Scuderia Ferrari German driver Sebastian Vettel said that the Maranello team’s revolutionary new rear-view wing mirrors mounted on the halo protection device are primarily there as driver aids. There have been mutterings from rivals that the team is using a loophole in the regulations to gain an unfair aerodynamic advantage.
But Sebastian insisted that this wasn’t the case, when he spoke to journalists at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Friday: “To be honest, it helps us to see what is going on behind. That’s the main reason. I think they make the halo look a little better as well. It is no big deal,” he insisted. “Before, it was quite difficult for us to look at the cars behind. Now they are in a better position and I can see a little bit better below the rear wing.” – the four-time Formula One world champions explained at the end of the second practice session ahead of the Spanish GP.
Ferrari technical chief Mattia Binotto did admit that there was a little more to it than that, when asked about the new wing mirrors in Friday’s official FIA press conference: “When developing aerodynamics you are looking at all the opportunities you’ve got which are allowed by the regulations,” he conceded.
However he maintained the team line that the innovation was mainly there to help with driver visibility in the cockpit: “These mirrors are as well somehow positioned in a better area for the drivers,” he explained. “Looking not only behind but ahead as well, front tyres or whatever. It’s normal development. I think you may judge why a mirror as you’ve done for a wing or a bargeboard or a turning vane, so it’s simple development, coming from the creativity of the engineers.”
It was unclear whether the new component was having any effect – positive or negative – on the car in Friday’s practice sessions for the Spanish Grand Prix. Sebastian Vettel was fourth fastest in the afternoon session, 0.326s slower than his main title rival Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes: “Today I think was okay. The car balance was good,” he said. “Everything we put on the car seems to work and that’s important.It was quite slippery and gusty and it was a mixed day,” he continued. “I think we can improve and I know there is a little bit more in the car, and a little bit more in me.” – he aded.
But he remained in the dark about how he was likely to do in Saturday’s qualifying session. “We could end up in P1 or P6,” he shrugged.