Mercedes seeks FIA clarity over Ferrari's partnership with Haas


Mercedes has written to the FIA asking for clarity over Formula One's aerodynamic regulations amid suspicions the partnership between Ferrari and 2016 new-comers Haas may have found loopholes in the regulations.

As a new team, Haas' wind tunnel and CFD development has not been restricted in the same way as existing F1 teams and it has been using Ferrari's wind tunnel and facilities extensively to develop its 2016 car. Earlier this year, rival teams raised their suspicions over the relationship, believing Haas may be running a joint wind tunnel programme with Ferrari to help develop the current SF15-T, but a visit by the FIA's F1 Technical and Sporting Co-ordinator Marcin Budkowski reported nothing wrong with the way the two teams are operating.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff labelled the relationship "very intelligent" earlier this year, but on October 15 Mercedes technical boss Paddy Lowe wrote to the FIA's race director Charlie Whiting regarding a number of ambiguities he believed now existed over Appendices 6 and 8 of the Sporting Regulations. Appendix 6 lists the parts a team must own the intellectual property to in order to compete and Appendix 8 deals with restrictions over aerodynamic testing. Although Haas and Ferrari were not mentioned specifically, Lowe's questions seek clarity on the relationship allowed between an existing F1 team and a potential new outfit such as Haas.

An FIA document released to the media in Abu Dhabi added that "resolution of the ambiguities is of the utmost importance to Mercedes as it is currently considering the possibility of collaborating with third parties on its testing programme, including the sharing of staff and knowledge, which it believes could be permitted under the current Regulations as drafted".

As the questions relate to F1's sporting regulations, the matter has been referred to the stewards of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for consideration, who met with Mercedes on Saturday and intend to reach a decision before Sunday's race. However, any decision may be subject to appeal.

The full 33-page FIA Stewards document can be read here