George Russell, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022

Ferrari want clampdown on Mercedes’ wing mirror design

2022 F1 season

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Mercedes’ wing mirror design should not be allowed by the F1 regulations, Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has said.

The radical change to the W13 revealed by Mercedes yesterday has been the talk of the paddock. While much of the intrigue has surrounding the narrow shape of its sidepods, Ferrari has raised concerns over the design of its mirrors.

Binotto said Ferrari expected Mercedes to produce a bold interpretation of F1’s new rules for 2022. “No doubt it’s a great car,” he said. “I think that is not a surprise to us. It’s a good concept, different to the one we got.

“I think what is interesting – certainly the cooling layout, radiators positioning and the sidepods I think, again, something which looking into it is quite interesting.”

He played down concerns over the legality of Mercedes’ design, saying it had been checked by the sport’s governing body. “It has gone through a process and the FIA is certainly the one which is responsible for policing and making sure it’s fully legal,” he said. “And I would be surprised if Mercedes is doing something illegal as well.”

However Binotto admitted the design of Mercedes’ wing mirrors, which are mounted on top of a piece of bodywork containing their side impact protection structures, is unusual.

Ferrari SF71H Halo wings, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018
Ferrari’s Halo-mounted wing mirrors were outlawed in 2018
“I think on the mirrors [I am] surprised. I find that quite surprising. It is something that we are not expecting. I think in the spirit of that, something that I think for the future needs to be addressed.”

Ferrari previously ran into a legality dispute over their mirrors in 2018. “Already in the past we always argue the mirrors should not have any aero purpose,” said Binotto. “They should be there just to look behind.

“I think that the way that they have treated and designed their car, certainly there is a significant aero purpose in the mirrors itself I would think. It is something that we need to stop for the future, no doubt, because the risk is that we will come in the future, that all the teams will start designing mirrors, that will look like spaceships and I don’t think that’s what we are looking for as F1.

“I’m not arguing [with] the idea. I think they did certainly their own reasoning and they found a solution that is interesting. But I think in the spirit of what we intend to do, certainly for the future, it is something that needs to be discussed.”

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80 comments on “Ferrari want clampdown on Mercedes’ wing mirror design”

  1. Random thought but anyone remember the asymmetrical mirrors on the F2005?

    1. Jockey Ewing
      11th March 2022, 11:05

      Not remembered, googled, interesting :)
      Have they used this mirror setup throughout the whole 2005 season?

    2. I remember very well.. It used by Michael to see the rear tire graining situations on certain tracks that they visit that season, because we also remember very well that year’s Ferrari particularly their Bridgestone tire were inferior whether it’s grip or durability against Michelin that year, so that’s why the asymmetrical mirror setup was used back then IIRC

  2. Remind me which team recently got caught using an illegal engine but somehow kept all the points…

    1. So whatatboutism to save Mercedes…
      Not sure if that answered the binotto question (BTW, the same remark horner made about the mirrors)
      A very valid question and something the fia should clear up soon.

    2. remind me how is this related to this matter?

    3. I like how life is all about perspective. You say Ferrari are the cheaters? Consider the following:
      Anyone knows Mercedes was promised ad-hoc PU regulation to keep in in them in the circus. They basically wrote the power unit rules and gained an unlimited advantage over competition. I say unlimited because Mercedes PU has never been matched by competitors, bar Ferrari’s illegal one in 2019.
      We could also talk about the Mercedes conflict of interest with Pirelli and their 1000km private test in Barcelona before Monaco 2013.
      Do you want me to continue?

      1. The power unit rules were not written by Mercedes. That is a lie. Renault wanted the small engine and Ferrari wanted v6

      2. No, we don’t want you to continue since we have seen the letters that Renault sent to the FIA that set out the core principles of the current regulations, and also outlined the results of their single cylinder prototype tests as proof of the concept, that pre-date any work that Mercedes is supposed to have done on the current regulations.

        The claims that you are pushing are demonstrably false and we don’t want to have deliberately misleading propaganda being promoted here.

        1. Afraid for the competition?
          Misleading propaganda is exactly you often use in your pieces here.
          All kind of made up statements without source.

      3. And don’t forget Mercedes qualifying modes were STRIPPED mid season, while not being illegal, nor dangerous.

        Except that it frustrated RedBull.

        F1 isn’t a sport, it’s politics and entertainment.

        1. More smoke to avoid the subject at hand.

    4. The point? In 2018 FE mirrors shape was banned in a nano-seson as judged able to product aero effect. Do we allow MB to keep and ban next year, DAS, holed Roma, etc etc etc?

      1. *holed rims

  3. “…that all the teams will start designing mirrors, that will look like spaceships and I don’t think that’s what we are looking for as F1.”

    Ah yes. They don’t look good, so they should be outlawed.

  4. How surprising, if only they had thought about such a thing first.

    1. They did back in 2018 and it was banned

    2. They did and it wad banned.
      That’s the problem.
      Fia should clear things up, fast.

      1. It was banned under previous regulations, though

        1. @pastaman

          double diffusers were banned, but now it is officially back… some people smoke screens :) they ll complain about everything.. they complain that ferrari mirror was banned not mentioning the substance that matter… if they see what was banned, they ll understand it is not the same issue here.

          people also complained oil burn, implying merc were fast due to it, they banned/limited it, suddenly others became slower :)

    3. LOL! Actually, Ferrari came with the ”aero design” of the mirrors which it’s standard now.

  5. I think Binotto has a point… That is just an extra wing it has nothing to do with supporting the mirror. I feel all of thes should be banned really. It should be one stalk supporting the mirror however you shape it, but no fins, flicks
    or extra stalks.

    1. The “Extra Wing” is, AFAIK, the mandated crash structure which must be there. In most cars, this is part of the sidepods, but as the sidepods are so small on the Merc they are sticking out externally. The mirror is then mounted on that structure.

      If I am wrong and the “extra wing” is only there to hold the mirror, I agree that it should not be allowed.

      1. The vortex generators are pure aero and as such not allowed in that position.
        If the wing serves as functional crash structure will be shown at the first serious crash. Not sure if the driver is as safe compared with the old structure.
        Dangerous concept, putting speed above safety.

        1. The vortex generators are pure aero and as such not allowed in that position.

          Assuming those are the nobbly bits sticking up behind the mirror, you may be right, though I would have expected the FIA to have picked that up already if that’s true. Would they be allowed there if it was part of the sidepod?

          If the wing serves as functional crash structure will be shown at the first serious crash.

          The crash structure is mandated by the FIA, and AFAIK is the exact same standard structure on every car, except that all the others have it hidden inside the sidepods. There are strict specifications about where and how these spec parts are mounted to the safety cell. I seriously doubt it is a “Dangerous concept, putting speed above safety”.

          1. I’ll answer my own question, it appears they would be allowed on the sidepod, because Alpha Tauri have a couple of them in a very similar position.

            I’m pretty sure, therefore, that if Merc had just wrapped the whole thing in a sidepod leaving the top surface exactly as shown, nobody would even comment on it. It’s only because they’ve removed the sidepod, leaving the crash structure visible, that any eyebrows are being raised.

  6. Can someone clarify: Are the mirrors allowed in the regs to have an aero purpose or not? These are obviously shaped as wings beyond what is necessary to support the mirror. Is it legal or not? If its legal, Im surprised the other teams havent explored it, but its their own fault. Otherwise needs to be removed.

    1. Mirrors are allowed to have low resistance form but may never be part of the aero package and should not be used as such.
      In this case very dubious and something ferrari tried before but was banned using them.

  7. RocketTankski
    11th March 2022, 9:11

    That’s not a wing. It’s a sun shade for the mirror. So it’s a safety aid really. :-)

  8. They will ban it soon.

    1. Unfortunately, i highly doubt that. The FIA will act only as a result of a protest backed with strong evidence and a lot of whining from both RBR and Ferrari despite having scrutinized the entire car.

      1. No. A secret contract btw ma-FIA, LB & Daimler Benz , Merz HAS to win this LAST year too.

  9. Honestly I struggle to see what Mercedes is doing differently from the others. Initially I thought it was about the vanes that looks like supporting the mirrors and had in mind that they are allowed only 2 mounts which Mercedes seems to comply to seen from the side. Most teams have some wings holding the mirrors or mirror shape and casing that are somehow aero driven.

    List of pictures from day 4 that show the different designs:
    Mercedes: front view, side view
    Alpha Tauri
    Aston Martin

    It does show Ferrari has the simplest version but not major difference in intention between Mercedes and the others (or I am missing something). They have more turning vanes, but I guess this is separate from the mirror definition or are they using the mirror design box to include these vanes and this is the polemic?

    1. I think they must be trying to count the mandated SIPS structure and its fairing as just being a mirror mount, in which case it shouldn’t be used as an aerodynamic device. However, if you compare it instead with the Alpha Tauri, it’s very similar just with the sidepod removed.

  10. 100% agree with Binotto… I would be surprised if the mirrors design is not deemed against the spirit of the rules…as a matter of fact there have been similar precedents not so long a go.

  11. That upper surface is normally a part of the sidepods as a crash structure on other cars. So its main use isnt a mirror mount, my question is if they connect that part with the side pod with a small string is that going make it ok? If not, the interpretation of Redbulls mirror mounts forming the leading edge of the side pod, how does the line being drawn on this technical matter. I am curious what will come of it..

  12. I don’t mind teams pushing the limits but for me this is a clearly more an aero device than mirror and hence should be banned. Pretty sure similar attempts in the past have also been banned so don’t see it likely they will be on the car at the first race. Also think the vortex generators need removing but not sure on regulations on those in that area so they may not be illegal and left to stay.

    1. It’s not a wing! It’s the crash structure so has to be there. You can’t just remove a safety device.

      1. Yes you can. Mercedes-Benz just did exactly that.
        The remaining “crash structure” is misused as aero platform and not with regard of driver safety in mind.

        1. Try reading up on this stuff. They have exactly the same crash structure as everyone else, it’s just more visible as most teams have it hidden inside the sidepods.

          Here’s an article with some decent info to help

          Also, ask yourself this: If RBR had come up with this, would you be decrying it as unsafe, or would you be lauding an innovative solution?

          1. Thanks for the article. I tend to avoid that site as a result of extreme prejudice there.
            Still reading the article and have some experience with safety structures I stay with my original remark. This construction is way less able to absorb energy compared with more traditional sis.
            As such a dangerous development and I am afraid there had to be a incident before things will far as your last remark.. Its a pity you keep thinking in polarisation.
            Try some lateral thinking. Apart from the safety it generates interesting concepts.

          2. The construction of the structure is exactly the same on the Merc as on all the other cars. It is a spec part. The only difference is that, on others, it is inside (not part of) the sidepod. It is no more “able to absorb energy” on any other car on the grid because it is identical.

            As for “thinking in polarisation”, I only add that because the only time I ever see you criticising anything is when it is to do with Mercedes, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you praise them for anything, and the reverse is true for RBR. I may have misjudged you. Maybe, if RBR had produced this design, you would be decrying the safety of it just as loudly, but previous evidence suggests otherwise.

    2. I’m talking about the mirror design, not the crash structure housing which is fine. Specifically how the slot between the top and the actual mirror housing forms a turning vane to channel air onto the vortex generators.

      1. @slowmo

        Looking at pics, several of the teams’ mirrors are very similar, including RBR and especially AT. If the Merc design is not legal, I think most teams will also be required to redesign their mirror housings.

        1. @drmouse just checked and I think most of them are taking the proverbial with their designs. Pretty sure most of them could be banned. Will be interesting what turns up at the first race.

  13. It is definitely against the “Spirit” of the rules in that area.

  14. It’s not the mirror support that’s the problem, which are mounted on top of a piece of bodywork containing their side impact protection structures, which is the wing like structure. Is there a regulation for the shape of the side impact protection structure?

    1. Oh!!, thats a good point. Interesting :-0
      However re all the mirrors, i think they should all just use cameras.

    2. “Is there a regulation for the shape of the side impact protection structure?”

      The side impact structure will be the same as everyone else’s, it’s just covered with a carbon fibre shroud, like the ones everyone has around the Halo.

    3. “Is there a regulation for the shape of the side impact protection structure?”

      13.5.1 Side Impact Structure Specification

      However, while it states that it should all be covered by bodywork, it doesn’t state what shape that bodywork should be.
      A team would clearly be foolish to use a non-aerodynamic shape.

      As to the turning vanes adjacent to the mirror, I think Ferrari may be the only team without an obvious equivalent. RBR is a somewhat curvy slab, AM is a more genteel curved plate.
      AM also share the MB lack of a horizontal wing disguised as a side support of the mirror.

      In short, everyone is exploiting the mirror attachments to get some kind of aero effect.
      Critics of the MB solution should note that where the downwash of air from that SIPS “wing” is directed is the side pod slot intake.

  15. I can’t see how the FIA would have allowed it if it wasn’t legal… As with the Sidepods (or lack of!) Mercedes have made it clear that they have involved the FIA at all stages – so if there was any issues I’m sure tehy would have been advised before presenting the car to the world!

  16. Perhaps Binotto should look more closely at the Ferrari mirror supports before complaining too much…

    On the Ferrari each mirror is supported by two supports. The longer horizontal one with a curved element is clearly designed to guide airflow over the top of their nicely sculpted sidepods, and I suppose that’s not for aero benefit?

    On the Mercedes, the part he seems to have taken issue with is the housing of the side impact structure which is aerodynamically shaped and needs to be there. This is therefore merely shaped bodywork. The mirror support is then mounted on top of this.

    The actual Mercedes mirror housing, is very similar to the mirror housing on the Red Bull too, with a separated top edge, as teams have done for years.

  17. TBH, as much as I dislike spec parts, I do think the mirrors should become spec with a specific mounting structure and strict specifications on deflection under load and vibration resistance. This would allow them to be designed primarily for their main purpose, increasing rearward visibility, instead of them being just an afterthought or repurposed to act as aerodynamic components.

  18. I see a full wing there that huppens to have a mirror on top :)

    1. What constitutes a wing?

      Normally teams side impact structures are covered by their sidepods, so should sidepods be banned? they are essentially huge wings. Merc have proved you don’t need sidepods to house radiators.

      1. A crash structure is a safety measure to protect the driver. While the wing like structure Mercedes misuses as aero part probably passed the test its way less protective compared with a more traditional structure that has way more room for absorbing an impact. Very dangerous development.

        1. “Very dangerous development.”

          Omg, so dangerous /sarcasm

        2. Given your history here. I’m sure you’re hoping a Mercedes driver dies in a crash because of that unsafe structure. Rejoice.

          1. Appalling post.

        3. I am pretty sure the SIPS structure is a standard part. 4 must be mounted on the car, 2 on either side, at specified locations. Most teams have them inside the sidepods, but they are the same structures mounted according to the same specifications.

          1. It does. The sis as part of the box is able to withstand way more energy absorbing.
            Just two sis points are very dangerous as we will see in time I am afraid.
            The problem is there seems no longer need for a side impact test. So it’s probably legal but extremely such not acceptable.

  19. The crash structure seems dangerous on mercedes, not for the driver in the Mercedes but if someone would crash into the part it could cause lots of dangerous situations, f1 cars shouldn’t have these pointy sides I really hope the FIA would ban this no-streamline crash structure

    1. You don’t understand what’s going on here.

      All teams have those structures on their cars, they have to be there by regulation, they’re just hidden underneath a carbon fibre sidepod that would help in no way with a collision with another car, the side impact structure is much more robust than the sidepod itself.

      No other team have mentioned this ‘safety issue’ because they understand it is not one, teams are complaining about the mirrors because they understand that if this is actually a much better solution, they will all have to completely redesign the internals of their car, and thats a huge headache.

      1. They are part of the side pot! As such the ability to absorb energy is way bigger then the aero wing Mercedes uses.
        Dangerous and should be banned inmediatly.
        But we can always wait for a crash with serious consequences before banning it.

        1. Don’t worry, all this moaning will go away if it turns out Merc isn’t the quickest package.

          1. That is not important. They trade safety against expected speed profits. Unacceptable.

        2. They are not part of the sidepod, they are just inside the sidepod.

          1. And as such a complete package able to withstand more impact!!!

          2. ‘erikje’ – Could you send us a link from last year where you complained about the Redbull side impact structure sticking out beyond the width of the sidepod? I mean its obviously a very important issue for you, you must have had many comments on that design.

            …i’ll wait

          3. I would like to see evidence that every other car on the grid integrates the spec SIPS structure as part of something which significantly increases the overall ability to absorb energy in an impact. As the regulations obviously don’t demand it, there is every possibility that there have been designs in the past 8 years which have not done so, including designs on the grid today.

            Also, if the extra strength is required and the spec structure itself is not strong enough to fulfil its purpose, surely it should have been part of the regs that this is done? Seeing as the FIA is allowed to unilaterally make changes for safety reasons, if it’s as dangerous as you believe then they have every opportunity to change it whenever they want.

  20. Its a great case to follow as it is clearly an aero component that just happens to have a mirror on it. If FIA allows this we all know who owns who.

    1. It’s a mandatory, spec safety structure with a fairing, which happens to have a mirror on it. If the FIA allow it, we will know they are following their own regulations around the positioning of the mandated SIPS structures.

  21. If they are going to clamp down on the teams financially, they should be less restrictive in terms of aero and mechanical regulations. Let the teams spend their limited funds where they want.

    What is the violated principle behind mirrors with wings? I don’t see a problem with it.

  22. The reason the Ferrari mirror was banned in 2018 was that it was attached to the halo. Not an area deemed to be used for that purpose. In this case, the crash structure is and has always been used for the same purpose Mercedes is using it now.

    To argue about it’s shape you’d have to demand that wishbones used in the suspension be made ONLY of a tubular shape.

  23. The rest of the teams should be embarrassed to constantly whine about Mercedes designs. Their engineers have no imagination.

    1. Nonsense, but expect bfrom a blind hamfabn.
      Look at the ferrari and the Aston Martin and the Redbull.
      All very interesting completely opposite solutions. The Williams and Mercedes solutions are just on the same track.

    2. @jimfromus I haven’t detected any ‘constant whine,’ just general discussion that is always inevitable every new season and especially this historic one, and it remains to be seen if Mercedes are even on to something. I’m not sure that the porpoising LH is complaining about is something to be envied right now, but if Mercedes are on to something, that hasn’t seemed to show itself yet. Such early days too. The changes and adaptations are going to come fast and furious, so I don’t think any team has anything to whine about as everything is so up in the air. In terms of ‘imagination’ I wouldn’t be underestimating the likes of Adrian Newey.

      1. @robbie indeed we should just enjoy the excitement and build up with the new cars and try to ignore the politicking by the teams. Everyone is focused on the sidepods on the Mercedes but you can bet there are other innovations on that car being overlooked in the drama.

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