According to George Russell, there may also be skid plate wear issues at Interlagos.
Hamilton and Leclerc were disqualified in Austin because of it. The cause was apparently a combination of factors – partly due to the new rules, but mainly the characteristics of the circuit, which is bumpy, and also the format of the race weekend. During the sprint weekend, which awaits the drivers even now, the teams have to set up the car already after the first practice. They don’t have enough data.
In Mexico a week ago, by the way, the FIA didn’t measure anyone’s plate. It was definitely not the first time this season.
The parc fermé regime has already been criticized by Christian Horner since Friday, but Russell doesn’t like it either.
“It’s going to be really challenging,” Russell said. “It’s a big problem on sprint weekends because, as we said in Austin, we finished practice, we did the checks and we didn’t see any board wear and we thought we were fine. And then with a slight change in wind direction, putting 100 kilograms of fuel in the car for the first time, with a few laps in traffic, with a few laps out of traffic on a really bumpy circuit, we suddenly had a problem that we didn’t expect.”
“I have to be honest. At a track like this, some teams may find themselves in the same situation. It’s just part of the game in a sprint race.”
“Red Bull definitely took a step back last year and it just goes to show that if you make the wrong choice in these sprint races, you’re locked in and you can’t make up for those mistakes. It has its pros and cons.’
“I personally don’t like it because this is the pinnacle, it’s Formula 1. These cars are very complex, we have a lot of great engineers working on improving the car, so after 60 minutes of practice, if there’s an extra red flag, a delay or there’s wet, you’re driving completely blind.’
But Fernando Alonso sees it a little differently. “I think this year’s sprint format was quite difficult for everyone in terms of optimizing the car,” said Alonso. “There are always caveats to consider.”
“In Baku it was Alpine who had to start from the pit lane because they realized they might not be within the regulations. At Spa, both Red Bull drivers were taking their foot off the gas at Eau Rouge, thinking it might be a problem. Then in Austin we had several cars that were inspected and many more that were not inspected. I think it’s going to be a little bit more conservative from everybody here and it’s going to be the same for us.”