Brundle disagrees with Hamilton as key reason for plank wear checks emerges

Martin Brundle disagrees with Lewis Hamilton over the Mercedes driver’s disqualification at the F1 United States Grand Prix. 
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 19, United States Grand Prix, Austin, Texas, USA,
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd…

Hamilton and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc were excluded from second and sixth place respectively in Austin after their cars were found to have excessive plank wear, breaching F1’s technical regulations. 

The seven-time world champion insisted ahead of this weekend’s Mexico City Grand Prix that lowering a car’s ride height does not necessarily impact performance and claimed other unchecked cars were illegal. 

But F1 co-commentator Brundle had a different view, telling Sky: “I see it differently to Lewis, I must say, in that know that in this generation of car that started in 2022, closer to the ground means quite a bit more performance. 

“I would also like to say that I think the FIA did a tremendous job of policing the technical aspects of F1. 

“There are reasons, we understand, why they chose those two cars in the beginning to check, because of data they’d seen. They checked some others and I can’t help but think that because the teams take those planks off and they can impound them, measure them. 

“We don’t know if the rest of the field were legal or illegal. I’ve asked some of the team members and of course they all say their car is fine and the others say they aren’t sure, which is nonsense. 

“If you are a kilo underweight, or a millimetre too wide with your wings, you get thrown out of the race. That’s why those regulations are there in those two cars were outside of the regulations at the end of the grand prix.”

Second placed Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14 in parc ferme. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 19, United States
Second placed Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14 in parc ferme…

Speaking ahead of first practice at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Brundle and ex-F1 driver Jenson Button revealed that vertical oscillating data initially drew the FIA’s attention to Hamilton and Leclerc’s cars, before they also examined Max Verstappen’s Red Bull and Lando Norris’ McLaren. 

“When you see the document that comes out after the grand prix, there are over 50 checks of all the classified finishes, of which they are 17,” Brundle explained. 

“There are some random checks on other cars and it is quite time consuming and of course we do want to get a result out sooner than later, but also, you have to remember that all teams, for both of their cars, have to submit the set-up data before they go into parc ferme. 

“So they also know static ride heights and the spring rates and what have you on the field as well. There are some teams who said ‘we raised their car to be secure on this regulation and we gave away some performance’. 

“Teams went to some trouble not to fall foul of that but the FIA know what they are looking at. They can see which cars are more likely, from the set-up and the oscillation and what have you, as to which ones might be breaching the rule.”

Fellow Sky pundit Danica Patrick also disagreed with Hamilton.

“I think Charles probably handled it appropriately, because there’s nothing you can really do about making a change at this point in time - you are illegal and you are out of the race,” she said. 

“It felt like Lewis was trying to sort of build a case and save a little bit of face in it. He said it doesn’t make a difference but at the end of the day, it does. 

“That’s why the rule is in place, because lowering the car generally always makes it faster. It’s one of the most powerful tools in giving the car more grip, so I think it does make a difference. 

“Maybe it was a little bit to do with the weekend. There was one practice and a lot of parc ferme, so they weren’t able to change the car. Maybe they gambled? Maybe they didn’t know? I’m not sure."

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