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Ferrari plays it “safe” with F1 car plank in Brazil after US GP disqualification

Ferrari has admitted to playing things on the “safe side” with its ride height at Formula 1’s Brazilian Grand Prix, in the wake of its US GP disqualification last month.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

The Italian squad joined Mercedes in being excluded from the results of the United States GP, after the plank on Charles Leclerc’s car was found to have worn more than the regulations allowed.

Leclerc lost his sixth placed finish, while Lewis Hamilton was excluded from his runner-up slot behind race-winner Max Verstappen.

Both Ferrari and Mercedes admitted they had simply made a mistake with their choice of ride height in Austin, as they had failed to take into account the extreme bumpy nature of the Circuit of the Americas on a sprint weekend when cars are locked into set-ups on Friday afternoon.

Matters were also not helped out by a change of wind direction between the qualifying days and the main race which pushed cars even closer to the ground at critical areas of the track.

With F1 having another sprint weekend in Brazil, and Interlagos also being bumpy in places, there is the risk of repeat trouble if teams push things to the extreme.

But speaking ahead of the critical Friday qualifying session where teams must commit to their settings, Ferrari sporting director Diego Ioverno said the squad was not going to take any risks with where it positioned its car.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23

Photo by: Mark Sutton

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23

“Clearly in Austin, we were caught out,” he said. “We have reviewed all what happened in that weekend and we understood what could we have done differently.

“Obviously we are going to apply that because that feeling [of disqualification], I hope we will not live anymore, because it is really tough to be thrown out.

“But others did a better job, and we have to learn and move forward. I think we did.

“I can guarantee you that we are on the, let's say, safe side here. It's always a trade off because to be a bit safer, you have to give away a bit of performance, but it is worth the effort.”

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Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso reckoned all teams would be forced to be more cautious with their approach in the wake of what happened in Austin.

“I think a sprint format this year has been quite difficult for everyone to optimise the car,” he said. “There are always margins that you need to take.

“In Austin we had a few cars that have been checked, and many other cars that they didn't check that they were not legal. I think here it will be a little bit more conservative from everyone.“

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