Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff is confident they will avoid a legality dispute over the radical sidepod design introduced on their car today.
Following the car’s appearance, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner was reported to have raised doubts over its legality. However the team quickly moved to deny he had spoken to media about the design.
Mercedes insisted the FIA was aware of the design it was pursuing, according to Wolff. “The process is very clear when you go in a specific development direction with your team, having the FIA as part of scrutinising it, you’re exchanging CAD data and making them part of the process,” he said.
Nonetheless he wasn’t surprised to hear queries from rivals over their novel design. “It’s clear that sometimes when you come up with an innovation it creates the kind of debate that we’re having,” said Wolff. “That was expected.”
Following the revised governance structure introduced last year, Mercedes’ rivals could force them to change their sidepods if enough of them vote to outlaw the design, which Wolff acknowledged.
“We have the new governance with the super majority that’s needed,” he said. “My opinion is that I would have preferred to stay with the old system, and if a team comes up with an innovation, possibly you can’t take it off the car if it’s compliant with the regulations.
“So I think the FIA and Formula 1 will for sure handle that with diligence, in the spirit of the sport. We were keen in not running alone with that, but being in touch with the FIA also and that’s why I think it will be okay.”
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