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
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
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.