FIA reveal why plank checks do not take place on every car after Austin disqualifications

Michelle Foster
Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc chatting with Lewis Hamilton.

FIA explain why not every car's plank was checked in Austin.

As questions continue to be asked about why only four cars were checked in Austin, FIA technical director Tim Goss has explained checking every car would delay the race result by six to eight hours.

Earlier this month Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc were disqualified after their cars failed post-race inspections at the United States Grand Prix.

Both the W14 and SF-23 had planks that were below the minimum thickness of 9mm, prompting the FIA to check another two cars – Max Verstappen and Lando Norris’ cars – which were legal.

50 percent of the cars checked by the FIA failed the inspection

But with Hamilton declaring he’d heard from sources that other cars were also illegal, that backed up a few of his rivals saying they too may have failed the check, questions are still being asked about why only four cars were checked.

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff believes it’s because the FIA simply doesn’t have the manpower to check all 20 cars after every race.

However, Goss says even if they did have a second team to conduct the scrutineering, it would mean a huge delay in the race result being classified.

“It is beyond just sticking a ruler or depth gauge into a hole and measuring a skid thickness,” Goss explained to Sky Sports. “We actually have to disassemble part of the car, the check takes probably about half an hour to do.

“If we had two crews doing that, then what we are looking at is five hours of work to check all the cars, after which you’d be reporting cars to the stewards.

“So then maybe the race result comes out some six, seven or eight hours after the race has finished and I don’t think that is acceptable for the sport.”

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Although the FIA usually choses two cars to undergo scrutineering after a Grand Prix, in Austin four were picked.

The reason for that was after Hamilton and Leclerc’s cars failed the post-race inspection, the FIA decided to check another two carss to determine whether it was the track or those specific cars.

“We selected two cars for our post-race check and inspected those,” he said.

“The check takes a while. We found they were the wrong side of the regulations. That caused us some concern.

“What we wanted to do was try to understand whether the problem was systematic and something to do with that race, the conditions of that race, so we decided to then select another two teams, and we selected another two cars, which happened to be Verstappen and Norris, and check those.

“After we checked those two cars then we found that those two were the right side of the limit and all fine.”

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