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GP Week : Issue 234
The FIA has responded to a submission put forth by Mercedes over the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend which saught clarification over how teams interacted with third party suppliers. Mercedes submitted a document to the Stewards of the meeting seeking a ruling on what teams could and couldn't do, and while it wasn't explicitly named in the submission it was clear the move was prompted by Ferrari's relationship with Haas F1. The team had initally written to Charlie Whiting in October, only to be referred to race stewards as Whiting deemed it outside of his remit. As such, the team presented the request in Abu Dhabi. "Mercedes states that it considers that there are a number of ambiguities within Appendices 6 and 8 of the 2015 Formula One Sporting Regulations," confirmed the FIA over the Abu Dhabi weekend. " The Stewards, having heard from the team representatives and the FIA Formula One Race Director; decide that this is a matter over which the Stewards have jurisdiction by virtue of Articles 11.9.1 and/or 11.9 .2 of the FIA International Sporting Code and accordingly will proceed to make a determination resulting in a decision on each of the specific matters to be settled as outlined in the Mercedes request." Mercedes was asked to appear before the Stewards to discuss the submission, an invitation that was extended to all teams that would be competing in the championship in 2016. The bone of contention was the fact that, in theory, the close technical relationship between Ferrari and Haas could have been exploited by the Italian team by utilising Haas' resources for its own gain. Since Haas was, for much of the season, not bound by the Technical or Sporting Regulations, Mercedes believed this was a grey area that needed clarification. The German squad however was careful to distance itself from pointing fingers at any one team, with Toto Wolff claiming it had lodged the request simply to " understand what you could do within the rules. "It is about transparent information for all teams about what was within the rules and not at all about pointing a finger at anybody." Wolff went on to claim the move was more about closing down a potential loophole before it became an expensive workaround for teams looking to speedup their development programmes. "This is the trigger for reorganising your structure to share aerodynamic testing restrictions quota, to collaborate and educate personnel jointly and share infrastructure," he explained. "It would eventually lead to a situation where it could become an arms race of how many corporations or partners you could sign up in order to develop at a greater speed." In handing down their finding on Sunday afternoon, the Stewards moved to not only clarify the regulations but also exonerate Ferrari of any wrong-doing with Haas. " There is no evidence that competitors have not complied with the requirements," read a statement issued by the FIA. The finding added further detail surrounding how teams could work with third parties, and how those collaborations would be viewed under the regulations, thereby closing the matter so far as Wolff was concerned. "I am comfortable with the outcome," he confirmed. "It gives us clarity and that was the main purpose of the exercise." mercedes asks for clarity 7 GPWEEK.com // 7 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> news