Ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, F1 teams were told they could mount mirrors on the halo to allow for better visibility. Ferrari opted to take advantage, adding their unique arrangement to the car in Spain.
Sebastian Vettel saw nothing wrong with what Ferrari had done, adding it improved his visbility. However, there was a feeling among rivals that the winglets Ferrari used in conjunction with the mirrors were being exploited primarily for aerodynamic gain, rather than visibility.
The FIA felt the arrangement broke the rules, and while they allowed the Italian team to keep it on the car for the remainder of the weekend, they told them to remove it for the upcoming race in Monaco.
The FIA accepted that the current criteria is “to some extent subjective” and on Wednesday afternoon sent a clarification to the teams, outlining what is allowed going forward, as well as making the governing body available to discuss new designs before they are introduced.
“Whilst the FIA accepts that teams will legitimately design the mirrors, housings and mountings to minimise any negative aerodynamic effects they may cause, we believe that any aerodynamic benefits should be incidental, or at least minimal,” said the FIA in a statement.
“In order to ensure this is the case all mountings must:
“a) Provide a meaningful structural contribution to the mounting system. If you use more than one mounting you may be asked to satisfy us, by way of a physical test, to demonstrate this.
“b) Be mounted to the lower and/or inboard surface(s) of the mirror housing.
“As the criteria for determining the eligibility of a mounting are to some extent subjective, the FIA would be available to discuss the legality of a new design before you introduce it in a race, to avoid wasting resource, time or money.
“The FIA expect to have full compliance with the present technical directive by the next race.”
The governing body admits the rules surrounding the rear view mirrors “are not perfect” and so plan to hold further discussions and re-write the regulation “in the near future” with the aim of getting “unanimous support for such changes for 2019”.