The FIA stewards intend to respond to a query from Mercedes apparently directed at rivals Ferrari before tomorrow’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Mercedes has submitted a series of question regarding the implementation of the FIA’s Aerodynamic Testing Regulations. Although their submission does not mention their rivals by name, the points raised by Mercedes indicates they are probing the legality of Ferrari’s technical collaboration with new team Haas.
The query also raises the possibility of Mercedes exploring a similar relationship with another team, providing they are assured of its legality. “Mercedes may decide… to act in a way which may, depending on the way the relevant regulations are interpreted, be impermissible,” notes the request.
Mercedes’ query centres on the shared use of wind tunnels for the development of ‘listed parts’ – the monocoque, survival cell, front impact structures, roll over structures, bodywork, wings, floor and diffuser.
Among the concerns raised by Mercedes are whether teams can share details of the shape of these parts, outsource the aerodynamic testing of them and if so, whether that is deducted from their limited allocation of wind tunnel time. The submission states the meaning of “outsourcing” within the regulations is “an area of significant uncertainty to Mercedes and, it believes, to other teams”.
The crux of Mercedes’ submission asks: “Would any third party which carries out any aerodynamic testing in relation to any surfaces or parts which are ultimately for the benefit of a competitor, be classified as either a ‘related party’, ‘agent’ or ‘sub-contractor’ of that competitor and, therefore, fall within the [Aerodynamic Testing Restrictions], regardless of the exact legal form of any relationship between the third party and the competitor?” Mercedes also queried whether individuals can take the results of tests carried out under restricted conditions with them when they move teams.
The stewards have requested Mercedes attend a meeting this afternoon in Abu Dhabi and also invited contributions from “any other competitor in the 2015 FIA Formula One world championship or any competitor intending to enter the 2016 FIA Formula One world championship, or any other interested party.”
The stewards have set a deadline for submissions this afternoon and say they “will endeavour to hand down their decision on the specific matters prior to the start of the race on Sunday.”