Ferrari's Binotto wants F1 ban on Mercedes 'aero mirrors'


Mercedes' new F1 car design has mirrors that bring a significant aerodynamic benefit and should be stopped, says Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto

Mercedes W13 at 2022 f1 Bahrain testing

Mercedes arrived in Bahrain with a radical new design

Diederik Van Ver Laan / DPPI

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has challenged the design of Mercedes’ 2022 F1 car after it arrived for testing in Bahrain with a new radical slimline design.

He has called for the car’s distinctive mirror assembly to be banned because its aerodynamic effect is against the spirit of he rules , saying that F1 does not want teams designing mirrors that look like “spaceships”.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner has also questioned the legality of the design in comments that the team said were unofficial, but Mercedes says that it had been in touch with officials and thought “it will be OK”.

With minimal sidepods, the latest version of Mercedes W13 features horizontal fins that incorporate the side impact structure and support the rear-view mirrors.

They also feature a series of vertical strips, some of which are used as stays to support the mirror. These will also manage airflow towards the rear of the car.

Mercedes mirrors close

There’s a “significant” aero purpose with mirrors, says Binotto

Diederik Van Ver Laan / DPPI

Binotto says that this is against the spirit of the regulations, as mirrors should not act as aerodynamic devices. In a Bahrain press conference, where he appeared alongside Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, he said that the approach should “stop” in future.

“On the mirrors some are surprised,” he said. “I find that quite surprising. That’s not something we are expecting.

“I think in the spirit of that, some things that are needed. I think that for the future [they] need to be addressed. Already in the past, we always argued that the mirrors should not have any aero purpose. They should be there just to look behind.

“I think that the way that [Mercedes] treated or designed their car, certainly there is a significant aero purpose in the mirrors itself and I think, something that we need to stop for the future, no doubt because the risk is that we will come in the future that all the teams we start designing mirrors that look like spaceships. I don’t think that’s what we we are looking for as F1.”

Even if the mirrors aren’t found to contravene the regulations, F1 rules can be altered by a supermajority vote from the F1 Commission, which is made up of the ten teams, the FIA and F1. If both the latter are on board, then only eight teams are needed to force a change.

Aston Martin rear view mirror

New design for Aston Martin


Red Bull rear view mirror

Complex surround on Red Bull


Mirrors inevitably affect rearward airflow and all teams have unique surrounds and stays, in an effort to manage the flow to their advantage. Aston Martin also brought a new design to Bahrain, but Mercedes’ extreme solution goes too far, according to Binotto.

The Ferrari boss said that he wasn’t challenging the narrow sidepods, saying that he couldn’t argue with the legality and that the Mercedes is a “great car”.

Toto Wolff, team principal of Mercedes said that he had expected to face controversy, which is why the FIA had been involved in the design process.

“Sometimes when you come with an innovation it creates the kind of debate that we are having,” he said. “In the spirit of the sport, we were we were keen in not running around, not running alone but being in touch with the FIA also. And that’s why I think it will be OK.”