Christian Horner says he was surprised the FIA allowed Mercedes to change Lewis Hamilton's brake material without penalty ahead of the German Grand Prix.

Hamilton crashed heavily in qualifying after a front right brake failure, requiring a number of parts to be changed on his car. A change in car specification would have forced Hamilton to start from the pit lane, but the FIA decided that a switch from Brembo to Carbon Industrie brakes was allowed because it was a change to a "material similar in mass, inertia and function".

Asked if he was surprised the FIA let Mercedes make the change without penalty, Horner replied: "Absolutely.

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"It is a change of car specification - if you change it like for like that is one thing, but if you change it for something that is made by a different manufacturer that has a different characteristic, as described by the driver himself as something different, but it is an interesting precedent."

And Horner said he could see the FIA's decision opening up a whole host of potential future changes under parc ferme conditions.

"That is why we need a clarification because obviously if you can do that, then what else can you change? It will be interesting to see what the justification of that allowance was."

However, while Red Bull could have protested against the change, Horner said it had never been likely to do so.

"I think it is not something we are going to protest. It is really down to the stewards if they are happy for it - then it sets a precedent going forward."


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107SS2009: As I said elsewhere, strange decisions were taken by race control/race stewards.
Yes, changing the type/make of brake disc/rotor and pads after qualifying amounts to a change of specification.
Under the rules of parc ferme changing specification in itself means a penalty starting from the pit-lane.

No it doesn't. Drivers change brake pads / systems from race to race anyway and on the grounds of safety no steward is going to insist that a team / driver persist with a particular part that has failed - imagine the consequences if they did and an accident occurred.
This is Horner just being a pr@t because his team are getting their butts kicked.