit of the Americas, was disqualified from the US Grand Prix, as well as second-place finisher Lewis Hamilton, with both cars having been found with underfloor plank wear beyond the tolerated limits.

Just four cars were checked by the FIA stewards, as the rules dictate, meaning 50 percent of the checked cars were illegal – opening up the possibility that more cars were illegal.

Charles Leclerc: Rules are rules, and we respect them

Having lost out on his sixth place finish as a result of the excessive wear under his Ferrari, Leclerc said there had never been any inkling that something was wrong as he explained Ferrari had had no signs of wearing more than expected throughout Friday and Saturday’s running – including the sprint race.

“Just when they told me that we were illegal, basically,” he told Sky F1, when asked when he had been told there may be an issue with his SF-23.

“Before that, yeah we did not expect that because Friday we did it and we had nowhere [near as bad wear].

“Saturday, very little [wear], so we were really confident that Sunday’s race would be fine but, when we are speaking about such small numbers, anything could have made a difference – a kerb ridden a bit more in an aggressive way or whatever so…

“But, in the end, rules are rules and we need to respect them. So I understand we had to be disqualified, that’s clear. It’s just a shame. But it’s life.”

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Asked whether he knew by how much his car had failed the plank test, Leclerc smiled.

“I know by how much but I don’t know if I’m allowed to disclose it because it was so little!” he said. “But it’s just frustrating.”

Asked whether he felt the plank and the ride height had given his car any performance gain whatsoever, Leclerc echoed the thoughts of fellow disqualification Hamilton, as he said: “Trust me, this doesn’t give us any kind of performance, because we are speaking about things that they are numbers you can calculate.

“I mean,maybe I went wide on one kerb and went a bit too far and that’s enough to make that difference.

“So it’s nothing worrying in terms of performance. We haven’t seen a better performance because of that, not at all. It’s just a shame because we go out of the weekend without any points apart from Saturday’s points. And this is obviously a big pain.”

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