Mercedes tipped to get call from FIA and face accusations their new F1 car is ‘illegal’ | F1 | Sport

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Mercedes tipped to get call from FIA and face accusations their new F1 car is ‘illegal’ | F1 | Sport

Mercedes could face backlash for their innovative new front-wing design, as the FIA have been tipped to initiate ‘discussions’ with the Silver Arrows by F1 technical expert Craig Scarborough. Toto Wolff and co have been hard at work during the off-season with the simple aim of closing the gap to Red Bull.

Since the introduction of ground-effect design regulations in 2022, Mercedes have failed to keep pace with Red Bull. Lewis Hamilton and George Russell struggled to gel with the ‘zero sidepod’ design and Wolff conceded early last season that the team would begin heading in a different direction.

Those claims finally materialised on Wednesday when Mercedes launched their brand new F1 car – the W15 – which, on the surface, appears much more conventional than their previous efforts.

But their ‘cheeky’ front wing could make Hamilton and Russell trickier for rival cars to follow by reintroducing ‘outwash’, which the latest set of design regulations were brought in to stamp out.

« I call it the 3.1 wing, because it’s not a three-element wing and it’s not a four-element wing, » Scarborough told Peter Windsor’s YouTube channel. « So if you’ve got about point one of a wing there somewhere, and as I can read the regulations, it’s legal.

« I’m sure the other teams will have looked at these ideas previously and have discounted them, but I think there will be some discussion about this amongst the FIA, F1 and the teams saying: ‘If this is introducing outwash, is this something we want in the sport again? Haven’t we worked so hard to kind of get rid of the problems of cars following each other?’

Neither Hamilton nor Russell managed a single Grand Prix win last season as Red Bull dominated. Mercedes boss Wolff will be desperate to make progress and prove a point in 2024 before Hamilton, his star driver, heads to Ferrari.

Reigning three-time world champion Max Verstappen believes his long-term foe Hamilton may be in store for an ‘awkward’ season, due to his Ferrari move being made public a year ahead of time.

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