The rapid addition of a second reinforcement stunned Mercedes competitors

The Technical Directive on Rebound Reduction issued by the FIA ​​contained two main parts: the first on the issue of measuring the intensity of the impacts suffered by drivers, as a basis for future more precise regulations in terms of safety, the second on the possibility of a second Install reinforcement to further stiffen the floor of single-seaters.

At the time this second option was implemented, Mercedes was the only team to install this second Free Practice 1 reinforcement. However, as the policy in question directly contradicted the Technical Regulations on the subject and was not binding on Kraft per se, the team decided not to use this part for the rest of the weekend for fear of being challenged by other teams.

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However, the dynamics of this situation and Mercedes’ responsiveness surprised some members of the paddock. Starting with Ferrari director Mattia Binotto, who did not want to go directly into the conspiracy theory, but only stated that Scuderia could not act so quickly.

“Toto [Wolff, le directeur exécutif de Mercedes] said they did it overnight”he explained. “What I can say is that Ferrari wouldn’t do it. And I’m probably surprised that a team is strong enough to make it overnight. Maybe we can just trust what he says…”

In the Red Bull clan, Helmut Marko struck more directly Motorsport.comthat there was eel under rocks: “We were very surprised to see this second support on the ground. It was clear that after the publication of the Technical Guideline, there was not enough time to manufacture such a part.”

When asked if he thinks Mercedes knew beforehand what the FIA ​​was going to introduce, Marko replied: “Without that, you can’t explain what happened.”

Rao’s influence?

The two reinforcements on the Mercedes W13 during the EL1 in Canada

In the current context, this issue has taken an almost institutional turn since Shaila-Ann Rao, former Mercedes legal counsel and special adviser to Toto Wolff, took over as acting general secretary for sport, replacing the outgoing Peter Bayer. Doubts had already been expressed by certain team managers in Baku, Binotto did not hide it “To ponder” On the question.

In Canada, Rao’s role in speedily implementing the controversial policy has been the subject of speculation, adding to a sense that Mercedes is influencing the situation.

After a weekend of legal challenges to the DT, with teams stating that the FIA ​​had not followed correct procedure by going through a guideline rather than amending the regulations directly (as was their prerogatives allow on security), Binotto said he hopes the Governing Body can address his concerns about Rao’s influence.

“It’s a question I was also asked in Baku during the press conference, and I can only repeat what I said at the time: it’s undoubtedly a concern. But I also have every confidence that the FIA ​​will prove that she is professional, that she is a lawyer and that she has integrity. I am confident that in the future they will prove that my concerns are unfounded.”

For his part, Christian Horner, the director of Red Bull, was cautious and did not want to plunge into controversy with a preferential declaration “Off topic comment”.

It should be noted that other directors have expressed far less concern, such as Otmar Szafnauer, Alpine’s manager, who, on the contrary, sees the experience on both sides of the Rao barrier as an asset: “She was originally with the FIA, so I think what’s good is that now she also has the experience of a team. It’s always good when you have that double experience. I’m not worried. She’s a lawyer. She has sworn to be honest and trustworthy. So I guess there’s no problem.”

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