The Formula 1 season for 2022 has yet to start and already there is controversy, this time with the design of the new Mercedes and their so-called “spaceship mirror” which the FIA will investigate and rule on.

The new season brings a raft of new regulations that have resulted in some significant design changes that will be debuted at the Bahrain International Circuit, following weeks of testing, data analysis and further design tweaking.

Mercedes have attracted the most interest in the design of their new W13, which has its wing mirrors mounted on the Side Impact Protection system. Ferrari’s Mattia Binotto, believes these were designed to be utilised as an aerodynamic addition to the vehicle rather than for use by the driver.

The controversy over the changes comes after the controversy over the “disappearing sidepods”, which many have suggested goes against the spirit of the sport and the intended use.

According to Nikolas Tombazis, a Technical Director at the FIA, any “discrepancy” from the rules as the governing body had envisaged them when written down would be discussed, but he was not expecting a dramatic fallout.

Talking to the he said: “We always assess rules for following years, and we assess whether things are clear..

“And when there are new rules, sometimes certain things may not have been phrased as well as we intended and so on.

“By and large, the level of discrepancy is quite low from what was intended. But there are a few little areas and we’ve discussed that with the teams.

FIA to rule on Mercedes’ mirror controversy

“We’ll have another TAC meeting Tuesday to discuss these matters.”

Tombazis has indicated that he doesn’t feel there is much in any of the car designs which should be cause for immediate change, and particularly not with mirrors. He feels that any interpretation of the new rules could be ironed out with changed wording or making sure that each component primarily fulfils the use for which it is intended.

“By and large, I would say there hasn’t been something that we think is contrary to the objectives of the regulations.

“There’s been some small details perhaps in some areas, which are a bit less regulated than other areas. There have been some winglets and stuff like that which were maybe not fully in line with the objectives but they are relatively small details.

“The way that [mirror rule] is phrased, it assigns the name ‘mirror stay’ to bodywork which is declared as such.

“In other areas of the car, in other areas of the regulations, we have a statement like ‘for the sole purpose of something, you must do X, Y, Z’.

“And then we take a different view there because it says there the regulations state specifically an objective or reason for existence of a certain component.

“Then if we see a team, obviously doing something different and using that function as an excuse, that we would not allow. With the mirror stays, that wording isn’t there.”

The Mercedes’ mirror and sidepod controversy is likely to be carried into the season even if the FIA rule that these changes are legal, with little love lost between the team and the rest of the field.

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