Mercedes wheel rims to be discussed again in Mexico

Mercedes AMG F1 wheel. 18.10.2018.
© XPB 

The ongoing controversy about Mercedes' latest wheel rim design is to be further discussed by the teams and the FIA in a meeting to be held before this weekend's race in Mexico.

The wheel rims were reviewed by the governing body before last week's United States Grand Prix and found to be fully in compliance with the current technical rules and regulations.

However other teams in the paddock are still unhappy with the situation, with Ferrari having been responsible for the original request for clarification in Austin.

But as far as race director Charlie Whiting was concerned, the matter was basically closed.

“I don’t think a clarification is needed because we’ve already done that," he told Autosport magazine this week. "Everyone’s aware of what we feel.

However he admitted: “I think there’s still a difference of opinion and that probably needs to be sorted out in the technical working group.”

Even though the FIA gave the Mercedes wheel rims the all-clear, the team itself still tweaked the design to stave off any threat of an official post-race complaint.

The issue at hand is how the rims help to 'blow' air through the spokes in order to help the car's aerodynamic efficiency. Mercedes had introduced a system of holes in the rims that some argued constituted a 'movable aerodynamic device' similar to a 2012 Red Bull innovation that had been ruled illegal.

It's an area that will have even more focus when new aero rules are introduced in 2019, and for that reason rival teams say that they want to get a better understanding of what is and isn't allowed in the design of this year's components.

“I think there will be a few interesting interpretations for next year," commented Renault F1 technical director Nick Chester.

“A lot of people blow through the spokes anyway so it’s not something that is totally new," he acknowledged. "But people tend to blow further outboard.

“It is even more important with the 2019 rules, because you are struggling to get the front wing to outwash the air as much as you would like.

“If you can do more in the wheel it becomes even more important," he explained.

Ferrari itself has been under technical scrutiny this season for the way it uses its dual battery cell to get better power efficiency during the race.

The FIA pronounced the Scuderia's solution to be in compliance but also asked for an extra sensor to be added to the power unit to help with monitoring power output.

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