F1 scrutineering – the ‘real’ situation

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Following the exclusion of the two Sauber cars at the Australian GP for wing irregularities, I asked a Formula 1 scrutineer just what was the procedure at race meetings.  The answer which I have placed here is very interesting.

“Not all cars are checked at the track before they race.  The weigh station (which also has the templates for height width and wing measurements, etc,) is open for the teams to use at all times.

“During Practice there is no real scrutiny but that changes at the start of qualifying.  All vehicles are then considered to be in Parc Ferme and in race condition.  From here though, the testing is ad hoc and at the whim of the FIA officials.  After each qualifying session, various cars are selected for testing and have the templates run over them.  At the end of qualifying all of the top 10 cars are tested with several getting the royal treatment.

“After the race the top three get the serious treatment and then the rest of the point winners get a less serious going over but a going over all the same.  From there all of the remaining cars running get a run over the station and this is where illegalities (height, width, weight, etc.) should show up as the cars can’t be touched after the race until released by the FIA.

“The scrutineers jobs are mainly to look after the vehicles during Parc Ferme (this also means going out on the start line with the cars) to ensure no parts are changed or adjustments are made that are not on the ‘allowed list’ during the Parc Ferme period.”

The factor that stands out for me is the fact that the really serious testing is done ‘after’ the race.  Surely it would be better to have this done ‘before’ the race, and stop similar situations like the Sauber one.