FIA explain why Charles Leclerc kept his Mexico podium following investigation

Sam Cooper
Charles Leclerc

Charles Leclerc lost one of his front wing end plates early on.

Charles Leclerc has kept hold of his P3 position despite being summoned to the stewards after the Mexican GP.

Representatives of the Ferrari driver were required to visit the stewards’ room following the race in Mexico to assess whether Leclerc had been running an unsafe vehicle in the opening stages.

While Leclerc’s Turn 1 crash with Sergio Perez undoubtedly had worse consequences for the Red Bull driver, Leclerc did not come away unscathed with his front wing being damaged and a part appeared to be just barely hanging on.

Fearing a black and orange flag, which denotes a car running in an unsafe condition and requires a pit stop, Ferrari’s problem was solved when the left end plate detached from the car.

Leclerc was eventually able to change his front wing under the red flag conditions with the team predicting he was losing 10 to 15 downforce points with the damage.

But the FIA were not entirely satisfied that Ferrari was not knowingly running an unsafe car and as such, a team representative was summoned to give their side of events.

In a meeting with the stewards, technical delegate Jo Bauer, single seat director Nikolas Tombazis and the Ferrari representative, the team explained that they believed the car was safe at all times.

Looking at their data, Ferrari assessed that the wing was safe to continue and did not believe the end plate would fall off. They tried to verify this opinion with images from the TV cameras but could not find a suitable video.

That changed in lap 3 when a “serious deterioration” was spotted in the data and Ferrari were about to take action when the end plate detached.

A decision made in October 2022 by the FIA determined that the detachment of an end plate and the location of its final landing place, was not to be deemed as unsafe and therefore no penalty was required.

Leclerc then kept hold of his P3 spot and was spared any FIA drama this time round.