Brundle says Mercedes excuses 'cut no ice' under the regs


Sky F1's Martin Brundle had little compassion for Mercedes' plight with the stewards in Brazil, and rejected the Brackley squad's claim that it was owed some leniency last weekend based on the fact that its non-compliant rear wing delivered no performance advantage.

The rear wing on Lewis Hamilton's W12 failed a measuring test after qualifying, resulting in the Briton's exclusion from the Friday session in which he had set the fastest time.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff argued in vain that his team should have been allowed to repair its rear wing which failed the post-session scrutineering by the smallest of margins.

The Austrian also underscored the fact that if anything, the wing's discrepancy and imbalance had likely negatively impacted Hamilton's performance in qualifying and not benefitted the latter.

But Brundle offered an astute and common-sense rebuttal to Wolff's arguments.

"In Formula 1, you can't have any grey areas or fudges on technical regulations, otherwise you get creep on standards and issues," Brundle wrote in his column for Sky Sports.

"Aston Martin found this out the hard way when missing just a little sample fuel at the end of the Hungarian GP - they were simply eliminated from the results. And the excuse that any transgression didn't affect on-track performance simply cuts no ice whatsoever under the regulations.

"Lewis comfortably took the top spot for the Sprint until he was disqualified for a rear wing measurement outside the rules.

"That wing remained confiscated for the rest of the weekend until the end of any appeal time allowance as secured evidence, and so it was difficult to know exactly why or how it came to transgress the template measurements."

Brundle added that the fierce rivalry between Red Bull and Mercedes had now become a cutthroat affair, with the stewards caught in the middle and trying to keep both teams honest.

"Red Bull are convinced Mercedes are up to something with their rear wing," said the former F1 driver.

"Mercedes are indignantly wholly denying this. The FIA must have inspected Lewis' captive rear Merc wing to a high degree.

"It's getting down to the championship wire now with it all to play for, and it's becoming rather feisty and a little angry between the two teams and contending drivers on and off the track. And the FIA are referees in the middle catching the occasional punch."

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