The FIA has made a series of rule clarifications at the request of Mercedes, ruling that any team wishing to compete in the 2016 Formula 1 Championship is classified as an entry as of now and is therefore liable under the sporting regulation code regarding aerodynamic testing.
The team sought answers from the FIA over a number of different areas regarding bodywork design, data sharing, wind tunnel testing and acceptance of entries, with a view to determining whether rivals Ferrari had sought an advantage through its partnership with incoming entry Haas. If not – and the regulations remain unchanged -, Mercedes hinted it would therefore alter its programme to accommodate a 'junior' team.
Core of the complaint was the question over the timeframe from which an incoming team is classified as a competitor, thus bringing it into line with rivals when it comes to regulations restrictions, namely CFD and wind tunnel testing bans.
The FIA has now ruled that any team wishing to compete in the 2016 F1 season is now
considered an entry and therefore subject to regulations. As a result, if Haas is determined to be sharing data with Ferrari from this point, it will contravene the rules.
“All competitors in the 2015 FIA Formula 1 World Championship and all competitors intending to compete in the 2016 FIA Formula One World Championship, must comply with the following with effect from today's date
“The purpose of the Aerodynamic Testing Restrictions (ATR) in Appendix 8 of the Sporting Regulations is to place limits on the amount of aerodynamic development each competitor is able to carry out. These limits are set out in Paragraph 3.6 of the Appendix. The detailed wording within the Appendix is also intended to ensure that no competitor is able to circumvent the purpose or intention of the restrictions by, for example, using a third party to carry out aerodynamic development on their behalf.”
Though Mercedes insisted its complaint wasn't specifically aimed at blaming Ferrari or Haas for their technical co-operation, significantly the ruling states all decisions are as of now and have no retrospective bearing. As a result, if Haas and Ferrari could be found at fault it will not be punished.
“Having examined the reports (including audit reports team facilities) provided to us, the Stewards confirm that there is no evidence that competitors have not complied with the requirements of Appendices 6 and 8 as they were interpreted prior to today's date.
“The Stewards recommend to the FIA that in future once a potential competitor (as opposed to Official Entry) applies to be a competitor in the FIA Formula One World Championship and this application is accepted, that competitor should be bound by Appendices 6 and 8 (and for that matter any other appropriate sections of the Formula One Sporting and Technical Regulations)."