Mercedes forced to change wheel rim design

Date published: October 23 2018

Mercedes: Wheel design under scrutiny

Mercedes felt forced into changing their new wheel rim designs ahead of the United States Grand Prix due to a looming Ferrari complaint.

The FIA did give the Silver Arrows the all-clear after following up on an enquiry made by Ferrari prior to the race weekend at the Circuit of The Americas.

Ferrari initially wanted clarificiation on the rules regarding wheel hubs and what constitutes a legal design.

The Scuderia felt that Mercedes’ design, which featured internal holes to help with tyre cooling, was very similar to the concept Red Bull had banned back in 2012.

Mercedes’ new design, first introduced at the Belgium Grand Prix, has been shortlisted as one of the reasons why the Silver Arrows have been able gain a competitive edge on their rivals.

Autosport have now reported that Mercedes decided to tweak the design before the race in Austin, Texas to try and appease Ferrari and stop them from lodging a post-race protest.

With the FIA still happy with Mercedes’ design and Ferrari still not pleased with the governing body’s initial ruling, further clarification on the wheel rim issue is expected to develop during the build-up to this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton, who had to settle for P3 at the United States Grand Prix after starting on pole position, suggested that his tyres may have limited his chances of success.

“We were forced into a two-stop race for certain things we had that weren’t ideal with the car,” Hamilton said.

“We didn’t know that was going to be the case when we got into the race. If we hadn’t had the problem we’ve had, tyre usage wouldn’t have been anywhere near as big an issue.”

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