Mercedes demands rules clarification


Mercedes has requested the FIA investigate ambiguities in terms of teams working with third parties.

The German team's complaint, which was made in mid-October, doesn't name names but is widely believed to question Ferrari's relationship with Haas.

Whilst current teams are strictly limited in terms of windtunnel use, the same rules do not apply to Haas which doesn't enter the sport until next season.

With an eye on Ferrari's noticeable improvement this season, it is feared the Italian team is using Haas' facilities to carry out its own development work.

"Mercedes states that it considers that there are a number of ambiguities within Appendices 6 and 8 of the 2015 Formula One Sporting Regulations," said the FIA today, "and requests the Stewards to settle the matter. The Stewards, having heard from the team representatives and the FIA Formula One Race Director; decide that this is a matter over which the Stewards have jurisdiction by virtue of Articles 11.9.1 and/or 11.9.2 of the FIA International Sporting Code and accordingly will proceed to make a determination resulting in a decision on each of the specific matters to be settled as outlined in the Mercedes request.

"Mercedes is required to appear before the Stewards at 13:15 hrs today (Saturday) and invited to make any additional submissions it may wish.

"Any other competitor in the 2015 FIA Formula One World Championship or any competitor intending to enter the 2016 FIA Formula One World Championship, or any other interested party, is invited to make submissions to the Stewards on this matter either verbally or in writing, or both.

"Written submissions must be made no later than 1700 hrs today (Saturday). Verbal submissions will be accepted at a special hearing in the Stewards Room from 1600 hrs today (Saturday). Any party wishing to make a verbal submission must contact the Stewards' Secretary at Race Control to arrange a specific time.

"The Stewards will endeavour to hand down their decision on the specific matters prior to the start of the Race on Sunday."

Toto Wolff was keen to play down talk that Mercedes was targeting Ferrari, which is expected to mount a serious challenge to the German team next season.

"We haven't launched anything against a particular team," he told reporters. "What we have sought from the FIA is a clarification to understand what you could do within the rules. It is about transparent information for all teams about what was within the rules and not at all about pointing a finger at anybody."

Ferrari was investigated earlier in the year, though the FIA subsequently cleared the Italian team of any wrongdoing. Clearly, its rivals remain unconvinced.

Wolff admits that unless the FIA clarifies the rules the situation could get out of hand as the leading teams seek to exploit it.

"This is the trigger for reorganising your structure to share aerodynamic testing restrictions quota, to collaborate and educate personnel jointly and share infrastructure," he said. "And it would eventually lead to a situation where it could become an arms race of how many corporations or partners you could sign up in order to develop at a greater speed."

It's a view shared by Ron Dennis.

"Every team would confirm that there are strenuous efforts going on to ensure that the regulations are written to ensure that it does not happen again," said the McLaren boss.

"Otherwise we would have to follow suit," he warned. "No question, in different variants of it. And it is not the future for F1."

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Published: 28/11/2015
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