F1 teams set to discuss rule tweaks to avert "mirror war"

Formula 1 teams are set for discussions on Tuesday aimed at heading off the risk of a "mirror war", in the wake of Mercedes' aggressive design.

F1 teams set to discuss rule tweaks to avert "mirror war"

As part of the upgrades that Mercedes brought to its W13 for last week's Bahrain test, it included an innovative mirror stay concept on its side impact structure fins – which included a range of vanes.

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto suggested that, while the design complied with the regulations now, there was a risk that teams could go aggressive and push the boundaries even more in creating some 'spaceship' designs in the future.

But, ahead of a meeting of Formula 1's Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) on Tuesday, there is a belief that the issue will get addressed.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said: "You certainly don't want to get in to a mirror war.

"So much time in these technical meetings over the last 10 years or so has been talking about the function of the mirrors and whether they become wings or not, and it is probably not the intention.

"I'm sure in the right forum, in the TAC meeting they have, that will probably be addressed and discussed there."

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

The FIA's head of single-seater matters Nikolas Tombazis suggested the issue right now was that the wording of the current regulations has left some ambiguity about whether or not certain bodywork is or is not part of the mirror design.

In theory, the mirrors are not classified as bodywork, so according to article 3.2.2. of F1's technical regulations their aerodynamic influence: "Must be incidental to its main function. Any design which aims to maximise such an aerodynamic influence is prohibited."

However, the rules also do allow teams to declare some bodywork as 'mirror stay' – so they get viewed in a different way.

Tombazis said: "The regulations state that bodywork declared as mirrors stay, and there's two types of stay, must fulfil certain conditions. It must lie in this box, it must lie in whatever, not have sections or whatever. The way that is phrased, it assigns the name mirror stay to that bodywork that is declared as such.

"The regulation could have said the bodywork declared as ABC must lie in that, and it doesn't, there's no direct association between the name and the function.

"In other areas of the car, in other areas of the regulations, we have a statement like: 'For the sole purpose of something, you must do XYZ.' And then we take a different view there, because it says there the regulations state specifically an objective or a reason for the existence of a certain component.

"If we see a team obviously doing something different and using that function as an excuse, we tend to not allow it. On the other hand, for the mirror stays, that wording isn't there, and therefore, at least at the moment, we've formed that opinion."

The 2021 Formula 1 technical regulations are unveiled in a press conference, Nikolas Tombazis

The 2021 Formula 1 technical regulations are unveiled in a press conference, Nikolas Tombazis

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

While it is unlikely that TAC will push for the Mercedes mirror design to be outlawed, what could happen is that the rules are reworded for 2023 to ensure that designs do not become even more extreme.

Tombazis added: "We always assess rules for following years, and we assess whether things are clear, whether the new rules sometimes contain things that may not have been phrased as well as intended and so on.

Read Also:

"I think by and large, the level of discrepancy is quite low from what is intended, but there are a few little areas, and we discussed that with the teams. We'll have another TAC meeting on Tuesday I believe to discuss these matters."

shares
comments

Related video

Why Mercedes' F1 test struggles are different this time
Previous article

Why Mercedes' F1 test struggles are different this time

Next article

Ferrari: F1 2022 car not a race winner just yet

Ferrari: F1 2022 car not a race winner just yet
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Plus

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star Plus

The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s team-mate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy Plus

How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Plus

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Plus

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Plus

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022
How Verstappen's record-breaking 2022 season compares to the F1 greats Plus

How Verstappen's record-breaking 2022 season compares to the F1 greats

The 2022 Formula 1 season will be remembered as a record book rewriting Max Verstappen masterclass, a completely different challenge to his maiden world championship last year, and a clear sign he is still raising his own level. But where does it stack up against the all-time great F1 campaigns?

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2022 Formula 1 season came to a close at the Yas Marina Circuit, where the battle for second in the standings was decided, the wins in a season record extended and a retiring four-time world champion bowed out on a high. Here's how we rated the drivers

Formula 1
Nov 21, 2022