Ferrari SF71H Halo wings, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

FIA explains why Ferrari’s Halo mirrors will be banned

2018 Spanish Grand Prix

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Ferrari’s Halo-mounted wing mirrors are set to be banned today because the FIA does not approve of the way they are attached to the car.

Race director Charlie Whiting confirmed the FIA will issue a technical directive to ban the design Ferrari introduced at the Spanish Grand Prix.

“There’s a liberal interpretation of the word ‘mounting’,” said Whiting. “That’s how they’ve become legal because there’s no bodywork allowed in the area.

“The interpretation hinges on whether we think that’s a mounting or not. We somehow think not, so we’re going to take some action on that.”

Whiting said the team had exploited a grey area in the rules with its design, which was why they’d been allowed to run it at the Spanish Grand Prix.

“If it was a clear breach of the regulations they wouldn’t have been allowed to use it here. But we’ll clarify that to everybody.”

If the team runs the same design in Monaco “we’ll probably go and see the stewards about it,” said Whiting. “But I think the TD [technical directive] will make it clear.”

The FIA had previously confirmed teams are allowed to mount mirrors on the Halo.

“We sent a TD a few weeks ago in response to a number of questions from other teams about whether the principle of mounting the mirror on the Halo was acceptable. We answered yes, it was, and we gave a few stipulations, one that it has to be a mounting.”

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Ferrari SF71H Halo wings, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018
Ferrari SF71H Halo wings, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018
Ferrari SF71H Halo wings, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018
Ferrari SF71H Halo wings, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

The design of Ferrari’s mounting doesn’t fit with the FIA’s intended interpretation of the directive. “It’s just a matter of interpretation,” said Whiting. “We feel that something that is such a tenuous interpretation is not something that we’re happy with.”

However Sebastian Vettel said the team’s reason for mounting the mirrors on the Halo was not primarily aimed at gaining a performance advantage.

“For us it’s straightforward – I see better.” said Vettel. “That was the point of moving them. We asked already in the beginning of the year if we can put them on the Halo because then they would just be in a better position to see what’s going on behind.”

But Whiting believes the design used by Ferrari in Spain was also aimed at making the car quicker. “I doubt they would be there if there wasn’t a measurable aero advantage,” he said. “These days, that doesn’t have to be big.”

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43 comments on “FIA explains why Ferrari’s Halo mirrors will be banned”

  1. Matteo (@m-bagattini)
    14th May 2018, 8:28

    Please help me understand, it may be a language comprehension problem for me: it is OK to mount the mirrors on the halo but not like this (then, how)? Are only the winglets to be removed or the whole mirror repositioned where it was before?

    1. They can still mount the mirrors on the Halo. They just need to use actual mounting structures rather than aerodynamic devices that happen to also support the mirror.

    2. It’s fine to mount mirrors on the Halo. But Ferrari used the mountings and turned them into aero wings.
      It was clear for everyone to see. Especially because it is ugly as hell.

    3. @m-bagattini – I believe Ferrari are saying that the winglet seen a few inches about the mirror housing is not an aerodynamic element, but a mounting for the mirror below it, and are trying to back this up with the vertical rod that connects the outer end of the winglet with the mirror housing.

  2. I seriously don’t see the need for this. This is the kind of thing that gives FIA its bad reputation for over-regulating.

    1. @eljueta This is not a FIA makin up the rules along the way to ban something innovative. The article said mirror is permitted and the problem is the term “mounting”. I think we can agree that Ferrari (or anyone) could call anything that connect the mirror to the halo satisfy “mounting” requirement, but when it shaped a lot more different that a simple straight rod, it also a common sense to questioning is that really not against the spirit of the rules. Ferrari shape is definitely far too complex for a mere “mounting”. Not that I say teams shouldn’t be permitted to be creative, but a simple L or I shape strut sculpted aerodynamically is much easier to accept (as “mounting”) than what Ferrari bring to Spain.

      1. @sonicslv I totally agree with what you’re saying, it is a winglet, everybody can see that. The principle that you cannot put aerodynamic elements on it is what I don’t see the reasoning for, apart from looking ugly.

        1. @eljueta This is where it gets tricky. Anything that has direct contact with the airflow is aerodynamic element, whether it gives more benefit or drawback. Usually FIA likes to give a “box dimensions” instead which I suspect they probably will do in the technical directive or add to the rules next year.

          1. Probably even better to stipulate to have one connecting element from the halo to the mirror and they shape it how they want, no ‘dead end’ element or multiple rods

          2. I think the more precise you formulate it, the more intricate designs will circumvent the exact wording @jeanrien.

            It makes more sense to stipulate that the mounting has to be that – a mounting, and maybe state that it’s form cannot be primarily dictated by aero advantages it brings.

    2. @eljueta Well, why do they suddenly need to put extra wings on top of the mirror? In an area where wings are not allowed.

  3. It fulfills the minimum requirement of the literary meaning of a mirror and mounting. In reality it is just a winglet but due to the careful reading of the rules ferrari can claim it is a mirror and its mounting because how those are defined in the rules. Mirrors and their mountings are also excluded from the rules which are used to define wings and winglets so you can place mirror winglets on parts of the car where you can not legally place wings.

    In the rules there are some limits how big the mirrors can be when viewed from above or from side. Ferrari’s “mirrors” are legal because when viewed from above and from the side the projected area is small enough (20000m^2 and 14000mm^2) to fit inside the rules. There is also a box where the mirrors must be placed and there is also requirement for the actual reflecting surface size of the mirror.

    All people who say the rules are too long and complex need to stop and watch this example. When the rules are not precise and complex this kind of stuff happens. Now fia needs to make the rules little bit longer or we get an escalation of these mirror wings. This ferrari’s first version is just a test to see whether fia allows it or not. If fia allows it then I’m sure ferrari already has something better in the works just in case if this is allowed.

    Personally I like these mirrors in the sense that they are unique and something different. The mirrors are ugly which is why I don’t like them but I really hope fia doesn’t overkill this. I think it is great the rules still have these kind of interpretations that allow creative thinking (and unlike with the horrible engines we have) we can see these things on the cars and actually analyze and talk about them.

    1. Very nice viewpoint @socksolid and I had to chuckle at your conflict: “I like these mirrors in the sense that they are unique and something different. The mirrors are ugly which is why I don’t like them”

  4. So, as I understand it.

    The main arm holding the mirror to the Halo is fine. It’s not much different from how the mirrors were originally mounted to the bodywork, just ‘upside down’ and hanging as it were.

    What the FIA have primarily ruled against is the extra upwards curving -and obviously wing shaped- section that they’re trying to pretend is part of the support. (Just like Red Bull tried to claim those bits of rubber on the front wings in Abu Dhabi 2014 weren’t covering up hinges)

    Perfectly understandable ruling. The can have the mirror mounted on the Halo, but can’t have the extra winglet.

    1. Makes sense to me now if you’re right. I thought that the arm holding the mirror is viewed as an aero element, therefore illegal.

      1. Well no matter how it is shaped, it’s going to affect the aero one way or another. It’s a very grey line what qualifies (just) not as an aero element and what does. This regulation feels dodgy, subjective and patch-like.

    2. @nikkit Even the main arm is curved like a wing though. Not something that’s needed for “mounting” the mirror.

  5. I do not want to bother much understanding the way halo can be used, there’re certain guys paid for such thing, but Ferrari’s choice seems to be the most obvious way to attach mirrors to the halo in order to cover all the reasons of having such device on the car. Do not know what these mountings can be in F1, but don’t quite see another way to attach a mirror to the halo without affecting seriously the visibility, mounting it too close to the driver’s head or without having to add another support bar/mounting to the side of the halo and attach/mount the mirror to that part… but I highly doubt this is allowed too.

    1. They do not need the second wing like structure. The main mounting arm ought to be sufficient as that is pretty much just like the arms they use on the more traditional style mounting. It seems Ferrari added the other aero device and tried to hide it in the regulations of a mirror mount.

      1. Thanks for the info. Did not know the regs regarding the halo, so I thought that the entire element – arm of the mirror included, is viewed primarily and maybe even strictly as an aero element. So, I thought that FIA is asking to attach the mirror directly to the halo or something like that, without any arm etc. But that way didn’t made much sense either to me, ’cause it seemed illegal too: broke some other regs, regarding the placement of the mirror, regs mentioned by socksolid above.

  6. The mounting itself is apparently fine. It’s that extra wing that isn’t allowed. The one that curves up and over the mirror and is connected almost as an afterthought, to the mirror with a bit of black wire/rod.

  7. I do not get the FIAs wording on this. They appear to make a not so subtle accusation towards Ferrari.

    There seems to be another interpretation for the mountings on the sidepod than to the Halo version.
    If you look at Red Bull and Mercedes they clearly use the mounts as winglets with aerodynamic purpose and not only as mountings.

    Mclaren on the other hand have very simple, classic mirrors. The Ferrari solution at least appeared to be very low in vibrations and bending in onboard shots from last weekend which to me (who has no clue) points to low drag and aerodynamic influence.

    The FIA obviously can ban mirrors on the Halo altogether then with regards to safety or whatever. Fair point.
    But accusing Ferrari of gaining an unfair advantage by doing something that the other teams (and Ferrari too) clearly have been practicing for years appears kind of biased. Well – at least every camp has something to rant about now :-)

    1. Name one other team that has a second mounting arm for their mirror?

      The main arm is fine, the secondary one is what is causing the issues as that clearly looks like it is specifically for aero. Yes the other teams try to shape the mounting arm within the limits of what the rules say but Ferrari seem to have taken this a step too far.

  8. if you search a little here and there you will find a pic of the renault mounting concept of the mirrors on the halo, i think that idea should pass the controls.

  9. Aero device or not, Ferrari’s mirror mounts did not prevent its car from being 30 seconds behind Mercedes in the Grand Prix. I realy hope this is track specific and not indicative of Mercedes figuring out their car and, once again, attaining a dominant position over the rest of the field.

    1. @Gary I’m sure many, myself included, share that sentiment.

  10. petebaldwin (@)
    14th May 2018, 12:53

    “I doubt they would be there if there wasn’t a measurable aero advantage,” he said. “These days, that doesn’t have to be big.”

    True. Weird how drives keep going off the track when there is no advantage to be gained though eh? Seems at odds with your argument there…..

    1. True. Weird how drives keep going off the track when there is no advantage to be gained though eh? Seems at odds with your argument there

      What an utterly terrible argument. Every piece on the car goes through very deliberate design, simulation, manufacturing and assembly. Everything on the car is explicitly supposed to be there. Drivers on the other hand run wide for a multitude of reasons. Ferrari didn’t accidentally put extra wings on the car.

  11. Ivan scicluna
    14th May 2018, 12:57

    Its obvious ! why ? The new dictator called charlie whiting who very obviously wants his pet hamilton to win ,seeing that pirellis help wasnt enough. F1 has become a sham of what it used to be. Frankly this has to stop , no wonder ppl are swtching to other motorsports. New owners note f1 needs a thorough clean up from the boys in power only wanting their english ‘ friends’ to win . For shame for shame

    1. Oh, you mean that Lewis Hamilton that Charlie Whiting punished so much a few years ago?

      Seems you have forgotten the days when the FIA and F1 were effectively an arm of Ferrari…

      This is clearly an issue with Ferrari bending the rules a bit too far and noting to do with handicapping them…

      1. WE have had some interesting discussion on this subject, so its a shame that Ivan scicluna has brought bias against Ferrari and Hamilton into the argument, and its Charlie Whitings fault…
        These mirrors etc on the Halo will have been developed in the Ferrari wind tunnel, and will have some aerodynamic aid….its a shame the team did not present their design for official scrutineering before the race and save all this fuss…..and maybe they should spend more time checking out their race strategy(or lack of it) its that , which will lose them races, not mirrors on a halo..

  12. If visibility is a problem, is it beyond the wit of man to mount rear-facing cameras with screens where the mirrors are? The ‘mirrors’ can then be mounted at the side of the cockpit (as now) but with a vastly improved view behind. Even crappy cheap hatchbacks have this sort of technology, so it can be sold on the ‘road relevant’ ticket as well as the safety ticket and no need for dangly things. Anything else is really just a bid for more aero.

    1. Weight more than anything. Even with modern lightweight tech, a screen is still heavier than a bit of reflective material (I’m not even sure it’s glass they use).

      Plus there’s all the extra wiring needed.

      Sure it’s probably only a few extra grams, but this is a sport where those extra grams could make a big difference.

      Also, there’s always the worry of a fault meaning a camera isn’t working. How often does an ERS system have a problem, or radio, or telemetry systems? The mirror will only stop working if it falls off………which outside an accident is something I’ve only seen once in recent years.

  13. this is getting ridiculous now

  14. Which explains why Sebastian kept doing PR for Ferrari saying that it was not an aero device… Clearly it is. I don’t blame Ferrari for trying, but I also agree with FIA’s assessment.

  15. Is there any team that uses mirror mountings that do not have some designed aerodynamic effect?

    1. I understand your point, but did you see the pictures? There is whole extra wing on the halo

  16. In the event of a collision between an object and the mirrors on the halo device, surely the loading would be focussed on a smaller area than if it just hit the halo on its own. Isn’t that why Michael Schumacher was injured so badly when his helmet mounted camera hit the rock ? That is why I would never have a camera mounted on any form of head gear.

  17. If mounting the mirrors on the Front Roll Hoop, aka, the Halo, is technically acceptable and gives the drivers a better view aft, and of course, if the aero experts determine that the is no performance loss or maybe a net gain, then expect to see more of them. But … it would seem that the additional winglets, disguised as “mounts” are out. Yeah .!!
    Does anyone doubt that Ferrari knew they would be banned, pretty obvious that they would.? Does Ferrari have an end-game up their sleeve, probably.?
    How different is this to Brake Duct Aero appendages, and those are unsprung, moveable and also out for next year.
    Mounting mirrors on the X-Wings back a few years ago, would not have made them any less of an aerodynamic appendage. Gone.!

  18. Ferrari tried to circumvent the rules for a performance advantage and were caught. They’re not the first team to do this and they won’t be the last. I’m not sure why people are getting so worked up about it.

    I don’t remember people having a go at the fia for tightening the rules on oil burning, was that because the Ferrari fans thought Mercedes were being targeted and so didn’t care?

  19. When Ferrari winning races easy peasy, those sour ferrari tiffosos’ mouths were upto their ears… now one race out of pram, they are back to sour… i hope to see this dominance until the end of the year, just to see how sour some tiffoso will get and complain how boring F1 is… it is only boring when Ferrari or Redbull cant win it… :)

    cant wait to see the new tyre compound be applied to whole season :)

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