Mercedes’ front wing trick questioned - ‘is it within the spirit of the rules?’

Does Mercedes' innovative front wing design go against 'the spirit of the regulations?'

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15. Formula 1 Testing, Sakhir, Bahrain, Day One.-, EMail:
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15. Formula 1 Testing, Sakhir,…

Question marks have been raised over Mercedes’ unusual front wing design as F1 pre-season testing began in Bahrain.

The front wing on the W15 has caught the attention of the whole paddock since it broke cover during Mercedes’ Silverstone shakedown last week amid intense scrutiny over its legality.

Mercedes have seemingly found a loophole in the wording of the regulations which F1’s chief technical officer Pat Symonds says is “within the letter of the law”.

However, Symonds has questioned whether Mercedes’ creative solution, labelled as “genius” by F1 pitlane reporter Ted Kravitz, is ‘within the spirit of the regulations’.

“That’s a very interesting interpretation,” Symonds said of Mercedes’ unique front wing solution. 

“I think that what is interesting is that in Article 3 ,which really dictates how the aerodynamic shapes are produced, it’s very clear in the opening statements that the aim of the rules is to ensure we get that close following.

“When you start to get some things that are starting to produce some outwash, and here I think here what we are seeing is really trying to reinstate a strong vortex to push that very turbulent air that’s coming from the front wheels aside.

“One questions then ‘is that really within the spirit of the rules?’ It’s within the regulations, it’s within the letter of the law, there’s absolutely no doubt about it.

“Is it the sort of the thing we want? I don’t know. That’s perhaps more debatable.

“I think we need to know really how strong is the affect. The FIA now have a really good aerodynamic group that are capable of looking at these things and saying ‘yeah, actually there’s nothing wrong with that’, or ‘no, hang on, this is starting a trend we don’t really want to see’.”

Symonds added: “Everything is worth exploiting on a racing car, if there’s anything to be gained.

“It’s more a question of ‘what’s good for the sport?’ Rather than what’s good for Mercedes, what’s good for Red Bull.

“Of course I jumped the fence a couple of years ago, so now I’m trying to look at what’s good for the sport. Without a doubt, what’s good for the sport is good, close racing.

“Anything that promotes good racing is good and anything that detracts from that ability to race close is poor in my mind.”

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff revealed that the team have been in constant dialogue with the FIA about their innovative front wing design.

"What's been put on a car is always following an exchange with the FIA, all through the process," Wolff explained.

"It's not such a thing where you have a clever idea and then you bolt it on to test and you think, 'That could be or couldn't be challenged’.

"That's a long process of dialogue that happens over the winter. I feel we're in an OK place."

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