Lewis Hamilton will start today's qualifying sprint race for the Sao Paulo GP from the last place, or from the pits, as he was disqualified from the qualifying training classification due to the back wing, which did not comply with the technical regulations.
The Briton will therefore start the sprint race from last place, and Sunday's race will start five places lower than today's ranking, as he replaced the powertrain on Friday.
The rear wings consist of a fixed and a movable part that opens when the DRS system is activated. The distance between the elements is prescribed in the rules. When the DRS is deactivated, the distance between the elements must be 10 to 15 mm. Hamilton's wings successfully withstood that. However, there was a complication with the upper element when it is open, as the distance between the elements must be between 10 and 85mm. This is measured with a special caliber, under a load of about 1Kg. If the measuring device does not go through the slot, the wings are in accordance with the rules, if they are, the wings are not compliant.
In Hamilton's case, the element was bent enough that the spacing in the middle of the wing was appropriate and the spacing along the sides was not. Technical delegate Joe Bauer repeated the measurement four times with two different devices, one of which was attended by commissioners and representatives of the Mercedes team, the FIA explained.
At Mercedes, they argued that the deviation was accidental, and by no means intentional, while the commissioners found that the irregularity was due to a gap in the actuator of the DRS element, or in the mounting of the element. The wings have been tested in the same way several times this year, but each time it complied with the rules.
At Mercedes, they tried to defend themselves by defending that the rules also prescribe a maximum distance without loading with a weight, as the measuring device without a weight did not go through the slot. Thus, they claimed that their car was in a static position in accordance with the rules, but the FIA rejected the comments, saying that it was a recommendation, which also states that the gap should not increase under load.
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