Mercedes’ controversial rear wheel hubs could be subject to a protest in future races as they were only declared legal for the Mexican Grand Prix, FIA race director Charlie Whiting has confirmed.
In Mexico the team asked the stewards to confirm their design is legal. It was approved, but the stewards noted that “our jurisdiction extends solely to this event”.
Whiting confirmed this leaves Mercedes open to the threat of future protests if they do race the wheel again. However he also indicated that Ferrari’s belief the design is illegal indicates they don’t fully understand how it works.
“They don’t know exactly what Mercedes have done. So that’s one problem for them. They think in principle it’s wrong although they probably don’t know the exact way in which it works but they have always got the option of a protest.”
He drew a comparison to the 2009 season when Brawn, Toyota and Williams’ rivals protested their ‘double diffuser’ design.
“That’s the whole essence of this thing is if I go back to the double diffusers for example three teams did that at the beginning of 2009 and a number of teams protested them, they lost, they went to appeal and lost. That’s the normal process. So then after that they had to start doing them themselves. And that’s what could have happened here.
“I don’t really know why Ferrari didn’t contemplate protesting but the option is still open to them because the stewards decision relates to this event. So it could raise its ugly head again if these things were being used in Brazil, for example.”
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