Stewards deliver Leclerc verdict in Perez Mexico summons

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Charles Leclerc has avoided any further punishment from stewards
after being summoned following his first lap crash with Sergio
Perez in the Mexico City Grand Prix. Pole-sitter Leclerc was hit by
the fast-starting Perez at Turn 1 after the Red Bull attempted to
take the lead into the corner – being sandwiched between Perez on
the left and Max Verstappen on the right. The contact tipped Perez
into the air, causing severe damage to the floor and sidepod of the
Red Bull, ultimately causing a first lap retirement for the home
favourite. Leclerc continued, but the left front-wing end-plate
came loose and detached, causing a brief Virtual Safety Car, but
Leclerc was called for driving the car in an unsafe condition. In
their verdict, the stewards heard from Ferrari, Jo Bauer, the FIA’s
Technical Delegate, and Director of the Single-Seater department
Nikolas Tombazis. Ferrari explained that it had monitored the
situation with the end-plate, and believed that the “structure of
the wing assembly was sound” and that it did not expect the
end-plate to detach. Having tried, and failed, to use live TV
pictures to confirm, the team noticed a deterioation on Lap 3, and
was about to take action before the end-plate fell off, triggering
a brief Virtual Safety Car. Using an agreement from October 2022 –
after the United States Grand Prix in which Haas protested Fernando
Alonso’s damaged Alpine after a mirror fell off following the
high-speed collision with Lance Stroll – between the teams and the
FIA, it was deemed that the detachment of the end-plate did not
cause the car to become “unsafe” and that no further action was
warranted. Leclerc finished third behind Verstappen and Lewis
Hamilton for his fourth podium of the season.

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