George Russell, Mercedes, Circuit of the Americas, 2023

Feedback from rivals suggests many other cars were illegal after US GP – Wolff

Formula 1

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff believes the FIA overlooked many cars which would have failed the same inspection as Lewis Hamilton’s at the end of the United States Grand Prix.

Hamilton’s car was one of four which was checked at the end of Sunday’s race. He was disqualified because the plank underneath his car was worn beneath the minimum limit of nine millimetres. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was also disqualified from seventh place.

However 13 cars which finished the race were not subjected to the same inspection. Hamilton said yesterday he believes many of those cars were also outside the rules, a view Wolff said he shares.

“That’s the feedback we got from the other teams,” Wolff told Sky. “Obviously they’re chatting with each other, the drivers, and also on a management level. I think many many teams were probably under the nine mil[limetres].”

Mercedes introduced a new floor design for their car last weekend. Wolff said the sprint race format, which limits teams to a single practice session, made it difficult to judge whether they had got their car’s ride height correct with the new design.

“The problem with the sprint races is the car goes into parc ferme and you can’t adjust it any more,” he said. “We thought on Saturday that it could be on the limit but probably with a little bit of a margin.

“But we had a new floor, we got more downforce. Probably also in the sprint race we didn’t run as much non-DRS laps which smashed the floor more so it was the stars were not aligned.”

The new floor “played an element”, he added “we got more downforce, which is the positive, and you’re smashing the car on the bumps a little bit more.”

He is convinced the problem won’t recur over the remaining races. “It was absolutely specific [to Austin] and also because of the sprint race weekend so we were more cautious now we have the data and we probably can adjust a little bit.”

However he defended the team’s aggressive approach to maximising its new floor design, after Hamilton finished closer to Max Verstappen than he had all season.

“I would take the same thing [again] and I would also take the disqualification because we got it wrong. I take a disqualification running for a race win and seeing the performance against running P3 and ending up 25 seconds adrift. So every day of the week, I’ll go through the disqualification.”

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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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8 comments on “Feedback from rivals suggests many other cars were illegal after US GP – Wolff”

  1. Well, I guess the teams are free to announce their cars having been illegal too and request the FIA stikes them from the race results – I’m sure all of them checked their own cars after the race and they know what the limit is.

    If this is an attempt to change the rules and allow fiddling with the setup during the sprint weekends, just say so openly Toto.

    1. all teams know the limit. odd to think different. and other cars probably would have failed also.

      btw: why is it always, the anti fans address teamchefs and drivers directly? you can identify 90 pct of stupid hate comment just bases on that.

      1. If anything bascb’s comments seem neutral!

  2. Robert Henning
    27th October 2023, 22:07

    Your previous response was right Toto. But you couldn’t help yourself could you?

    Toto has probably had the biggest reputation downfall in my eyes. Never seen such a big downfall. I have doubts on if he’s any better than James. Who knows maybe the banker comments from Horner were true.

  3. more downforce than they were expecting from the new floor, nice :)

  4. Where’s the actual proof?

    1. Where’s the actual proof?

      In a Texas landfill?

  5. Ferrari had the same infringement, yet we have a thousand quotes and articles only from team Merc, muddying the waters while whining about other cars and fairness.

    Sure you can ask if more cars should be checked if the percentage of cars failing scrutiny is 50%. But that doesn’t make Hamilton’s car less illegal after the USGP.

    At the end of the day everybody is made to feel sorry for Merc (by Merc themselves), for being unfairly treated by the system and even for the system being unfair to them. It’s the system everybody signed up for and for sure it can be improved, but don’t blame it on the weekend the outcome doesn’t suit you.

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