FIA clarify Mercedes wheel-rim controversy

A technical directive making clear what F1 teams can and cannot do regarding wheel rim design will be issued by the FIA following controversy around Mercedes.

The directive, produced by Charlie Whiting, is not aimed specifically at a recent Mercedes design that has caused debate in the paddock.

The new design on the W09’s rear wheels has cooling holes that some belieev have an added aerodynamic enhancement.

With the threat of a Ferrari protest, Mercedes chose not to run the updated wheel design at the United States Grand Prix.

MercedesUSAHindustanTimes
Mercedes chose to avoid the upgraded wheel rims at the US GP as Ferrari protest threat loomed Image: Hindustan Times

Ahead of the Mexican round, Mercedes initiated a rarely used FIA process  “requesting a clarification of a matter”, effectively demanding formal confirmation that the design was legal.

Despite this, Mercedes still chose to run a previous specification at Mexico to avoid further issue in Hamilton’s championship fight.

Whiting hopes that the technical directive will illuminate the rules, and make clear what is acceptable.

“Everyone knows what we deem legal, that’s no secret,” explained Whiting.

“[This] is a more general technical directive, to deal with the subject generally not specifically.”

Whiting also revealed he will not deem the Mercedes design illegal, but believes Ferrari could still protest.

“I don’t really know why Ferrari didn’t contemplate protesting, but the option is still open to them.”

With teams up and down the grid hoping for clarification on the subject, the issue over Mercedes wheel rims is likely to rumble on to the next round in Brazil.

Header Image: Autoexpress.co.uk

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