Charles Leclerc avoids post-race penalty

Charles Leclerc completed almost the entirety of the Mexican GP without a left front-wing endplate.

Charles Leclerc avoided a post-race penalty on Sunday at the Mexican Grand Prix, after he was investigated by the stewards for driving with a broken front wing.

Leclerc’s front wing broke following his opening corner collision with Sergio Perez, which resulted in the home hero retiring from the race at the end of the first lap.

It was purely a racing incident, as Leclerc was sandwiched in between Perez and Max Verstappen on the run into the opening corner.

Verstappen was on the Monegasque’s inside whilst Perez was on his outside, with it having simply been a case of three into one wouldn’t go.

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Perez’s right-rear tyre clipped Leclerc’s front-left tyre and his front wing, sending the Red Bull driver aggressively into the runoff area.

The rear of Perez’s RB19 launched into the air and came back down with some force, significantly damaging his floor.

Perez spun prior the barrier and did manage to rejoin the race, only to pit and retire at the end of the first lap.

As for Leclerc, he dropped from first to second after the collision but did have a broken front wing.

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The left front-wing endplate on the 26-year-old’s car was hanging on by a thread, before it suddenly flew off after a few laps at the first corner.

A Virtual Safety Car was required so that a marshall could safely retrieve it; however, Leclerc was placed under investigation as to whether he should’ve pitted for repairs.

Once the endplate flew off, Leclerc’s performance wasn’t impacted at all, with him having still finished comfortably on the podium in P3.

It was ultimately agreed by the stewards that Leclerc losing an endplate didn’t make his car “unsafe” to drive, meaning that no penalty was required.

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The governing body have become more lenient in regard to endplates falling off following several incidents involving Haas last season.

Haas were on the receiving end of several black and orange flags last season and forced to pit for repairs after losing an endplate, despite the car still being perfectly fine to drive.

Nowadays, drivers are typically only called into the pits for a new front wing if it’s at risk of falling off or if it’s structure has been severely damaged.