Brawn: Extreme Mercedes design not anticipated by F1 2022 rules

Formula 1 managing director Ross Brawn says the “extreme” Mercedes sidepod solution unveiled at the Bahrain test was not anticipated when the 2022 regulations were written.

Brawn: Extreme Mercedes design not anticipated by F1 2022 rules

Brawn called the W13 upgrade “impressive” and indicated he believed the FIA has no issue with the route that the Brackley team has chosen.

However, he cautioned that rivals could raise objections that could lead to the FIA taking a closer look and which could ultimately trigger a rule change.

The FIA and the F1 organisation that helped to formulate the new rules are both particularly keen to ensure that the main objective of allowing cars to follow is not compromised.

“I think there's no doubt that the Mercedes concept we didn't anticipate, it's a very extreme interpretation of the regulations,” Brawn said in an interview with F1 TV.

“And I think inevitably, there's going be a lot of debate about their interpretation. That's what happens with new regulations. And however hard you try to close off all the options, and believe me, we closed off hundreds of them, as I say the innovation in F1, it's always extreme.

“So from our perspective, it's largely about does it affect the objective of the regulations? From the teams’ perspective, they want to be sure that no one's taken an interpretation that they don't feel is correct. So I think there's going to be a lot of debate in next few days.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Brawn stressed that it was up to the FIA to judge the legality of every car and suggested there is no issue with the Mercedes so far, but that could change if a rival team lodges an objection that highlights a specific area of concern.

“It's impressive,” Brawn said of the W13. “And I think this is the great thing about the innovation of F1, and it's just keeping it within boundaries which are sensible, and there are no compromises as I say, in terms of the objective of what we wanted to achieve.

“I think you have to be fair, I think when a team comes up with an idea, with innovation, with novelty, you shouldn't penalise it straight away.

“But I think as it's understood more the FIA really, as a regulator of the sport know everything that's going on there, we don't as F1, because we're not entitled to have information. But the regulator of the sport knows what's going on. I think they're okay with it so far.

“But of course, a team may come in and raise an objection that the FIA hadn't considered. And then you have a problem. And I've been through that many times where your idea is okay, the FIA agrees it's okay.

“And then a team comes in with a perspective that have never been considered and have an argument that's valid. So I'm sure there's going to be a lot of discussion about it. But it's impressive for a set of rules, which everybody said was too prescriptive. We're seeing all these solutions."

Brawn made it clear that under F1’s revised governance it is possible to adjust the technical regulations during the season, even if two teams do not agree.

That option was designed into the system in large part to rein in any unexpected innovations, especially if, for example, they compromise the overall objective of enabling the cars to follow each other more easily.

“I think one of the significant things that we changed was the governance in F1,” said Brawn.

“Because in the past who needed everybody to agree to a change in the season, now you can make a change with 80% of the teams agreeing, as long as the FIA and F1 also agree.

“I think once the interpretation that Mercedes have made has been understood, then we can get a balanced view or we can take a view on its impact, what effect it's going to have, because spirit is such a grey area.

“At the end of the day, you have to go on what the wording of the regulation is, because if you take it to a court, that's what they judge it on. But that wording can be changed. With an 80% team majority, we can change the wording.

“So if something has slipped by, then the teams are aware that that could happen. And that can happen live during the season. So we need to see how this one plays out.”

Ross Brawn, Managing Director of Motorsports, FOM, speaks to a Pirelli technician

Ross Brawn, Managing Director of Motorsports, FOM, speaks to a Pirelli technician

Photo by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images

Looking at the pitlane as a whole Brawn stressed he has seen nothing that might trigger such a rule change or clarification.

“It's impossible to anticipate the creative scope of the teams. And once they get the regulations, you've got a thousand engineers working on all the regulations, and they can use them,” he said.

Read Also:

“So some of the solutions quite honestly, we never anticipated. And I think we will go back into investigating those solutions, and make sure they maintain the objective of the new rules.

“I think they do. I mean, our initial impressions are that there's nothing here that we would be overly concerned about in terms of those objectives of the regulations. And so it's just fascinating to see such a wide range of solutions.

“And what's I think become a step change for the teams is a lot of new cooler innovation, a lot of new innovation in the heat exchangers, and the radiators, that has become available, as it's given them more scope to create the designs they've got.”

shares
comments

Related video

The key tech changes that could disrupt F1 2022
Previous article

The key tech changes that could disrupt F1 2022

Next article

2022 F1 Bahrain test: Leclerc tops morning session as final test begins

2022 F1 Bahrain test: Leclerc tops morning session as final test begins
Assessing Hamilton's remarkable decade as a Mercedes F1 driver Plus

Assessing Hamilton's remarkable decade as a Mercedes F1 driver

Many doubted Lewis Hamilton’s move from McLaren to Mercedes for the 2013 Formula 1 season. But the journey he’s been on since has taken the Briton to new heights - and to a further six world championship titles

Formula 1
Feb 2, 2023
Why new look Haas is a litmus test for Formula 1’s new era Plus

Why new look Haas is a litmus test for Formula 1’s new era

OPINION: With teams outside the top three having struggled in Formula 1 in recent seasons, the rules changes introduced in 2022 should have more of an impact this season. How well Haas does, as the poster child for the kind of team that F1 wanted to be able to challenge at the front, is crucial

Formula 1
Feb 2, 2023
The Mercedes F1 pressure changes under 10 years of Toto Wolff Plus

The Mercedes F1 pressure changes under 10 years of Toto Wolff

OPINION: Although the central building blocks for Mercedes’ recent, long-lasting Formula 1 success were installed before he joined the team, Toto Wolff has been instrumental in ensuring it maximised its finally-realised potential after years of underachievement. The 10-year anniversary of Wolff joining Mercedes marks the perfect time to assess his work

Formula 1
Feb 1, 2023
The all-French F1 partnership that Ocon and Gasly hope to emulate Plus

The all-French F1 partnership that Ocon and Gasly hope to emulate

Alpine’s signing of Pierre Gasly alongside Esteban Ocon revives memories of a famous all-French line-up, albeit in the red of Ferrari, for BEN EDWARDS. Can the former AlphaTauri man's arrival help the French team on its path back to winning ways in a tribute act to the Prancing Horse's title-winning 1983?

Formula 1
Jan 31, 2023
How do the best races of F1 2022 stack up to 2021? Plus

How do the best races of F1 2022 stack up to 2021?

OPINION: A system to score all the grands prix from the past two seasons produces some interesting results and sets a standard that 2023 should surely exceed

Formula 1
Jan 31, 2023
Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022? Plus

Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022?

Who was the fastest driver in 2022? Everyone has an opinion, but what does the stopwatch say? Obviously, differing car performance has an effect on ultimate laptime – but it’s the relative speed of each car/driver package that’s fascinating and enlightening says ALEX KALINAUCKAS

Formula 1
Jan 30, 2023
Why F1's nearly man is refreshed and ready for his return Plus

Why F1's nearly man is refreshed and ready for his return

He has more starts without a podium than anyone else in Formula 1 world championship history, but Nico Hulkenberg is back for one more shot with Haas. After spending three years on the sidelines, the revitalised German is aiming to prove to his new team what the F1 grid has been missing

Formula 1
Jan 29, 2023
The potential-laden F1 car that Ferrari neglected Plus

The potential-laden F1 car that Ferrari neglected

The late Mauro Forghieri played a key role in Ferrari’s mid-1960s turnaround, says STUART CODLING, and his pretty, intricate 1512 was among the most evocative cars of the 1.5-litre era. But a victim of priorities as Formula 1 was deemed less lucrative than success in sportscars, its true potential was never seen in period

Formula 1
Jan 28, 2023