Site logo

Wolff warns of protests and counter protests in Baku

NEWS STORY
24/05/2021

Due to the nature of the circuit, the 'bendy-wing' saga was on the back burner for much of the Monaco weekend.

That said, at Friday's official press conference, Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff reiterated his threat of protesting the rear wing on the Red Bull car in Baku next month, the track's long straights almost begging for such a device.

Andreas Seidl had previously criticised the FIA for delaying the revised test for wing rigidity until the French Grand Prix, thereby effectively handing those teams running such devices a 'get out of jail' card for the Baku weekend.

Though the McLaren boss effectively ruled out an official protest, Wolff didn't.

"My view is very similar to Andreas," he said. "We have seen in the past that complicated redesigns for teams had a delay. It's clear that, if you have a back-to-back race, or maybe even two weeks, it's too short for everybody to adjust - but we're having four weeks to Baku and it is incomprehensible that, within four weeks you can't stiffen-up a rear wing for the track that is probably the most affected by flexible rear wings.

"That leaves us in no-man's land," he added, "because the Technical Directive says the movement of some rear wings has been judged as excessive - so teams who would run these kinds of wings are prone to being protested and probably this is going to do to the ICA, and nobody needs this messy situation."

Asked about claims that the front wing on the W12 bends, Wolff replied: We will need to modify our wing... we need to soften it!

"Our wing is extremely rigid," he continued, "complying to the famous article 3.8 that it must remain immobile.

"The new test that has been introduced is a half-baked solution," he added, "which is giving us opportunity and the whole thing can soften and can bend more in the future."

Speaking on Sunday however, in the wake of the "disaster" that saw Lewis Hamilton finish seventh and Valtteri Bottas sidelined by an errant wheel nut, Wolff returned to the 'bendy-wing' theme, warning of protests and counter protests in two weeks' time.

"If the 'limbo' wings are on in Baku, with the advantage that we see, it's going to go to the stewards," he told Sky Sports. "And if the stewards are not enough, then it's going to go to the ICA (International Court of Appeal).

"So I guess the FIA is going to clarify things before Baku, because if not, it could be very messy."

Asked about the possibility of Red Bull protesting the front wing on the W12, he replied: "We've analysed the front wings, and they are bending exactly the same way as the Red Bull - so we could be protesting each other on the front wing also.

"But it's clear that the rear wing bends more than it should," he insisted. "Under the rules, it has been classified as non-conformant. But we are left in a vacuum where it's a new test that will be introduced after Baku. So it is what it is. But we are pretty robust in our legal position."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Monaco, here.

LATEST NEWS

more news >

RELATED ARTICLES

LATEST IMAGES

galleries >

  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images

POST A COMMENT

or Register for a Pitpass ID to have your say

Please note that all posts are reactively moderated and must adhere to the site's posting rules and etiquette.

Post your comment

READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by kenji, 27/05/2021 2:25

"@ Mad Matt...Good comments...Yes, sometimes questions need to be asked and the answers are not always in line with ones own inbuilt biases and I plead guilty [ at times ] to that specific mental fragility. That's why sometimes a legal solution is desirable as it allows for all viewpoints to be tested in a non biased environment and a reasoned conclusion reached. "

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Mad Matt, 26/05/2021 16:05

"@kenji You're right, the legality of the DAS system was never tested by someone protesting. I also agree that rules don't seem to be implemented with, how shall we put it? With equal fervour?

My earliest F1 memory was watching James Hunt in his World Championship winning year and over the years there have been some very questionable decisions made... or not made.

Personally I like to see rules and punishments implemented equally for all and I have the feeling that this isn't the case today."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by kenji, 26/05/2021 14:40

"@ Mad Matt...your quote, 'DAS was different as it didn't break the rules'. That is a highly debatable point. There were serious concerns that by manually adjusting the 'toe-in' whilst the car was in motion did in fact alter the ride height by varying amounts. If so then it was illegal. Why it wasn't protested and tested in court was a major disappointment. To do this would either legitimise a clever new development which all teams could emulate or either it would be thrown out and no team would be able to enjoy an unfair advantage. Mystery abounds in F1...like Racing Point being allowed to complete the '20 season with legitimate protests being lodged re their Mercedes copied brake ducts!!!! If ever there ws travesty that was it."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

4. Posted by Mad Matt, 26/05/2021 10:49

"Aren't we straying away from the core issue? The rules say no bendy wings, it looks like some teams have found a way which evades the FIAs attempt to detect if they've broken the rules and now the FIA will amend its tests accordingly.

Either that's fair as those teams with bendy wings know they were pushing their luck or those teams who haven't been breaking the rules now need to invest time and money to break the rules too. This is not the first time the FIA have had to change the tests.

DAS was different as it didn't break the rules, it was just deemed undesirable. Are there other examples where the FIA has let people continue breaking the rules? Yes, I think the Pink Mercedes break ducts qualify, although that seems to have been more or less accepted by the other teams in the end.

How much is the advantage of the bendy wing? Difficult to say, there is clearly some or people wouldn't be doing it but I'm not sure we can compare simple straight line speeds as one car might be running its wing at a different angle than the other, one team might have a more powerful engine than the other etc etc...."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

5. Posted by kenji, 26/05/2021 2:14

"@ GWS...' a bendy rear wing etc etc etc' You might recall that Hamilton stated publically that the RB rear wing deflection gave then a 3/10 favourable advantage on the straights at the Barcelona GP? He said that RB were faster than them. The facts are that he was totally wrong and foolishly everyone bought it! Facts as published,

Barcelona speed trap.....Mercedes/Hamilton 317.2kph
Red Bull/ Verstappen 313.0kph.

Mercedes were actually faster in the straight. Surely that begs the question...no? I sometimes have trouble with accepting the 'court of public opinion' as we very rarely get unbiased media reports, in fact, many times they are so blatantly misrepresented at the time that it makes no sense to even contemplate conclusions. The Ferrari imbroglio is a case in fact. The FIA never charged them with any misdemeanour and they were never found 'guilty' of running an illegal car. Whatever the consequences of that investigation were Ferrari are still 'not guilty' and the public are making assumptions that have no foundation in law.... ATM.

"

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

6. Posted by Great_white_shark, 25/05/2021 22:17

"A bendy rear wing can easily be worth up to half a second a lap so I fail to understand why some fans play it down like it is something trivial. Perhaps they fail to realise it is illegal and it is not because you pass a test that it makes it legal. There is a difference between exploiting a loophole like the sharkfin or DAS and cheating a test like Ferrari and their fuel sensor. Perhaps they are ok with teams cheating if it means another team wins the championship? "

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

7. Posted by Stitch431, 25/05/2021 21:46

"To me, it looks like Mercedes has something they are trying to divert attention from by making a lot of fuss. You see that kind of trumpy things more often lately. I think that if people were given enough time to look at it exactly, there are certain things at Mercedes that are on the edge of legality on their own, otherwise, their own engineers would not be worth their money because everyone on the grid looks for the borders of what is allowed. Therefore, when Toto keeps on whining like this, sooner or later he is going to get it back. After all, they had the benefit last year of not having to change an illegal system before the start of this season. "

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

8. Posted by Rock Doc, 25/05/2021 17:50

"So when the Merc's had their fancy system to change the toe in of the front wheels to help warm tires (Hamilton could really have used that at Monaco) which was deemed to be breaking the spirit of the rules they were allowed to keep it for the whole season. But when another team finds a different way to break the spirit of the rules then it has to be acted on immediately.

Let's face it all the teams are looking for ways to get an advantage. We expect it. If it passes the test then it is raced. If it is found to be illegal then ban it. It's the inconsistency that drives fans crazy.

Toto definitely has more pull with the FIA and so is able to get more for Merc's.

Personally I would not be surprised if Red Bull didn't already have a solution all spec'd up. They would have know someone would complain and were just seeing how long it would take to be noticed. I'm sure why are very happy to be able to get closer to the Merc's on pace and get them rattled. I guess the Merc's blinked first."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

9. Posted by kenji, 25/05/2021 0:26

"@ Flyinglap...You raise some very pertinent facts in your analysis which I fully agree with. The whole Mercedes/Wolff/F1 involvement needs to be scrutinised.In particular the arrogance of arrangement regards Russell and Wolffe's ability to 'instruct' him when he is contracted to another team/competitor is without question, unhealthy. To allow teams to place their junior drivers in competitor teams for certain considerations is also questionable. What's the difference between that and 'race fixing'? I would even question the fact that by allowing some owners the opportunity to own or have certain levels of investment in more that one team is also suspect when it comes down to competition and 'mutual understanding' of track position relativity as 'hinted' at by Zac Brown's recent open letter. At best certain areas are decidedly murky even by F1 standards."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

10. Posted by Simon in Adelaide, 25/05/2021 0:25

"Nothing more than a Mercedes smokescreen, I wonder if Mr Horner will be making any observations about wheel nuts."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

11. Posted by flyinglap, 24/05/2021 18:22

"Here we go again, Toto Wolff ruthlessly applying pressure to the FIA in order to... bend the situation to his team's favor. Last year Racing Point was allowed to race for the entire season with a certified illegal brake system "by Mercedes", while for this year McLaren was allowed to develop and to run effectively a new car, contrary to everybody else", in order to accomodate the new Mercedes powertrain (this looks like a pattern to me). Conversely, last year Ferrari was obliged to relinquish their short-lived engine advantage, even if their engine was not illegal per the FIA (most likely Ferrari was blackmailed by levaraging the potentially negative repercussion to their stock price that any legal proceedings might have had; Ferrari now being a public company run by financiers). I trust that neither Red Bull nor the FIA will be intimidated by Wolff's threats. There are already tests in place, there is no need to introduce even stricter ones so that Mercedes will be happy to continue winning unchallenged. Rather than obliging the entire grid to change their wings during the course of this season, Mercedes could simply develop a 'bendy wing' of their own (which nevertheless should pass the current test; not that simple apparently). That would be an intelligent use of resources indeed."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

12. Posted by Mad Matt, 24/05/2021 17:19

"I think we've already been round this: Passing the test doesn't guarantee that a team isn't breaking the rules. The rule says no bending so if evidence of bending can be offered then a protest is possible... of any team."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

13. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 24/05/2021 15:42

"Red Bull rear wing passes FIA test so is legal to race, changed wing will conform to new test when implemented, so Toto effectively protesting the FIA for not bringing in new test soon enough now Red Bull a serious rival. "

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

Share this page

X

Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2021. All rights reserved.

about us  |  advertise  |  contact  |  privacy & security  |  rss  |  terms