Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff is not happy with the way the FIA is handling the Red Bull “bendy” wing situation, and warn his team might need to “soften” their own rear wing.
After Lewis Hamilton said Red Bull might be gaining an advantage from their “bendy” rear wing, the FIA announced it will be introducing further tests ahead of races, to stop teams from “exploiting designs that pass the static tests but still flex at speed”.
The tests are scheduled to be introduced before the French Grand Prix in June, however, the teams running “bendy” wings might gain a significant advantage at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, which is coming before that.
At the Monaco Grand Prix Friday press conference Toto Wolff said this might lead to a “messy situation”.
“Delaying the introduction for whatever reason leaves us in a legal vacuum and leaves the door open for protests,” said the Austrian.
“It’s not only us but it’s probably two other teams that are most affected, maybe more, and obviously a protest could end up in the ICA [International Court of Appeal].
“That is a messy situation and can take weeks before we have a result. And we should have not ended in this situation if we’re having four weeks until the race that is most relevant in the calendar.”
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Wolff adds he understands why the new tests couldn’t be introduced immediately, but there is no reason to wait until after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
“It’s clear that if you have a back-to-back race, maybe even two weeks is too short for everybody to adjust, but we’re having four weeks to Baku.
“It is incomprehensible that within four weeks you can’t stiffen up the rear wing for the track that is probably the most effective for flexible rear wings.
“That leaves us in no man’s land, because the technical directive says that the movement of some rear wings has been judged as excessive.
“So, teams who would run this kind of wing are prone to be protested, and probably this is going to go to the ICA, and nobody needs this messy situation.”
Ultimately Wolff warns that the new tests still allow for a certain wing rotations, so Mercedes might also have to make their rear wing more flexible.
“We will need to modify our wing. We need to soften it. Our wing is extremely rigid, complying to the famous article 3.8 that [says] it must remain immobile.
“The new test that has been introduced is a half-baked solution, which is giving us opportunity, so the whole thing can soften and bend more in future,” concluded Mercedes’ team boss.