Brawn: Wing-gate a distraction from exhaust-gate


The FIA was kept abreast of the Mercedes wing-stalling device throughout the system's development. Speaking to the press in Melbourne Ross Brawn confirmed that the team worked closely with FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting to ensure it was legal before the team ever touched down in Australia.

"Obviously we kept the FIA informed of what we were doing," said Brawn. "They physically checked the system on Wednesday. They were completely happy with it."

On Friday Whiting confirmed to the media that the Mercedes wing, whilst an innovative interpretation of the rules, did not contravene them. As a result Brawn is perplexed at the ongoing scrutiny of the device.

"There were some stories earlier that there were going to be some protests," he said. "I think that would be very unfortunate. It's not really the way to resolve these issues - we've never done that.

"A protest after qualifying or after a race is not very pleasant because it can be done on a Thursday or it can be done on a Friday when it's less critical, when the system can be turned off," he continued. "To protest someone after they've been through qualifying is a bit unpleasant and certainly not something we would intentionally do."

Ensuring the system's compliance with the rules was a fundamental requirement, and one Brawn was at pains to be sure of. "My personal practice is if we have anything which is a little unusual or innovative to share it with the FIA.

"It's good manners, and it's some security because you don't want to give the FIA a shock. If someone goes to the FIA technical group and says 'we've seen this, we don't like it', when they come and look at your car, you don't want that to be the first time they've seen the system or the concept or the detail."

Brawn suggests that with attention focussed on his own cars it takes the heat off teams who have equally innovative solutions in other areas. "To be honest, what we've done has taken the spotlight off the exhaust systems that people are running because they're nowhere near what was intended by the FIA," he claimed. "The FIA probably told you all that we weren't going to have exhaust blown diffusers anymore. We thought we weren't going to have them, and yet several cars have got them.

"Our wing system has probably taken the spotlight off of what is clearly something that wasn't intended. But that's the nature of Formula One. You have to work to written regulations and if someone can see a clever interpretation then that's the nature of our business."

Mercedes has no intention of protesting the exhausts, Brawn revealed, having already received clarification that what some teams have this year are legal. "We've been through the FIA and challenged the FIA to the interpretation.

"They've told us that they're comfortable with what's happened," he continued. "We respect that and obviously we're looking at the systems that people are using to see if we feel they could be of benefit to us."

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Published: 17/03/2012
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