Toto Wolff hints at defying FIA after fresh ‘exchange’

Mercedes: What’s gone wrong at the F1 and can they recover?

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Toto Wolff has hinted Mercedes could run their new front wing despite suggestions it could be against the rules. Mercedes bosses have had an exchange with the FIA over the design since it broke cover on Thursday.

The wing comes with five redesigned fasteners which could be against the spirit of the regulations. The FIA is set to question whether the new design is to direct airflow outwards, something removed in the 2022 rules.

However, Mercedes claims the purpose of the fasteners is simply to hold the wing together. The new design has not been used in Austin with the Silver Arrows apparently considering running the part at the Mexican Grand Prix next weekend.

But, Mercedes boss Wolff admitted the team may need to change the design of the wing ahead of next weekend to avoid a potential penalty. He told The Race: “Well I could, but I don’t want to go in the detail because we’re thinking of running it and we had an exchange with the FIA.

“So maybe we need to tweak a little bit here and there. But it’s not yet decided.” Mercedes are running the updated floor and new rear wing design this weekend with mixed reaction within the team.

Wolff praised the new design after Lewis Hamilton and George Russell qualified on the second row for today’s race. He said: “I think the update works. We had a lap in us that was three-tenths quicker but the car is so tricky to drive. I think for tomorrow we can be part of some exciting games.

“I think Austin was never great for us in the past and here it’s worked well. We were six-tenths off but could have been three.”

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However, Hamilton was less than impressed with the new parts, suggesting he was unable to control the car all afternoon. The seven-time champion even admitted he had hoped for more from the new design as he still struggled to match the pace of Red Bull and Ferrari.

He commented: “I was really hopeful that we were going to be much much closer than we were.

“Once we got to qualifying, I don’t know if it’s because the temperatures dropped or the wind, but the car was such a handful all of a sudden. I was expecting a bit more. I think in pure pace they are just [too quick]. Whatever upgrades we bring, the gap stays the same.”

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