Drivers warn more controversy could await F1 at the Brazilian Grand Prix

Michelle Foster
Mercedes' George Russell pictured ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix.

Mercedes' George Russell pictured ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix.

George Russell has warned Formula 1 could be in for yet more controversy in Brazil after his teammate Lewis Hamilton was disqualified from the last Sprint weekend when his W14 failed a post-race inspection.

Formula 1’s penultimate Sprint weekend took place at the United States Grand Prix and ended with Hamilton and Charles Leclerc being disqualified after their cars failed a post-race inspection with the planks less than the required 9mm in thickness.

Hamilton and Toto Wolff blamed the Sprint format, revealing Mercedes had not found any issues with the plank after the weekend’s only practice hour on Friday and therefore continued with the set-up as it was.

George Russell’s warning ahead of Friday’s sole practice in Brazil

However, putting in lap after lap on the extremely bumpy Circuit of the Americas with a heavy fuel load, the Briton’s plank suffered extensive wear leading to his disqualification.

Hamilton maintains other cars would’ve also been illegal had the FIA checked more than just the four cars they chose to inspect.

His teammate Russell is worried the issue could arise again this weekend as not only is the Brazilian Grand Prix a Sprint weekend but the Interlagos circuit is known for its bumpy surface.

“It’s going to be really challenging and this is going to be a big issue with the Sprint race weekend,” he said as per motorsportweek.com.

“As we said in Austin, we ended practice, we did our checks, there was no wear, so we thought we’re in the clear and then, a small change of wind direction, putting 100 kilos of fuel in the car for the first time, some laps in traffic, some laps not in traffic in a really bumpy circuit, we suddenly found ourselves with an issue we weren’t expecting.

“I’ve got to be honest, on a track like this, some teams may find themselves in the same place, so that’s just part of a game in a Sprint race.”

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Alpine’s Esteban Ocon agrees it could be an issue, especially as there is performance to be gained the closer the car sits to the ground.

“Well, I think every team knows how they are after the races, because they can check the planks every time,” Ocon said. “You know, there’s a performance factor in that, for sure.

“You have to be legal, that is the rule, it’s not an easy task. Because obviously you have only one session, you don’t really do long runs in P1.

“And yeah, I mean, it can happen to everyone, I would say, what has happened in Austin, but hopefully it won’t happen to us.

“And yeah, hopefully, there will be no mistakes like that because we’ve paid the price in Baku already, in one of the years, this year actually. So yeah, it’s one of the goals this weekend.”

Alpine pulled their cars off the grid at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix to make set-up changes as they were worried the cars would have issues with the ride height.

He’s called on the FIA to do additional checks, saying every one of the top ten should be inspected.

“I think all the top 10… everyone that gets a reward should be checked at the end of the race. I mean, I remember that’s how it was in go-karts,” he added.

“Everyone that was scoring points, or at least all the podium-scorers, they were getting checked after the race. I’m sure if more cars would’ve been checked, there would’ve been more issues.”

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