Outboard mirrors are to be banned from Formula 1 with effect from the Chinese Grand Prix in two weeks' time, AUTOSPORT has learned, following concerns over poor visibility from sidepod-mounted mirrors creating a safety issue.
Several teams have mounted their mirrors on the sidepods of their cars for aerodynamic reasons, with Ferrari and Red Bull Racing's mirror positioning the most dramatic. But from Shanghai onwards, the mirrors will have to be fitted on the cockpit sides on safety grounds.
Drivers had said in Melbourne last weekend that they would be speaking to the FIA about the mirror problem. Several issues of accidental blocking in practice were put down to poor rear visibility.
"Everyone has got a problem with mirrors," said Sauber's Pedro de la Rosa in Australia. "The reality is that the mirrors on the sidepods, they give you very small vision of what is happening behind and they vibrate a lot so you see very little.
"So if you don't have a lot of information coming from the radio, then you have a problem. You can see when you have a car straight behind okay, but when it is two seconds behind you have no idea where it is.
"Everyone has the same problem, but since the mirrors have gone outboard this is a problem - as they are aerodynamic devices now."
But Ferrari's Felipe Massa said he was quite happy with his team's mirror design.
"I have no problem with my visibility," he insisted. "So, if it is the same I prefer to keep what I have, but we will see how it is going to be. I hope we don't lose anything moving the mirrors from one side to the other."