FIA explains why conducting a full post-race legality check on every car is “impossible”

Formula 1

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The FIA has addressed criticism of its post-race legality checks following the disqualifications of Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc from last weekend’s United States Grand Prix.

The Mercedes and Ferrari drivers were stripped of their second and sixth place finishes respectively after the FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer discovered the legality planks on the underside of their cars were worn beneath the permitted minimum. The disqualifications were announced over three-and-a-half hours after the race finished.

However documents issued by the FIA revealed it only inspected the planks on four of the race’s 17 finishers. As two of those four were found in breach of the regulations, the compliance of the other 13 cars has been questioned.

Ahead of the 19th round of the world championship in Mexico this weekend the FIA has addressed some of the questions raised over how it conducts legality checks.

“A series of random checks are carried out every weekend on different areas of the cars,” it said in a statement issued on Thursday. “This process has been in place for many decades, and exists to ensure compliance with the regulations by virtue of the fact that the teams do not know before the race which specific areas of which cars might be examined beyond the standard checks carried out on every car each weekend (such as the fuel sample taken from all cars after each grand prix).”

Teams know that “any part of the car could be checked at any time” and, as breaches of the technical regulations usually lead to disqualification, the threat of a check is a strong deterrent.

In the case of last week’s race, the four cars chosen at random to have their planks inspected were those of the drivers who finished first (Max Verstappen), second (Hamilton), third (Lando Norris) and sixth (Leclerc).

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The same checks are not necessarily carried out each weekend. The United States Grand Prix was the first time in five races any plank inspections had been carried out. None were performed after the previous day’s sprint race, nor either of the races in Qatar, nor the Japanese Grand Prix. The last such checks occured in Singapore where the cars of Verstappen and Fernando Alonso were examined.

But the cars’ planks are only one of many parts inspected or tested after grands prix or sprint races. The full list of post-race inspections carried out after the United States Grand Prix (below) contains dozens of checks.

The FIA noted the number of checks it can carry out is limited by the length of time available after the race, particularly when teams need to send their cars on to another venue the following weekend, as was the case on Sunday.

“In conducting these tests, a huge amount of work goes on in the limited time available after a grand prix finishes and before the cars need to be returned to their teams for disassembly and transportation to the next race,” it said. “However, even though a wide array of checks are made, it is impossible to cover every parameter of every car in the short time available – and this is especially true of back-to-back race weekends when freight deadlines must also be considered.

“This is why the process of randomly selecting a number of cars for post-race scrutineering across various aspects of the regulations is so valuable. Each team is aware that selection is possible and understand that the chance of any lack of compliance being uncovered is strong.”

In 2021, the FIA introduced a new element to its post-race checks. It now has the power to conduct a further, more rigorous inspection of any car it chooses.

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“These ‘deep dives’ are invasive and often require the disassembly of significant components that are not regularly checked due to the time it takes to carry out the procedure,” the FIA explained. “This process involves comparing the physical components with CAD files the teams are required to supply to the FIA, as well as verification of team data that is constantly monitored by the FIA’s software engineers.”

The last of these took place following the Japanese Grand Prix, on Hamilton’s car. The FIA’s documents indicate this involved a physical inspection of the “brake circuits and brake pressure distribution, the rear brake control system including all attached sensors, their loom routing and connections to the SECU and other units and its fail safe mode.”

These relatively new additional checks have not, to date, uncovered any infringements. However as Sunday’s race showed, the possibility remains. The FIA believes its process achieves the balance of “acting as a serious deterrent while being practically achievable within the logistical framework of a grand prix weekend.”

2023 United States Grand Prix post-race checks

The following cars were weighed:

1. Red Bull Racing RBPT – Max Verstappen
11. Red Bull Racing RBPT – Sergio Perez
16. Ferrari – Charles Leclerc
55. Ferrari – Carlos Sainz Jnr
63. Mercedes – George Russell
44. Mercedes – Lewis Hamilton
10. Alpine Renault – Pierre Gasly
4. McLaren Mercedes – Lando Norris
77. Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari – Valtteri Bottas
24. Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari – Zhou Guanyu
18. Aston Martin Mercedes – Lance Stroll
20. Haas Ferrari – Kevin Magnussen
27. Haas Ferrari – Nico Hulkenberg
3. AlphaTauri RBPT – Daniel Ricciardo
22. AlphaTauri RBPT – Yuki Tsunoda
23. Williams Mercedes – Alexander Albon
2. Williams Mercedes – Logan Sargeant

The steering wheel of all classified cars has been checked.

The following aerodynamic component or bodywork areas were checked on car numbers 11, four and 22:

– Floor body – TR article 3.5.1
– Floor fences – TR article 3.5.2
– Floor edge Wing – TR article 3.5.3
– Nose – TR article 3.6.1
– Forward chassis – TR article 3.6.2
– Mid chassis – TR article 3.6.3
– Mirror housing – TR article 3.6.4
– Sidepod – TR article 3.7.1
– Coke panel – TR article 3.7.2
– Engine cover – TR article 3.7.3
– Front wing profiles – TR article 3.9.1
– Front wing endplate body – TR article 3.9.2
– Front wing tip – TR article 3.9.3
– Front wing dive plane – TR article 3.9.4
– Front wing endplate – TR article 3.9.5
– Rear wing profiles – TR article 3.10.1
– Rear wing endplate Body – TR article 3.10.4
– Rear wing tip – TR article 3.10.5
– Rear wing endplate – TR article 3.10.7

A physical floor and a plank wear inspection was carried out on car numbers one, 16, 44 and four.

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The engine high rev limit bands were checked on all cars.
The oil consumption was checked on all cars.
The plenum temperature was checked on all cars.
The IVT temperatures were checked on all cars.
The ES state of charge on-track limits were checked on all cars.
The lap energy release and recovery limits were checked on all cars.
The MGU-K power limits were checked on all cars.
The maximum MGU-K speed was checked on all cars.
The maximum MGU-K torque was checked on all cars.
The maximum MGU-H speed was checked on all cars.
The session type has been confirmed for all cars.
Chassis FIA checksum was checked on all cars taking part in the race.
The torque coordinator demands were checked on all cars.
The torque control was checked on all cars.
The rear brakes pressure control was checked on all cars.
The brake temperature warnings were checked on all cars.
The race start data of all cars have been checked.
Single clutch paddle use for the race start has been checked on all cars.
The MGU-K use at the race start was checked on all cars.
It was checked on all cars that the ES was not charged while the car was stationary in the pits.
It was checked that no classified car exceeded 80 km/h when leaving the formation grid prior to the start of the race.
It was verified on all cars that the PCU dash display configuration was not changed during parc ferme.
The tyre starting pressures of all cars during the race were checked.
The tyres used by all drivers during the race today have been checked.
The fuel pressure of all cars during the race was checked.
The logged pressure within the engine cooling system during the race was checked on all cars.
Fuel flow meter calibration checksums were checked on all cars.
The instantaneous fuel mass flow of car numbers all cars was checked.
The fuel temperature of car all cars was checked.
A fuel sample was taken from car number 55.
The fuel samples have been checked for density and analysed by gas chromatography.
The results of all the fuel analyses show that the fuels were the same as ones, which had been approved for use by the relevant competitors prior to the Competition.
Further the density change of the fuel samples taken today was within the permitted limits.
An engine oil sample was taken from car number 55.
The engine oil samples have been analysed by FTIR spectroscopy and viscometry.
The results of the FTIR analyses show that the sampled oils were consistent with reference engine oil samples which had been approved for use by the relevant competitors prior to the competition.

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2023 United States Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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82 comments on “FIA explains why conducting a full post-race legality check on every car is “impossible””

  1. The 3 podium places and pole sitter is NOT a random selection

    1. FIA never chooses randomly based on final positions, so of course the ones chosen after the last race were equally random.

    2. Keep in mind that the FIA first selected 4 teams (possibly at random), and then chose one car from each of those teams (probably at random). It’s rare in modern F1 that 4 different teams achieve these particular pole/finishing positions, so this particular spread of results makes it seem less random – so if the pole sitter had finished the race on the podium, suddenly the car/team selection wouldn’t look so ‘deliberate’ would it?
      Even if it doesn’t seem random, it can still be at least partially random – but ultimately it doesn’t need to be. The FIA reserves the right to inspect any car they wish.

      Think about it. If you were in the FIA’s position and had only limited resources to conduct post-race technical inspections, wouldn’t you favour choosing the fastest ones which performed the best and achieved the most over the course of the event?
      They are, after all, the most likely ones to benefit from breaching the rules…

    3. Do you also object to the following?

      “The following aerodynamic component or bodywork areas were checked on car numbers 11, four and 22…”

      “A fuel sample was taken from car number 55.”
      “An engine oil sample was taken from car number 55.”

      1. The FIA giving car numbers make it appear random, but one needs to look further at the race finishing order.

        So Norris (3rd) & Perez (4th) plus Tsunoda (8th) had their oil checked.
        Ignore fuel samples, all cars are checked.

        1. “The FIA giving car numbers make it appear random”

          Eh?! Pesky FIA giving car numbers!

      2. You can’t look at a single instance of anything and determine if it’s random or not.
        You can roll a D20 four times and the sequence of values 1, 2, 3, 4 is as likely as any other sequence.

        1. “You can roll a D20 four times and the sequence of values 1, 2, 3, 4 is as likely as any other sequence.”

          Any other particular sequence.

          There are 7,315 ways of picking four competitors from a pool of 22, or 2,380 ways if you take the pool of finishers (17).

          It’s a remarkable coincidence one of the tests happened to pick the eye-opening combination of 1st, 2nd, 3rd place and pole sitter. OK, you could say 1st-4th is also an eye-opening combination. Or 1st, 2nd of the sprint and 1st, 2nd of the race. But there are only a handful of eye-opening combinations, and a plenty more boring combinations.

          1. +1

            ofc it could happen by chance every few hundred years

          2. 22?! Presumably the FIA don’t have too great difficulty deciding whether to go with any of the 1330 of those 7315 combinations that have Nyck de Vries in!

        2. Dusty, I guess that some have wondered if the selection is truly random when looking at the distribution of the tests amongst the teams and the drivers.

          Currently, the number of times that teams have had the floor checked is as follows:
          Mercedes – 5
          Ferrari – 5
          McLaren – 2
          Red Bull – 2
          Haas – 2
          Alfa Romeo – 2
          Alpine – 1
          Aston Martin – 1
          Alpha Tauri – 0
          Williams – 0

          Strictly speaking, the above values do come with the caveat that the FIA never released the results of the post-race checks for the Austrian GP. However, the pattern of testing across the season as a whole suggests that the FIA probably didn’t carry out any tests at all on the floor of the car for that race.

          As things stand, Perez, Piastri, Gasly, Stroll, Albon, Tsunoda, Magnussen, Sargeant and de Vries/Lawson/Ricciardo have not had their cars checked for floor wear at any point during this season (i.e. half the field has not been subjected to any checks).

          The total number of tests is small, but you can see why it might have made some wonder if the testing is completely random. Only three teams have had both cars checked – Ferrari, Mercedes and Alfa Romeo – during the season, and the number of tests for Mercedes and Ferrari is equal to that of the rest of the field combined.

  2. well FIA let me explain – it’s because you have an idiotic 1,000,000 tiny tiny little specifications and a PLANK that was invented in 1650 if not 1050 or actually BC

    1. It’s not an actual plank, although it used to be. For some years it’s been made from a composite material and a titanium skid-plate.

      1. From the 2023 Technical Regulations, section 3.5.9 –

        h. The material of the plank is free, but it must be homogeneous with a specific gravity
        between 1.3 and 1.45, or if pocketed be made from a bonded assembly the upper
        0.5mm of which must have a specific gravity of between 1.3 and 1.65 and the
        remainder, excluding pockets, be made from an homogeneous material with a specific
        gravity of between 1.3 and 1.45.

        Also, to clear up any confusion about what is measured, it is the plank itself, not the skid plate(s) –

        e. The thickness of the plank assembly measured normal to the lower surface must be
        10mm ± 0.2mm and must be uniform when new. A minimum thickness of 9mm will be
        accepted due to wear, and conformity to this provision will be checked at the
        peripheries of the designated holes.
        f. The plank assembly must have four precisely placed holes the positions of which are
        given by RV-PLANK. To establish the conformity of the plank assembly after use, its
        thickness will only be measured at these holes, regardless of whether plank or skid
        material is present.
        Four additional 10mm diameter holes are permitted provided their sole purpose is to
        allow access to the bolts which secure the Accident Data Recorder to the survival cell.

        1. thank you, yes they can’t even make their plank simple, that’s how ridiculous it is, when teams all measure ground clearance instantly in real time with omg data directly from one of those new fangled 21st century devices. OR they could measure what they actually care about, the ground impacts or cornering G, if they even quite remember

          But the whole idea of having checks they can’t do on all the cars is so dumb, if it was in a movie plot you wouldn’t believe it would you, you’d say it was made up to have tension and get the hero or villain caught or let off (whichever). Look at that list. They must have whole meetings for making up cunning new regulations they can only test some cars for, 10 before coffee and 10 more before they’re let out

          1. The last change and more detailed specs of some parts were made after RB and Ferrari were suspected to have done something clever with springs / flex parts to avoid wear of the front section of the plank @zann.

            The reason these things are so specific is almost always due to past attempts by teams to game the system and disputes about measuring where teams complained about measurements not being accurate.

          2. well @BasCB yes the plank. PLANK. Originally they put it in to slow the cars down apparently, to limit ground effect. And now they want ground effect but they liked their plank soooo much they left it on. And now it’s to protect the drivers from grounding impacts apparently but…

            what is it that hits the ground and delivers the impacts? Quelle surprise, c’est la planche!

            And I’m reading they’ve even said they don’t really need to measure them all because they have sensors anyway, to tell them whether the … plank… needs measuring. A device that’s so primitive it’s used to describe people who are thick as one

            obviously FIA is run by a committee, only explanation

    2. Coventry Climax
      26th October 2023, 14:45

      Also, they explain about a post race check, where it actually should be a combined pre and post race check.

  3. Checks for each track action day are always (except on the most recent Austrian GP race day) viewable in event-specific document sections on the official FIA site.
    I’m always surprised they never check weights for cars retired into the pit lanes, even though mechanics or scrutineers can simply move those cars into the weighing bridge afterwards.

    1. I’m always surprised they never check weights for cars retired into the pit lanes, even though mechanics or scrutineers can simply move those cars into the weighing bridge afterwards.

      If the car isn’t classified as a finisher, it really doesn’t matter if it is legal or not, @jerejj.

      1. Coventry Climax
        26th October 2023, 14:51

        Yes it does, as it may be cause to check the other car of the same team as well. I don’t know if they do this, but they also shouldn’t stop at the first fault they find. For me, that would be an incentive to look further.
        This is given the way they conduct it now, but I would rather see that system of checking for legality completely overhauled.

        1. Yes it does, as it may be cause to check the other car of the same team as well.

          If the FIA had sufficient reason to check the other car, then they’d just do that. Whether the first one is classified or not is completely irrelevant. Scrutineering is the process of performing technical checks on cars, not teams.

          I would rather see that system of checking for legality completely overhauled.

          It’s funny how many people suddenly started saying that this week, but have never expressed any opinion on the matter before. The system hasn’t changed – every team knows how it works and that they could be selected at any time for any test – which is why it has worked sufficiently well for so long, and will continue to in the future.

          And @jerejj – if a car had been classified as a finisher at the end of the race and later found to be in breach of the regulations, then the only consequence is for that car (and that car alone) to be disqualified and excluded from the results. The FIA can’t exclude a car during a session without evidence that it is running in a illegal state (which they can only discover in post-race scrutineering) – nor can they, or would they ever, consider any form of compensation to other competitors for that car being on track ‘affecting others.’
          They are innocent until proven guilty (post race).

        2. Why would you check the car that did not finish, when you can instead also check the car of the same team that did finish?

      2. S, Coventry Climax already covered up well, but while you have a point in that a non-finisher is less relevant than a finisher, being underweight would still matter because until retiring, that car would’ve been illegal anyway & thus possibly impacted some drivers’ opportunities for higher finishing positions in some scenarios.

      3. I rather think the issue is not so much about the relevance, but rather about the measurement being rather imprecise. How do you measure the exact weight and take a fuel sample of a car that crashed, smattered pieces all around the race track and its fluids ran away?

        Although there is a good point that there is not much sense to look at whether a car should be disqualified for running unconform when it did not finish the race anyway (although we’ve seen cars getting awarded points in the past despite not making it to the finish line.)

    2. Coventry Climax
      26th October 2023, 15:01

      That’s -sorry to say- rather silly. They wan’t a massive fan base, which inherently means a big percentage of that has no clue of what goes on behind the scenes, and certainly show no interest of finding, let alone reading, such vast, boring documents.
      Who was it again, that said something like the die-hard fan is just a minority that shouldn’t be heeded too much? Who else but the die hard fan would read these things? Why, if that’s what they think, even bother with creating and publishing such documents?
      And then these documents prove to be, incomplete where everything that can be checked should be checked, and not -apparently- even published consistently at each and every occasion.

    3. More fundamentally Jere, if the car retires, it will have plenty of fuel still on board, so would easily pass the minimum weight test. And there’s no point in the FIA draining a theoretical quantity of fuel out to weigh what it might have been at the end of its hypothetical race.

  4. I learned my assumption the plank was checked after each race was wrong.

    I’m curious if LH pace was due to a floor car and if GR plank had been checked would he have passed?

    I assume the teams all check their planks after each race, so it must be a team secret when they would of failed.

    Would it be a burden to have the teams present their planks to the FIA after each race as part of their car tear down?

    1. Would it be a burden to have the teams present their planks to the FIA after each race as part of their car tear down?

      Of course it would. That’s one reason why they don’t do it.
      The whole point of the parc ferme and post-race inspection process is that the teams don’t touch the car before the FIA can. They need to know exactly what competed in the event – not what gets presented to them an hour later.

    2. It should be mandatory for that to happen, it is ridiculous it is not. We may as well just get rid of the planks if they’re not going to check them.

  5. FIA tries to bury the selective plank checks under a ton of other checks that suddenly materialise.

    The biggest bump in Austin is the one being swept under the carpet.
    And we can still see it.

  6. What’s weird to me is that the plank Lewis and Charles were DQ’d for is a supposed safety thing. Why wouldn’t you check a safety thing on every car?

  7. F1 really need to work on their press releases! People are rightly confused and questioning why only 4 cars got the plank checked after the race. The response of “oh we actually haven’t checked any planks in months” just doesn’t sit right.

    Ultimately, points this season are meaningless. I’m not personally bothered by Hamilton or Leclerc being disqualified, so now feels like a time to discuss this without driver bias. I actually agree that if they were out the rules they should be disqualified. What I feel is wrong is how we don’t know if any drivers got away with it. Sainz potentially gained a podium when he too could have been over the wear limit. Russell promoted two places when logic would suggest he’d be right on the limit too.

    Why not check more cars for wear if 50% of the sample failed a test?! Anyone can understand that’s unusual and likely caused by the bumpy circuit. Not knowing if drivers got a free pass is frustrating.

    The fact that these questions exist just isn’t good enough. I understand the threat of being inspected makes teams comply, but surely we need to remove all doubt, hire more staff and fully check every car.

    I now question how many results have come down to luck and simply not being checked.

    Hamilton keeps P2 if he isn’t “randomly” selected. How are drivers selected as the top 3 plus pole sitter doesn’t seem random at all.

    Overall this gives me more questions than it provides answers. Classic F1!

    1. I now question how many results have come down to luck and simply not being checked.

      It’s not luck – it’s circumstance. You have every right question that – but then you also should accept the FIA’s response.
      There’s a possibility that at least a few cars are run in an illegal state at every event. This possibility has been present for a very long time – it hasn’t suddenly appeared this year.
      Random (and targeted) checks are the next best thing to checking everyone and everything all the time (which is obviously logistically unfeasible, especially so with the complexity of the current machines).

      Comparing with the wider sporting world – the same is true in other sports too. Not every competitor is checked for everything at every competitive event. Random checks are extremely common. The standard, actually.

      All of this nonsense comes back to the teams not seeing the consequences of breaching the rules as sufficient deterrent. Exactly the same as track limits.
      If you want to ensure you are within the rules, then leave just a little extra margin for error. If you don’t, then accept the consequences.

    2. Why not check more cars for wear if 50% of the sample failed a test?!

      You need to keep in mind that the teams will start taking the cars that are not selected apart right away, so those cars will be in bits if FIA wants to test them anyway later.

      They probably also only check one car per team, so the engineers can start to take apart the other one right away.

  8. Something they don’t say is that since Liberty took over the amount of time the FIA have to perform checks has actually got shorter.

    Race start time for instance were moved an hour later in 2018 and of course as the calender has expanded and the number of double/triple headers has increased this also gives less time due to extra pressure on everyone to ship out to the race next weekend.

    Maybe it’s because it’s something fans generally don’t see been done so it’s something they don’t think about but to look at every element of a car takes a significant amount of time & if they were to check everything they would need to on every car they would be there for several hours & there simply isn’t time after a GP to do that.

    It’s always been the threat on a random check that has acted as a sort of self policing as they say in the article. But in I think it was 2018/19 for reasons I mention in terms of extra time constraints more emphasis was placed on the teams to self police more areas.

    1. Actually should also be noted that it’s actually not that different in other categories.

      You have the big races like Daytona, Indy & Le Mans where the scrutineering process is made a big deal and they do look at every car in more detail and more in the public view. But on normal race weekends things tend to be more selective & of course when things are more spec there is a bit less to check so it takes less time anyway.

    2. @gt-racer have there not also been rumours that Sulayem has been cutting back on the number of FIA staff supporting the races, given his announcement in late 2022 that he wanted the FIA to improve it’s profitability?

      There has certainly been the allegation that part of the reason for the delays in track limit infringements being detected is because the FIA have reduced the number of staff in race control, leaving the remaining staff overloaded.

    3. I have shot air guns for a number of years. Before a competition certain checks have to be carried out (the force required for the trigger to be fired being a prime example.) At the end of the competition, random checks on the trigger force are carried out and if you fail, it’s a DSQ. There isn’t any need to check all competitors as the selection is completely random and that is enough incentive to stay within the rules. F1 need to be careful that they are being TRULY random (in addition to the top 3 cars probably) so that the teams at the lower end of the points don’t feel sufficient incentive to bend the rules knowing they are very unlikely to be checked.

  9. Seems a load of rubbish that 16 other cars could have been in breach and they were not checked when you have disqualified 2 cars. If any issue is found on one car that results in a disqualification then all cars should have that item checked. It is unacceptable to disqualify drivers for technical infringements then say you haven’t checked every other drivers car. At a bare minimum I would expect all points scoring cars to have the same checks completed in the event of a disqualification. I would say this regardless of the drivers involved as it’s clearly not right.

    Boasting that this has always been the case doesn’t excuse the fact that the process is clearly not fair or right. How many people before this weekend knew that it was standard practice for the FIA to not even measure the plank wear on ANY cars at some races.

    1. If you bake in this idea about holding all cars in parc ferme in the event that you need to check every car, then the FIA won’t be able to release the cars until the next day. I don’t think that’s fair on the mechanics, nor doable with the tight schedules that we new have in f1.

      1. I don’t consider that a suitable justification for them not doing their job properly. If the schedule is too tight then change the schedule.

        1. You can’t change the schedule when you have things like triple headers. And it’s extremely unforgiving on all the mechanics who’ll have to spend even more days away from home. You can’t hold all cars in parc ferme for extended periods of time. It’s not viable.

          The checks aren’t perfect, but they never can be. You can’t do a full inspection of every car every weekend.

          1. You could if they hired more staff, or reduce the components that are to be checked each week and make a random selection from the long list as the race finishes, and then do those few checks on all cars.

          2. As highlighted above, don’t do back to back weekends, hire more staff, reduce some of the regulatory burden if there’s too much to check. There is a long list of things they could easily achieve before we get to the lets just not bother checking.

    2. Boasting that this has always been the case doesn’t excuse the fact that the process is clearly not fair or right.

      It does, actually, because it is. All the teams know everything about this process. It hasn’t changed, and it isn’t targeted at any particular competitor/s. It couldn’t be more fair or right, even if the FIA were completely disassembling and measuring every facet of every car after every competitive session.

      If any part of any car does not meet the technical regulations upon post-race inspection, it is entirely that team’s fault. No ifs, buts or maybes.

    3. Indeed, I would check all cars that scored points and then depending on how many disqualified, every other car that got into the points benefitting from dqs, until all cars have been checked or at least all cars in the points complied.

  10. Comments like “People are rightly confused and questioning why only 4 cars got the plank checked after the race.” only applies to people who don’t read FIA documents they release over the weekend, and/or are not fully aware of the sporting and technical regulations. My advice would be to read them, before dumbfounding about certain procedures which have been in places for years.

    1. Yes, because every fan of F1 wants to sit and read hundreds of pages of technical rules and regulations before they can enjoy a race. Rules and regulations which may I add which aren’t even always followed…

      I think people have the right to be confused. It’s an issue which doesn’t always come up. Fans of a year or less probably haven’t even seen a disqualification. Anyone with a functioning brain can see that testing only 4 cars could be unfair. The old mentality of “it’s been that way for years” is the ultimate denial. What about progress? Why should we stick to old practices which are possibly unfair?

      If every F1 fan needs to ready every document and rule book released before enjoying a race then that’s not a viable product.

      1. It is a viable product. There’s just basic practicalities. F1 has always been a complex sport. The sport is an engineering one as much as anything. To inspect every car post race would be unviable. You have to do it like this because there’s not enough time in a week, let alone a day to do a full inspection. Almost all motorsport works like this.

        It took the FIA months to inspect a fuel flow sensor don’t forget.

        The way it works now is pretty much the best compromise. It isn’t unfair because over the year it evens out. Especially in an era of 24 races per year and increasing concerns over mechanics well-being.

        If there’s any major concerns about legality, then the FIA has mechanisms for teams to alert them via protests etc…

      2. The old mentality of “it’s been that way for years” is the ultimate denial. What about progress?

        This is not what I meant. “Its been like this for years ” means you had more than enough time to read/familiarize the rulebook, since the rules never change. The question/debate it * should* be changed, is a different matter.

        1. Rules never change?
          They change them all the time. And therein lies the core issue.

          I would argue there are far too many rules now, so inevitably we get ridiculous situations like this.

  11. The problem for me isn’t the random checks. It’s that after random checks targeted checks aren’t done.

    Once the floor was found to be outside of the regulations on one of a teams cars the other should automatically be checked.

  12. FIA explains why conducting a full post-race legality check on every car is “impossible”

    To misquote a little:

    “The FIA doth protest too much, methinks”

    1. Not really. they are explaining basic scrutineering protocol.

      1. Not really.

        If you look at most of the nice long list, it automated data collection with, no doubt, automated alarm levels to identify non-compliance.
        They are defending their position by giving a long list of things that are checked, but most of it doesn’t require a human to process.

        I’d more inclined to agree with their position if they gave details of the time it takes to carry out the non-automated testing. Throwing up chaff by listing the automated test as part of their workload just makes me suspicious of what they are really doing.
        I monitor thousands of items 24/7, but I only need to use my time and effort to skim through current status during the working day and respond to alert messages for serious problems 24/7 (on a rota)

  13. It is much more likely that a component will not be checked than it is for it to be checked.

    Some would argue that that isn’t much of a deterrent to those who might seek to exploit the fact that, say, on a circuit with a huge importance on aerodynamic grip you could drop the ride height just a tiny bit and accept the risk if its a bit too much.

    1. Especially for teams usually not in the points! They have much less to lose, first of all see this race, they only checked the top cars for planks, and second a team like haas usually doesn’t get points, so less risk of wasting them.

  14. The real reason that all cars aren’t checked is because the entire field in a race could be disqualified. It’s 2023, the technology exists to check all cars very quickly.

    1. No it doesn’t. Full inspection would take days (actually months if full investigations have to take place). You have flex tests, dimension test, plank tests, fuel tests…. you have literally thousands upon thousands of components that could be checked. These don’t take 5 minutes. They all need to be done in very controlled and consistent conditions.

      1. ofc planks could be checked on all cars within 1 hour. at least of those scoring points.

        1. Yes, should check all of the points scorer, and then the new points scorer like sargeant who inherited the points after other cars got disqualified like in this case.

        2. scorers*

  15. Coventry Climax
    26th October 2023, 14:26

    Well, it is very road relevant: As long as you don’t get caught, you can park anywhere, speed where you like, bully other drivers, have your car exceed all the specs it’s supposed to adhere to.
    The difference is there’s millions of cars around and just 20 of them, very special cases that aren’t road legal, take up competition in an FiA organised sports championship. As it happens to be, one of the most expensive sports around.
    At this level, with all the money going round in it, you’d expect that all the rules that are prescribed, can be enforced, checked and -if applicable- sanctioned.
    The FiA however has rules they can’t check, and certainly not consistently, for lack of technical knowledge and/or manpower. That is, I’d say, a matter of money; hiring people, buying knowledge and get facilities in place. If 20 cars can be checked simultaniously, by an army of technicians with clear cut test descriptions and the right tools for the job, all cars can be tested within say, two hours. That’s not an amount of time that is necessarily disruptive to a race weekend.
    This is a matter of choice and willingness.
    It’s a situation of ‘You can’t do that’, and they all know, but hey, who’s gonna check? I know this has been the situation already from since the fifties, probably. But you’d expect this too to have matured over the years, and frankly, given it’s been around for so long already, for the current age and level of what’s at stake, this is plain unacceptable.
    Either invest in getting it right and fixed, or stop having rules you can’t -or won’t- check anyway.
    It’s not just this, it track limits as well, which is quite a decent example actually.

    The way of dealing with it in the press, seems a rather contagious F1 virus. It’s affected Pirelli for ages already; come up with all sorts of lame excuses whenever you’re caught stepping in the dung you either put there yourself or simply failed to recognise and clear before the event.

    In the real world that’s called amateuristic. But at least there there’s the excuse of lack of money and volunteers instead of professionals having to do the job.

    1. To test all cars in 2 hours.

      All defection tests. All dimensional tests. All internal component checks, including engine break down. All sensor checks. All fuel checks. All in a controlled environment. It’s not viable. You need another paddock with individual building each equipped with scrutineering equipment. all done in 2 hours? No chance, we’re talking days, weeks if not months. It took the FIA months to investigate one team’s fuel flow sensor.

      1. But to test all planks would not take 2 hours.

        And this particular issue is not about fuel sensors, and not about “all internal components” either.
        The disqualifications were because of planks.

        Sorry for ripping up the carpet again.
        There’s just a large Austin bump swept under it.

      2. Coventry Climax
        26th October 2023, 17:11

        Well, if you have to check all those by hand, and decide among eachother and on the spot which ones you will check and which ones you won’t, yes it will take time.

        But they should think of these things beforehand: Come up with a rule? Then come up with the means to easily and quickly check it too, and that’s where the FiA systematically failed.
        Yes it takes effort, personnel. And yes, it takes means too, the tools. Given the money available in F1, that’s just a matter of choice.
        But come up with a rule and leave out the other part? Most would be fired instantly at work for that.

  16. Still, 2 cars out of 4 failed. That’s a 50% fail rate. At the very least I would consider checking the failed cars’ team-mates, provided they didn’t DNF.

    1. Exactly this. I don’t have heartburn that they select a subset of cars to run certain tests on. That is standard quality control practice. What I do have heartburn with is they seem to not be able to react to test results as they come in. If all four planks had failed, would they then test the rest of the field? At what point does it trigger a larger examination of the grid for a systematic breach of the rules? Right now it seems like there is no trigger and that is not good quality control.

    2. Coventry Climax
      26th October 2023, 17:19

      But they don’t, which makes you wonder about the FiA’s cognitive capabilities.

  17. Since the teams are always in danger of being caught cheating, we can assume most infringements detected are accidental.

    1. Coventry Climax
      26th October 2023, 17:15

      Which has been going on since the start of F1, back in 1950.
      73 years of not being able to tackle an issue makes me say the FiA are the issue.

  18. Gavin Campbell
    26th October 2023, 18:11

    This literally doesn’t answer the criticism. We understand the random checks and why they are a pragmatic and effective stewarding method.

    What people don’t understand is after 50% of planks you checked failed you didn’t check the rest of the field. These cars gain so much performance from a lower ride height the rest of the tests could of been shelved in this instance to make a proper ruling.

  19. They created the Formulae where the performance of the car is mainly established by the floor and have rules in place how it works safely under a specified height, and now, about two seasons in they say they’ve really never given any particular preference to inspecting….the floor ?

  20. the amount of checks they perform on “all cars” is astonishingly high to say it would have been impossible to conduct a plank wear check on all cars, i.e. adding one to the list

  21. What a load of BS. I cannot believe that with the time, money and tech resources available it was not possible to inspect all the cars with a first pass for this one issue, then to further scrutinise any that appeared to potentially be in breach.

    As has now been repeated many many times, this problem indicated a significant possibility – if not probability – that other cars would not be in a condition to be classified in the race. It is a nonsense that this is then ignored due to resourcing issues. They are literally saying that yes, we know other cars may not be legal, but what do you want us to do about it.

    It such a different scenario to things like underfueling, wing defelection etc, as those are unlikely to be widespread (although I would say the same if – for some reason – the track/race was obviously pushing the fuel limits of the cars and more than one were found to be underfuelled).

  22. Qui Bono?
    In this race it was certainly not Hamilton, who had 18 points taken off him.

    Points standings without the DQ’s would have been:
    Verstappen 466
    Perez 238
    Hamilton 219

    Points standings are now instead:
    Verstappen 466
    Perez 240 (+2)
    Hamilton 201 (-18)

    Red Bull’s potential 1-2 in the drivers championship is now slightly less under threat.
    Hamilton was closing in. Now he’s another 20 points behind.

    1. Gotta agree.
      And then you watch the onboards and realise Checo went off the track – totally outside the white line – at least 16 times at Turn-whatever, where he should have been slammed with penalties all over the place.
      What footage were the stewards watching?
      It all stinks pretty bad.

  23. The same checks are not necessarily carried out each weekend. The United States Grand Prix was the first time in five races any plank inspections had been carried out.

    So it just sounds totally perverse to check at a circuit where abrasion is higher due to the state of the track and the teams had less practice time and more race time. It seems like they wanted to catch teams out, thinking they’d beb a high chance of some failing. Fine – but then it’s like casting a small net into a big shoal, not trying to find one rogue fish.

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