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Mattia Binotto

Binotto calls for F1 discussions over Mercedes' radical upgrade

Ferrari's Mattia Binotto says discussions at the top levels of Formula 1 may be needed in light of Mercedes showing up with an innovative new car design in Bahrain.

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Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto feels that discussions may be needed to address Mercedes' interpretation of the technical rules, after the reigning Constructors' World Champions showed up for Bahrain testing with a radically different W13.

The new version of their car features a heavily-revised design, particularly in relation to their mirrors and streamlined sidepods.

With the car raising eyebrows up and down the pit lane, Binotto says there's no question from Ferrari regarding the legality of the design, as he expressed faith in the FIA's processes, but reckons Mercedes may not be adhering to the spirit of the regulations as intended.

"Looking at the Mercedes, it's a great car – it's not a surprise to us. A great car, [a] good concept. Quite different to the one we've got!" Binotto told media, including RacingNews365.com, during a press conference on Thursday in Bahrain.

"It's interesting in the cooling layout, radiator positioning on the sidepods. I think, again, something which looks quite interesting.

"On the legality overall, I don't think that we can argue. As Toto [Wolff] said, it has gone through a process and the FIA is the one responsible for policing it and making sure it's fully legal.

"I would be surprised if Mercedes is doing something illegal as well, so that's not the point."

Binotto concerned about Mercedes' mirror design

While the focus of many appears to be on Mercedes' extremely streamlined sidepods, Binotto said that it's the mirrors of the W13 that have caught his eye.

"I think, on the mirrors, I'm [somewhat] surprised... I would say that's something we are not expecting," he said.

"I think that's something that, for the future, needs to be addressed. Already, in the past, we always argued that the mirrors should not have any aero purpose. It should be there just to look behind.

"The way that they treated or designed their car, certainly there is a significant aero purpose in the mirrors itself."

Binotto believes that discussions are needed in order to ensure that the mirrors don't become an integral part of a car's aerodynamic design.

He added: "Some things we need to discuss for the future, because the risk is that all the teams will start designing mirrors that look like spaceships.

"I don't think that's what we are looking for, as Formula 1. So again, I'm not arguing with the idea. They found a solution that, for them, is interesting. But I think that, in the spirit of what we intend to do, certainly for the future, some things [will] need to be discussed."

"Not many" updates for Ferrari in Bahrain

While Mercedes have brought a hugely different car to Bahrain compared to the first test in Barcelona, Binotto explained that Ferrari's F1-75 is largely the same as the one used for the three days in Spain.

"Not much; certainly not as much as Mercedes did," he admitted, when asked about the changes made to Ferrari's car between tests.

"Mainly, the car is the same as Barcelona. Certainly, we worked [on] the bouncing issue. So, [we have brought] some modifications for that purpose, and then trying to optimise the package we've got at the moment.

"These cars are so different to the past, but I think what we need first is to learn them and then extract the most of the potential or the maximum potential, and I think we are in the process. We are in the process of still learning.

"There is much to come, but coming from what's the current package, and I think it's where we are focusing before bringing, maybe later in the season, some developments."

F1 2022 Bahrain pre-season test RN365 News dossier

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