Formula 1


Mercedes broke the rules during Spanish Grand Prix

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Football News

While the spotlight has fallen firmly on the conduct of Ferrari following last weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Mercedes may have their own questions to answer in the wake of Lewis Hamilton’s dominant win - his second in a row.

Ferrari were criticised for the dubious legality of their innovative Halo-mounted mirrors in Spain, which have since been banned by the FIA.

The mirrors, which were mounted to the Halo head protection safety feature, were believed to give Ferrari more than the ‘incidental or minimal’ aerodynamic effect allowed by the rules.

However, Mercedes were also spotted contravening regulations designed to stop teams from tricking their opponents into making a pit-stop by faking their own.

With the virtual safety car deployed and Hamilton ahead of Sebastian Vettel, the Mercedes mechanics were seen in their pit, fresh tyres at the ready.

However, only the Ferrari of Vettel pitted, while the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas (who was assumedly the originally intended recipient of new tyres from Mercedes) declined to pit and instead continued racing.

Such actions are technically against Formula 1 sporting regulations 28.12, which state: "Team personnel are only allowed in the pit lane immediately before they are required to work on a car and must withdraw as soon as the work is complete."

The incursion of the Mercedes team into the pit-lane, new tyres in hand, could be construed as an attempt by the mechanics to manipulate Ferrari into pitting their own man.

Spanish F1 Grand Prix

That Ferrari have not lodged an official complaint against Mercedes suggests events did not affect their decision making, and regulation 28.12 is not enforced in any case (Mercedes and other teams have repeatedly broken the rule in recent times), so any complaint would likely be futile.

With regards to Ferrari's controversial mirrors, the FIA acknowledged that: "The rules currently in force with regard to mirrors are not perfect, and will strive to propose a more complete set of rules in terms of mirror position, mountings, visibility, etc. in the near future, with the aim to get a unanimous support for such changes for 2019."

With the FIA freely admitting that not all of its rules are particularly clear or definitive, teams such as Ferrari and Mercedes will likely continue to push the blurred lines of what is legal in the sport until they are told not to, and it is the job of the FIA to step in when the boundaries have been overstepped, ideally before an advantage has already be obtained.

Valtteri Bottas
Sebastian Vettel
Kimi Raikkonen
Lewis Hamilton
Formula 1

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