Mercedes-Red Bull

Ferrari launched SF-23, the 2023 championship-winning machine, yesterday. The launch went very well, except that it prompted a little conspiracy and gave real threats to the rival team Mercedes.

When the new SP-23 was revealed, several methods that were used in the car appeared to be illegal. Including the cleverly-shaped front wing, which was the main character of the show last night. Team Ferrari featured the gap between the slot and the separators as the main focus of their launch ceremony. But did you notice that it is the same idea that was considered illegal when team Mercedes applied it in 2022?


What Happened With Mercedes When They Brought The Revised Front Wings Same As Ferrari’s New Project?

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Last year the Silver Arrows were struggling to claim their first win of the season. They brought their final upgrades in the W13. Apparently, the new and the final upgrade in the front wings of the car were found to be useful. But Mercedes was at risk of it being legal. Just ahead of the 2022 United States Grand Prix, team Mercedes revised their front wings in order to modify the airflow. In order to provide a better car to Lewis Hamilton and George Russell. And in order to finally win the first race of the winless season.

However, the rivals went into an off-track battle and started calling the upgrade to be a breach of Article 3.9.8 written in the rule book of Formula One. According to the article, Mercedes were trying to limit the airflow, which would deliver an aero boost to the drivers. Mercedes did not intend to break the regulation. They used the method because it allowed putting slot gap separators. But the rivals had their point. They said that such gap separators are allowed only if it does not deliver a direct aerodynamic influence. And, unfortunately, Mercedes had nothing to say in defense.

Due To The New Regulations of FIA, Ferrari can Use The Front Wings Design That Mercedes Could Not

Eventually, the rivals, including Ferrari, made things difficult for the Silver Arrows, and they had to remove the strakes. The technical director of Mercedes, Mile Eliott, suggested that the upgrade is indeed necessary. But since there was a fuss about it, Mercedes needs to decide whether they are ready to take such risks or not. According to the regulation mentioned in the book, such slot gaps can only be fitted “for primary mechanical structural or the measurement reasons of the car,” which was not the matter with Mercedes. And as the details were “not the big thing on the front wing,” the team considered removing it better. Despite going deep into the controversy, Mercedes ended it.

Ferrari SF-23
Ferrari SF-23

Now the point is, why is Ferrari allowed to use a similar design that Mercedes had to give up as there emerged doubts on its legality? Actually, this year in 2023, FIA has implemented another set of new rules. Now, the statement that handicapped Mercedes “primarily for mechanical, structural, or measurement reasons” has been removed from the constitution. In the revised version, it states that the use of the slot gaps is allowed as long as there is a ‘structural connection’. So unless and until Ferrari keeps the connection between the front wings and the separators, they can use the idea. It is legal, despite the fact it provides an aero boost in the car. And, of course, Mercedes can also use the same idea this year.