Scuderia Ferrari director Frederic Vasseur has admitted that his team made a mistake at Sunday’s US Grand Prix by opting for a one-stop strategy for driver Charles Leclerc – who finished sixth before being disqualified – when all the other drivers made at least two stops.
This Sunday in Austin, the Monegasque started from pole position on the grid of the United States Grand Prix, but the Ferrari driver saw the McLaren of Lando Norris take the lead of the race before the first corner. Leclerc then struggled to defend himself against his rivals and slowly but surely slipped down the order at the wheel of a single-seater lacking in race pace performance.
Ferrari admits mistake with Leclerc’s strategy
To make matters worse, Ferrari opted for a one-stop strategy for Charles Leclerc in Austin, the Maranello-based team relying on data that suggested there was no difference between a one-stop and two-stop race, which proved to be inaccurate.
“Carlos’ [Sainz] race management went pretty well, whereas the main problem today was Charles’ strategy, which he decided on before the start, but which didn’t work and therefore compromised his race,” said Vasseur on Sunday evening in Austin.
“Our data suggested that there was no particularly big difference between a one-stop and two-stop strategy, but events proved us wrong.”
“As things unfolded, we clearly had to change driver positions to try and get the best possible result and Charles did his best to keep one step ahead of Russell.”
Both Ferrari and Mercedes have been searching for ways to run their cars lower and lower in an effort to increase the downforce from the ground effect low pressure under the floor. It seems that both teams pushed the boundaries too much and were found out by the post race scrutineers.
The technical regulations on this matter dictate: “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.”
Following the standard FIA post race investigation of the cars FIA representative Joe Baur confirmed both the Mercedes of Hamilton and the Ferrari of Leclerc were “found to not be in compliance” with the article in question.
Sixth at the finish of the American Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc was finally disqualified from the results of this eighteenth round of the year due to a non-conformity on his car with a control pad that wore too much. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton was also disqualified for the same reasons.
After the US Grand Prix, Scuderia Ferrari is still in third place in the constructors’ championship, 22 points behind Mercedes, with only four Grands Prix remaining this season.
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