Sprint weekend partly to blame for Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc’s disqualification

Parc ferme conditions are implemented ahead of qualifying on sprint weekends.

The United States Grand Prix being a Sprint weekend is seemingly part of the reason as to why Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc were disqualified from Sunday’s race, due to how little time there was for the cars to be set up.

With last weekend having consisted of Sprint Saturday, the traditional qualifying session took place on Friday evening.

Only one practice session took place before parc ferme conditions were implemented, which was ahead of Friday’s qualifying session.

From that moment on, no changes could be made by the teams, unless they wanted to be slapped with a penalty.

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This was the case for both Aston Martins and both Haas’, who all started from the pit-lane on Sunday following a set up change.

The minimal set up time during a sprint weekend has been criticised by some, including three-time World Champion Max Verstappen.

Hamilton and Leclerc were ultimately disqualified on Sunday as the plank on the floor of their cars didn’t meet F1’s technical regulations, something which wasn’t checked by either Mercedes nor Ferrari because of the minimal time to set up the cars.

Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack noted that finding the right ride height is massively challenging during a sprint weekend, given how hectic the event typically is.

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“[Ride height] is one of the issues with a Sprint weekend,” Krack told the media, as reported by Total-Motorsport.com. “You know you have to do the Sprint and the race and two qualifyings and you can wear one mm and you have to run low.

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“It’s tough [to find the right ride height]… you always have a risk.”

In the FIA’s statement after the race confirming Hamilton and Leclerc’s disqualifications, they accepted that the cause of the infringements was partly due to how little set up time there was.

“During the hearing the team acknowledged that the measurement performed by the FIA Technical Team was correct and stated that the high wear on the skid pads was probably a result of the unique combination of the bumpy track and the Sprint race schedule that minimised the time to set up and check the car before the race,” the FIA’s statement read.