Toto Wolff says he has no qualms with Ferrari over whether it may have gained an advantage through its close relationship with the incoming Haas F1 team, saying if it did exploit any regulation loopholes it did so legally and was justified in doing so.
Mercedes sought a series of clarifications from the FIA in the run up to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix regarding data sharing, wind tunnel testing and bodywork design, specifically in relation to how prospective teams can utilise it.
Core to the clarification was whether Haas had been able to feed data or knowledge to technical partner Ferrari since it is not governed by the same regulations until it is classified as an entry.
Even so, Mercedes has maintained its complaint was not aimed at Ferrari and merely allowed it to determine its own future actions if it felt it could capitalise.
“I think there is so much talk about Ferrari and Haas and what it means and what we sought, so I want to re-emphasise that we had asked the FIA for clarification of what we could do in the future,” Wolff said. “We were looking at partnerships with some of the teams which are our engine customers, in order to optimise on the aero development and we weren't quite sure about the rules, which were ambiguous. So we asked for guidance so every team would have a transparent, open communication.”
With the regulations tightened to classify Haas as an officially entry now – thus potentially halting any transfer of data to Ferrari -, Wolff says Ferrari 'deserves' any advantage it may have gleaned by capitalising on the loophole.
“I don't think they operated outside of the regulations, I think Ferrari and Haas interpreted the rules in the right way and so it wasn't for us to seek clarification for the past but we wanted to be rock solid for the future for us mainly, but for everybody to have that transparent information
“I don't know [if they have gained an advantage]. This is a sport about gaining advantage by interpreting the rules like they did then they deserved it."