Tag Archives: wing mirrors

Outboard mirror ban delayed until Spanish GP

Outboard wing mirrors, seen here on last year's Ferrari F60

Outboard wing mirrors, seen here on last year's Ferrari F60

The ban on outboard mirrors, which was supposed to come into effect by next race in China, has now been delayed until the Spanish Grand Prix, following complaints from the teams that there was not enough time to make the changes.

After several near misses and incidents in the Australian Grand Prix, which were caused by outboard wing mirrors, the FIA decided to notify the teams that the mirrors would have to be mounted on the cockpit side from the Chinese Grand Prix onwards. However, several teams have complained that they will not be able to do this in time, and so the ban has been delayed for 1 race.

It is understood that the drivers who were concerned about the outboard wing mirrors spoke to Charlie Whiting, FIA race director, who agreed to get the FIA to ban the devices. This ban may affect the performance of the top teams who use this device, such as Ferrari and Red Bull.

The only problem I have here is why the teams are complaining. Basically, they think that two weeks isn’t enough to move two wing mirrors to the inside of the cockpit, and they need four instead. Bloody hell, if it actually took a team more than 2 weeks to change mirrors, then they don’t deserve to be running in the Lada Cup, never mind F1. Of course, the only reason they want extra time is so that they can exploit this new rule in some other way. Don’t be surprised if the teams can find a way of sneaking bargeboards into their wing mirror design.

Outboard mirrors to be banned

Outboard wing mirrors, seen here on last year's Ferrari F60

Outboard wing mirrors, seen here on last year's Ferrari F60

It has been announced that outboard mirrors are to be banned from the Chinese Grand Prix onwards, due to safety concerns.

There were several complaints during the Australian Grand Prix weekend about drivers holding each other up. This was mainly because the drivers were unable to look in their mirrors without taking their eyes off the road. For example, the first corner collision between Alonso and Button could have been avoided if the Spaniard had been able to look behind him and see that Button had already taken the inside line.

Many teams were using the outboard mirrors in their cars, such as Ferrari, Red Bull, Force India, Sauber, Williams and HRT. McLaren used them in practice in Australia, but took them off in time for qualifying.

Now, from China onwards, the mirrors will have to be fitted on the cockpit side for safety reasons. Oddly enough, while most drivers didn’t like the design, Felipe Massa claims he has no problem with outboard mirrors:

"I have no problem with my visibility. So, if it is the same I prefer to keep
what I have, but we will see how it is going to be. I hope we don't lose
anything moving the mirrors from one side to the other."

It’s good to see safety be put first, like I was talking about a few days ago. Obviously this rule change couldn’t be put in for this weekend, since it is too close to make the full changes this late.

The thing is, this is the second rule change already this year, because of teams exploiting the rules. The first was closing the loophole on diffuer starter motors, before Australia.

Drivers call to change wing mirrors

Outboard wing mirrors, seen here on the Ferrari F10

Outboard wing mirrors, seen here on the Ferrari F10

Formula 1 drivers are trying to lobby the FIA to take action on the problems with the wing mirrors this year, following many complaints about a lack of visibility.

Many incidents occured in the Australian Grand Prix this weekend because the drivers were unable to see behind them while concentrating on the road. In Friday Practice, Pedro de la Rosa was given a reprimand after holding up several drivers, although he was unable to see them approach from behind. In qualifying, Michael Schumacher spoke to the stewards after he was held up by Fernando Alonso while he was on a flying lap.

Currently, most teams mount the outboard wing mirrors on the very edge of the turning vanes, so as to improve aerodynamic efficiency. However, while drivers can see them, they have to turn their head to look behind them, which means that they cannot concentrate on the road. Ths results in drivers opting to look ahead rather than take the risk of looking behind them, which is certainly a danger on the track.

The drivers are very concerned about this, according to Rubens Barrichello:

"I hope we put a proposal as the GPDA to see if we can have the mirrors back to 
where they belong – and it is something we mentioned in the drivers' briefing 
on Friday.

We have all been quite honest and said that we all have difficulties – apart 
from Lewis. The problem for me is that we are driven by the aerodynamics, but 
the mirrors situated on the aero stuff vibrates." Just a thought on what Rubens 
said about Lewis there. If Hamilton claims that he does not have problems with 
the wing mirrors, then it is his fault for holding up Michael Schumacher in 
qualifying on Saturday.

Pedro de la Rosa spoke to the FIA race director Charlie Whiting on Friday about this issue. He said:

"Everyone has got a problem with mirrors. The reality is that the mirrors on 
the sidepods, they give you very small vision of what is happening behind and 
they vibrate a lot so you see very little.

So if you don't have a lot of information coming from the radio, then you have 
a problem. You can see when you have a car straight behind okay, but when it 
is two seconds behind you have no idea where it is.

Everyone has the same problem, but since the mirrors have gone outboard this 
is a problem – as they are aerodynamic devices now.

Mirrors are to give the car the ability to look backwards and what is happening 
behind. They have to come back to the monocoque, with the old style, as that is 
the best position to work.

The reason they are out is that they are an aerodynamic device so they give 
downforce. That is the reality. We have to compromise – this is a safety issue. 
Most of the drivers agree – it hasn't been an easy weekend for me because of this 
factor."

There’s only one good thing that came out of outboard wing mirrors. When Felipe Massa was hit by a spring in the Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying, his head was – you guessed it – turned to one side, looking at the wing mirrors. If his head was straight ahead, the spring would have hit him head on, and it could well have killed him. I realised this when I first heard of this news of the outboard mirrors.

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