Mercedes willing to risk protest of F1 wheel design in Abu Dhabi GP

Mercedes says it is willing to risk the threat of a protest at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix by running its wheel spacers for the Formula 1 season finale

Mercedes willing to risk protest of F1 wheel design in Abu Dhabi GP

The controversial wheel rim design - which features extra holes to help cooling of the rear tyres - has been the focus of unease from Ferrari which has questioned its legality.

Although the concept has been signed off by the FIA technical department, and was approved for use by the stewards at the Mexican Grand Prix, Mercedes has avoided racing the spacers in the three races since the Japanese GP because it did not want to risk a potential protest from a rival team.

But with both world championships now settled, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says his outfit is more willing to run them, with a final decision set to be made ahead of Saturday.

"We are testing them today and then we will decide whether we run them open or closed," Wolff told Sky Sports F1.

"Probably we will run them open and see what the effect is."

Wolff clarified that Mercedes took the spacers off its cars for recent races because it wanted to avoid any chance of championship success being tainted by a legality dispute.

"We wanted to avoid the controversy," he explained. "It was a very hot topic.

"Ferrari didn't like them, [but] we got permission from the FIA to run them.

"We didn't want the championship to end up in the courtroom. We didn't see it as a massive benefit, so we might as well give it a go this weekend.

"The championship is decided so we can have a controversy after the last race. It doesn't affect the championship anymore."

Ferrari has always denied that it ever had any intention of lodging a protest over the matter, but Mercedes still did not want to risk any chance of post-race trouble while the drivers' and constructors' championships were not decided.

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Series Formula 1
Teams Mercedes
Author Scott Mitchell
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