New Mercedes front wing, Circuit of the Americas, 2022

Mercedes in discussions with FIA over front wing upgrade it will not race

2022 United States Grand Prix

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Mercedes is in discussions with the FIA over a front wing upgrade it brought for the United States Grand Prix but will not use in today’s race.

The team brought revised parts for its rear wing, floor and front wing this weekend, but did not run the latter update yesterday due to legality concerns. “I think we’re just working on the front wing and seeing whether we think it’s good to run it,” Wolff confirmed.

The new design features additional slot gap separators which the team says “improve the rigidity of final two front wing elements”. However Wolff admitted the design may need to be changed to ensure its compliance with the rules.

“We are thinking of running it and we had an exchange with the FIA so maybe we need to tweak a little bit here and there,” he added. “But it’s not yet decided.”

Lewis Hamilton expressed disappointment at qualifying almost six-tenths of a second behind pole-winner Carlos Sainz Jnr in his upgraded W13. But Wolff believes they are closer to the pace this weekend than their qualifying result indicates.

Mercedes didn’t run their new front wing in qualifying
“Austin didn’t look great on paper a few weeks ago and then we brought the upgrade and we’re six-tenths off,” he said. “Lewis could have probably dropped two-tenths away and it would have been four-tenths away in Austin, looks like a solid result considering the weaknesses of the chassis overall.”

Russell, who has been regularly out-qualified by his team mate since the summer break, was narrowly beaten by Hamilton again yesterday. He admitted he lost confidence after nearly losing control of his car during first practice.

“I talked with him about it, he’s just not happy with the car,” said Wolff. “He says in Q3 he got it kind of together, but overall he’s not feeling comfortable in the car. He said that in FP1, the first three laps, [he had] massive confidence, the car felt really good, it’s almost like previous cars.

“Then a big moment and you kind of never get there in terms of the confidence level because the car is so unpredictable, so difficult in crosswinds, so difficult in the wind generally. The wind direction changes, the car goes from very good to very bad. So I have no doubt he’s going to get back there.”

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2022 United States Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
RJ O'Connell
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30 comments on “Mercedes in discussions with FIA over front wing upgrade it will not race”

  1. But wait, aren’t the FIA’s decisions final and not to be argued with?

    Mercedes should admit they tried to bring an illegal upgrade to their car.

    1. I don’t know why the FIA is discussing it with them either, @proesterchen. There should be no conversations about the rules – it just suggests corruption. The FIA should simply retrospectively disqualify Mercedes and its drivers from both championships. That’s how this works now, right?

      1. There should be no conversations about the rules – it just suggests corruption

        I think you’ve lost the plot. The FIA require teams to supply full CAD and explanation of the car and all updates to it before bringing anything to the track.
        Difficult to do that and not have discussions with the FIA.

        As stated by Craig Scarborough (who probably has a bit more knowledge than Ted Kravitz, unless you want to discuss politics) the design is compliant. Possibly close to the edge, but still compliant.

        1. I think you missed the sarcasm.

          If Mercedes came up with a cure for cancer, proesterchen would be opposed to it, and demand they be disqualified for exceeding the budget cap.

          1. You must be a real quality human, dropping a “cure for cancer” line given the events of this weekend.

    2. None of this makes sense. The teams can consult the FIA about the legality of a given concept before they start investing in that direction. It would be a basic mistake to develop this wing, build it, and only then check its legality. It’s probably legal by the letter of the regulations but against the purpose.

      1. Sure it does. It complies 100% with the Regulations, but there’s the Court of Horner’s Opinion. If Horner screams it’s illegal and he’ll lodge complaints, well, that’s not unusual. If other teams complain and threaten to file complaints, then it’s probably not worth the effort for Mercedes.

    3. As we’ve seen with the flexi-floor saga, these ‘rules’ are open to interpretation. The constructors have always tested their ideas through discussions with the FIA. Often they’ll be inspected ahead of formally revealing the car, or a new part. We happen to have knowledge of this discussion because we saw a new part that’s not being used, and the question was asked and this answer given, but its really nothing new.

    4. As long as they don’t run it, and account for the cost correctly (wink-wink), then it’s is only you, and some (other) biased fans, who get upset about stories like these.

  2. This is the standard thing with tech rules – from how they have used (or rather not) this wing, it looks like Mercedes brought the part to the track to get this idea banned for the future.

    I understand from Craig Scarborough that as far as he can gauge this is an interpretation that IS compliant with the rules as written. Off course it is not at all in line with what they wanted to achieve.

    1. That’s indeed a reasonable hypothesis, i.e. put it out there to protect oneself against that development direction. But it may also be a genuine development attempt, given that Brawn/Mercedes were pioneers and masters of the outwash effect.

    2. @bascb
      Mercedes have been known with Toto in charge to be always in contact with the FIA with regard to the legality of the solutions they bring to the track before even this become the standard process. So Mercedes producing an illegal wing visible even for the casual fan with all the restrictions in place under the budget cap doesn’t make sense at all.

      It could be that they want to ban the idea in the future but in the past they have successfully lobbied the FIA to get rival teams’ solutions banned. I don’t recall them bringing a bendy wing to get RBR flexi rear wing banned for example. I think this has something to do with the current budget cap saga and Toto is sending the FIA a message that he will make their life difficult and will not refrain from dragging everyone in the mud and bringing the sport into dispute if the RBR cost cap breach will not be dealt with accordingly.

      1. I think you are somewhat overthinking things there @tifoso1989!

        1. @bascb
          It could be ! As you know, I’m a bit sensitive when it comes to Mercedes and Toto in particular :) Though at least we agree that Mercedes are bringing the wing for the purpose of not racing it !

          1. As you know, I’m a bit sensitive when it comes to Mercedes and Toto in particular :)

            Don’t you say @tifoso1989! ;)

      2. Sometimes it’s much simpler: just some unclarity about the legality of the wing.

  3. BLS (@brightlampshade)
    23rd October 2022, 14:04

    This all seems rather too obvious, I agree with @bascb and think this is just a crude mock-up to stop someone else going down this route.

    Otherwise why show your hand, they’re coming third in the wcc no matter what.

    1. That is quite a thought of them really. I find it a waste, but a way to prevent other teams from introducing it, is quite a tactic, as apparently, other teams are not treated similarly.

  4. It’s pretty remarkable, because teams show upgrades on their cars before they go into production…

  5. This is not the first time mercedes brings illegal parts to the track and try to influence the FIA reminds me of the second floor stay earlier this year. I guess it’s a lot harder when your not the dominant car anymore.

    1. Just a thought. The part may be illegal to race, but its surely not illegal to test. They’ll have gather vital intel which might serve as a pointer to what they’ll legally have in store.

      1. I think it’s just a grey area they are trying to exploit. Can’t blame them for trying but it’s obvious they are desperate with their aero performance. I can remember they also tested with aeromirror constructions that were not allowed.

        1. can remember they also tested with aeromirror constructions that were not allowed.

          They are still on the cars and considered legal by the FIA.

  6. All these individuals trying to equate this wing conversation with Redbull’s overspending.

    So droll, you can literally visualise the low forehead and even lower IQ on these people.

  7. Poor Toto.
    I’ll shred a tear
    (Reference inside …)

  8. If its only a minor infrigment, just give them a fine, do it behind closed doors and make it a secret agreement just to add to f1s amazing integrity.

  9. Can’t understand how this wing exists. Everyone has think of this in the past 10 years, there is a reason nobody has been able to come out with this design.

    1. Well, if a close reading of the rules as currently written leave room for such a wing, clearly it can be brought and potentially raced @peartree, though I tend to think @bascb has the right of it and Mercedes mainly brought it out to get it cleared up (though one wonders at the budget for it then, are those bits just cheap mock-up bits they glued on?).

      1. I suspect they might have run it if the Pirelli tire test hadn’t taken most of a session.

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