Ferrari have spotted an issue with the Mercedes W13 they want resolving – but it has nothing to do with the absent sidepods.
Mercedes’ 2022 challenger has been the subject of much discussion in the lead-up to, and during, the start of official pre-season testing.
When the car emerged on track in Bahrain, the rumours of a different design were true and Formula 1’s motorsports managing director Ross Brawn described it as “a very extreme interpretation of the regulations and inevitably there will be a lot of debate”.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner was quoted as saying “for us, there are some parts that are not legal” – and Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has also found something on the Mercedes he does not approve of.
In his case, it applies to the mirror assembly, with the Scuderia boss believing the aerodynamic effect goes against the spirit of the regulations which have, of course, been heavily revised for this season.
Sitting alongside Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff during a press conference in Bahrain, Binotto told reporters: “On the mirrors, some are surprised. I find that quite surprising. That’s not something we are expecting.
“I think in the spirit of that, some things are needed. I think for the future [they] need to be addressed.
“Already in the past, we always argued the mirrors should not have any aero purpose. They should be there just to look behind.
“I think the way [Mercedes] treated or designed their car, certainly there is a significant aero purpose in the mirrors itself and I think something we need to stop for the future, no doubt, because the risk is we will come in the future that all the teams start designing mirrors that look like spaceships.
“I don’t think that’s what we are looking for as F1.”
Binotto did not join Horner in objecting to the Mercedes sidepods, saying he could not dispute the legality and that the eight-time consecutive Constructors’ champions had produced a “great car”.
Earlier, there had been mixed messages about whether or not Horner had spoken on the record to German outlet Auto Motor und Sport about the Mercedes sidepods.
Although Horner had been quoted, the Red Bull team insisted there had been “no official comment”, while the team principal later added he had not “paid a great deal of attention to [the Mercedes]. It’s obviously a fairly different concept, but that’s for the designer guys and aerodynamicists to get into”.
Mercedes stun paddock with no sidepod W13
Mercedes have stunned the Formula One paddock with their W13 having no sidepods.