Mercedes reportedly suspected of foul play, avoids protest

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

According to reports Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren are implying that Mercedes might have known about the FIA’s ‘anti-porpoising’ directive before it was announced.

On Thursday the FIA announced the steps it is taking to reduce ‘porpoising’ on the grounds of drivers’ health and safety.

In their notes, the organization has allowed the teams to add an extra floor stay as a short-term solution to keep their cars steady.

However, Mercedes already had an extra floor stay ready to put on their cars for Friday’s Canadian Grand Prix free practice session.

According to Auto Motor und Sport, this has caused Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren to openly question how Mercedes could have had it ready just a day after the FIA’s announcement, basically implying that they must have known about this before other teams.

Mercedes has since issued a statement to explain why they had the extra stay.

“We had people who flew late to Montreal and took the material with them,” the team’s spokesperson said.

“Because of our problems with the ground, we were prepared for anything in terms of the stays.

“The second one didn’t work as expected anyway,” the spokesperson concluded.

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However, Alpine team boss Otmar Szafnauer had suggested on Saturday that Mercedes could face a full blown protest due to running an extra stay.

“The TD came out when our chief technical officer was flying over, so it was quite late,” Szafnauer said.

“We aren’t able to produce a stay here and as far as the process goes, it is a technical directive and technical directives, as we all know, aren’t regulations.”

“It could very well be that we shouldn’t be running this in qualifying and in the race. If teams have brought those stays, I would imagine they could be perhaps looked at after and protested.

“It is against the regulation as it stands today but we definitely don’t have one and unfortunately, if you do have an extra stay, you can run the car lower and stiffer and gain some advantage,” Szafnauer concluded.

However, the protest is now off the table, because Mercedes confirmed they will not be using the extra stay for the rest of the weekend, as it proved to be ineffective in Friday’s practice sessions.

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