Any discerning observer who took one look at Ferrari’s controversial halo-mounted mirrors last weekend knew the assembly would likely draw the scrutiny of the stewards.
And that’s exactly what happened, with the FIA ultimately outlawing the Scuderia’s creative concept from next week’s Monaco Grand Prix.
The governing body has subsequently released a directive destined to all teams clarifying its position on halo mounted mirrors and the restrictions they impose.
“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,” it reads.
“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. For the sake of clarity, the various provisions made in TD/014-18 still apply for halo-mounted mirrors. The FIA expect to have full compliance with the present technical directive by the next race.
“The FIA do acknowledge that the rules currently in force with regard to mirrors are not perfect, and will strive to propose a more complete set of rules in terms of mirror position, mountings, visibility, etc. in the near future, with the aim to get a unanimous support for such changes for 2019.”
Last weekend in Barcelona, Nikolas Tombazis, the FIA’s single-seater technical chief said the governing body had no doubts about Ferrari’s intentions sought by its creative thinking.
“Mirrors are nasty aerodynamic shapes and teams would ideally want to not have any mirrors at all,” he said.
“Clearly there is a regulation regarding mirrors to be in certain positions, a certain range of positions and have a certain amount of visibility.
“So when a team comes forward and says ‘we want to mount it here’ it is because they feel it’s going to be a bit better aerodynamically. We have no doubt about that. So, that includes Halo-mounting as well.
“It is our responsibility to make sure the rules are specific enough – and we hope to make improvements also in the future – to make sure the mirrors achieve their real function, which is to be able to see at the back, and to stop them being used for aerodynamic purposes.
“But as long as there’s some big device somewhere in the middle of the air, teams will always worry about its aerodynamic effect, so it’s our responsibility to regulate it properly.”