Ferrari has revealed that it has opted to stay on the “safe side” regarding its ride height in Brazil to avoid a repeat of the disqualification it suffered in the United States Grand Prix.

Both Charles Leclerc and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton were excluded in Austin after post-race checks discovered their cars exceeded the regulations governing plank wear.

Ferrari and Mercedes conceded that they had been deceived by the Sprint format only allocating one practice hour before the drivers are required to lock in their set-ups.

Although Interlagos comprises fewer bumps than the Circuit of the Americas, Ferrari Sporting Director Diego Ioverno admits it has left additional margin this weekend.

“Clearly in Austin, we were caught out,” he said on Thursday in Brazil. “We have reviewed all what happened in that weekend and we understood what could we have done differently.

“Obviously we are going to apply that because that feeling, I hope we will not live anymore, because it is really tough to be thrown out.

“But others did a better job, and we have to learn and move forward. I think we did.

“I can guarantee you that we are on the, let’s say, safe side here. It’s always a trade-off because to be a bit safer, you have to give away a bit of performance, but it is worth the effort.”

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB19. 22.10.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 19, United States Grand Prix, Austin, Texas, USA, Race Day.

Max Verstappen, who won the race at COTA, disclosed that Red Bull had intentionally sacrificed performance by raising its ride height to avoid encountering any issues.

Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate, George Russell, addressed coming into the Sao Paulo Grand Prix that he suspected the problem could reappear on Sunday evening.

“It’s going to be really challenging and this is going to be a big issue with the Sprint race weekend, because, as we said in Austin, we ended practice, we did our checks, there was no wear, so we thought we’re in the clear and then, a small change of wind direction, putting 100 kilos of fuel in the car for the first time, some laps in traffic, some laps not in traffic in a really bumpy circuit, we suddenly found ourselves with an issue we weren’t expecting,” the Briton explained.

“I’ve got to be honest, on a track like this, some teams may find themselves in the same place, so that’s just part of a game in a Sprint race.”

Despite Hamilton’s W14 being deemed illegal, Russell was among the drivers whose car wasn’t checked as the FIA elected to retain its protocol of inspecting four cars.

The seven-time World Champion declared in Mexico that he had been informed by “several sources” that other cars would’ve failed the post-race scrutineering.

Therefore, ahead of the weekend, Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso reckoned that every team would implement more caution with the ride height of their cars in Brazil.

“I think a Sprint format this year has been quite difficult for everyone to optimise the car,” the Spaniard acknowledged. “There are always margins that you need to take.

“In Austin we had a few cars that have been checked, and many other cars that they didn’t check that they were not legal. I think here it will be a little bit more conservative from everyone.“

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