Full FIA stewards' statement on Hamilton's F1 DRS rules breach

Lewis Hamilton was excluded from qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix after a post-session checks showed the DRS (drag reduction system) on Hamilton's car was not in compliance with the rules.

Full FIA stewards' statement on Hamilton's F1 DRS rules breach
Listen to this article

Below is the full explanation by the FIA stewards:

The Technical Delegate reported that Car 44 failed the test designed to check the requirements of the last paragraph of Art. 3.6.3 of the 2021 FIA Formula 1 Technical Regulations. The check is described in Technical Directive 011-19. In lay terms, there is a gap between the upper and lower parts of the rear wing. When the DRS is not activated this gap must be between 10mm and 15mm. The car passed this part of the test.

When DRS is activated, which raises the upper element of the wing to a flatter position, the gap must be between 10mm and 85mm. The maximum gap is measured, in accordance with TD/011-19, by pushing an 85mm gauge against the gap with a maximum load of 10N (ten newtons.) If the gauge goes through then the car has failed the test. In this case, the gauge would not pass through at the inner section of the wing, but did at the outer section of the wing. This test was repeated four times with two different gauges, once being done in the presence of the Stewards and representatives of the Competitor.

Read Also:

The Stewards held a hearing on Friday following qualifying with Ron Meadows, the Competitor representative, and Simon Cole, the Chief Engineer, Trackside and from the FIA Jo Bauer, Technical Delegate and Nicholas Tombazis, Single Seater Technical Director. The Stewards then adjourned the hearing to gather more evidence and at 10:30am on Saturday morning held a further hearing that also included John Owen, Chief Designer for the Competitor, who testified by video conference, but did not include Joe Bauer.

The Competitor asserted that the design is intended to meet the regulations. It was clear to the Stewards that the additional deflection was due to additional play either in the DRS actuator or the pivots at the end, or some combination or other fault with the mechanism, or incorrect assembly of the parts. The Stewards heard, from both the team and the FIA that the same design has been tested many times during the season and uniformly passed. Further, the FIA has examined the design of the area of the car in question and are satisfied that the design meets the intent of the regulation. There is therefore no question in the minds of the Stewards that the test failure indicates any intent to exceed the maximum dimension either by action or design.

The Competitor also noted, that Art 3.6.3 of the regulation states a maximum dimension, which is possible to measure without applying a force or load. It is not until a force is applied, that the gauge is able to go through. There was no disagreement that the test itself was undertaken as described in TD/011-19. The gauges were measured and the Stewards were satisfied that they were the correct dimension. The Competitor therefore argues that their car complied with the regulation in the static position and thus meets the regulation. The FIA argues that while not regulatory, the TD, like many others, describes the procedure for the test so that competitors may design cars to meet the regulations. Further, the TD states that the test is designed “to make sure that the rear wing element does not deflect to a larger opening than the permitted value…”. The Stewards take the position that while a TD is not in itself a regulation, TDs are accepted as the method upon which the teams may rely and in this case, the test that was carried out was in conformity with the TD and its legitimate aims.

The Competitor alleged that the fact that the car passed the test in the center section of the wing is both a mitigating factor and shows that there was no intent to breach the regulation. While the Stewards accept that the latter point may be true, the Stewards believe that which sections failed is not relevant to the fact that the wing did fail the test.

The Competitor noted that this is not a systemic breach, and is indeed unique. It was, rather, something gone wrong. The Competitor further noted that they would have liked to have had the opportunity to inspect the parts with a view to having some explanation for the Stewards as to how the problem arose. However, the Stewards fundamentally accept the Competitor’s explanation that the cause of the failed test was something “gone wrong” rather than a deliberate action. The Stewards therefore chose to keep the assembly under seal and preserve the evidence of the failure, rather than altering the parts in an inspection which would have involved some handling of the parts and thus some alteration of the evidence.

The final point of the Competitor regarding the assembly itself is that it is regular practice for the FIA Technical Department to allow teams to fix minor problems that they find with their cars, even during the Parc Ferme conditions of qualifying. Had the Competitor recognized this problem during qualifying they surely would have sought, and the FIA Technical Department confirmed, they would have received permission to fix the parts or tighten bolts if needed.

The Stewards were sympathetic to this argument and analyzed whether they felt this was a mitigating circumstance. It is often a mitigating circumstance to make allowances for crash damage. However, the Stewards could not extend this argument to cover parts that were found out of conformity in post session checks with no obvious reason in evidence other than considering normal running at this Event. In the end, the regulations are clear and at the moment of the conformity check, the car did not comply.

At the end of the first hearing on Friday, amateur video emerged of driver Max Verstappen touching car 44 in Parc Ferme. The Stewards took the time to gather all the available video footage of this incident and finally reviewed in car footage from car 14, car 77, car 33 and car 44 as well as CCTV footage from the FIA’s pit lane cameras, in addition to the amateur footage. The Stewards held a separate hearing in relation to this incident and incorporate the text of that decision herein.

shares
comments

Related video

Hamilton excluded from Brazil F1 qualifying over DRS infringement
Previous article

Hamilton excluded from Brazil F1 qualifying over DRS infringement

Next article

Mercedes rules out appeal against Hamilton Brazil quali DQ

Mercedes rules out appeal against Hamilton Brazil quali DQ
Load comments
The six subplots to watch in 2022 as a new F1 era begins Prime

The six subplots to watch in 2022 as a new F1 era begins

As Formula 1 prepares to begin a new era of technical regulations in 2022, We pick out six other key elements to follow this season

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2022
Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1 Prime

Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades.

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2022
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up Prime

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. We break down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems Prime

Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway, but instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Prime

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Prime

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Prime

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022