The disqualification comes after their cars failed the physical floor and plank wear inspection, post-race. The planks, designed to ensure a minimum ground clearance, were found to be excessively worn, thereby violating F1 regulations.
The disqualification had a ripple effect on the race standings. Lewis Hamilton, who had secured the second place behind Max Verstappen, was replaced by McLaren’s Lando Norris. This shift also saw Carlos Sainz of Ferrari move up to the podium. Charles Leclerc, who had initially secured the sixth position, saw his standing revoked due to the same infringement.
Mercedes’ team principal, Toto Wolff, acknowledged the challenges posed by the Circuit of The Americas (COTA), particularly during a sprint weekend. However, Wolff accepted the judgment, emphasizing the team’s intent to learn from this experience and come back stronger in upcoming races. Hamilton echoed a similar sentiment in Mercedes’ post-race press release, highlighting the progress they had made over the weekend.
The rookie F1 campaigner, Logan Sargeant of Williams, capitalized on this opportunity, earning his first F1 point. This promotion also saw Alex Albon of Williams ascend to the ninth position.
An FIA statement on the disqualification clarified that both Mercedes and Ferrari had recognized the wear was likely due to the unique challenges posed by the bumpy COTA track and the limited set-up time resulting from the Sprint race schedule. However, the statement firmly placed the onus on competitors to ensure their cars meet regulations throughout an event.
The implications of this decision were quickly felt. Hamilton, who had been in contention for his first win in nearly two years, would have ultimately lost to Verstappen even if he had won. The disqualification further dampens Hamilton’s chances of catching up to Sergio Perez of Red Bull in the drivers’ standings. With Perez moving up from fifth to fourth, his lead over Hamilton extends from 19 to 39 points with only four rounds left in the season.
Updated United States GP Standings:
- Max Verstappen, Red Bull
- Lando Norris, McLaren
- Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
- Sergio Perez, Red Bull
- George Russell, Mercedes
- Pierre Gasly, Alpine
- Lance Stroll, Aston Martin
- Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri
- Alex Albon, Williams
- Logan Sargeant, Williams
The disqualification serves as a reminder of the rigorous standards of F1 racing and the imperative for teams to remain vigilant in maintaining compliance.