Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believes the controversy surrounding Formula 1’s flexi-wing saga could lead to a “very messy” protest in Baku if teams are give clearance to continue running them.
The FIA announced it would be introducing new tests from next month’s French Grand Prix amid fears teams running bendy rear wings were gaining an advantage in straightline speed.
The decision to delay the rigidity tests until Paul Ricard means running the wings will be allowed to use them at the next race in Azerbaijan.
This has caused outrange from Mercedes and McLaren in-particular, who feel the bending wings have given rival outfits an unfair advantage.
Wolff was adamant that if the FIA’s clampdown on the flexi-wings didn’t happen sooner, it would likely seek action with the stewards.
“Yeah, I think if the limbo wings are on in Baku, with the advantage that we see, it’s going to go to the stewards,” Wolff told Sky Sports F1 after the Monaco Grand Prix.
“And if the stewards are not enough, then it’s going to go to the ICA [International Court of Appeal].
“So I guess the FIA is going to clarify things before Baku, because if not, it could be very messy.”
McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl expressed his anger at the situation in Monaco, calling the FIA’s decision to push back the tests as “not acceptable”.
Seidl said McLaren’s position on the matter will depend on how the FIA responds to the ongoing saga within the next week.
“Obviously we are independent of what Mercedes is doing,” Seidl said, as quoted by Motorsport.com. “We have a dialogue on this matter with the FIA as well at the moment.
“And as we said, we are absolutely not happy that cars that from our point of view are clearly not within the regulations, and after it got detected that they’re not within the regulations, that our competitors can keep running these cars.
“That’s why we have this dialogue with the FIA and then we have to take it from there in the next week.”
Wolff downplayed any concerns that Red Bull could lodge a protest of its own against Mercedes’ front wings, insisting his team will be “pretty robust” regardless of what action it needs to take to resolve the matter..
“We’ve analysed the front wings, and they are bending exactly the same way as the Red Bull – so we could be protesting each other on the front wing also,” Wolff said.
“But it’s clear that the rear wing bends more than it should. Under the rules, it has been classified as non-conformant. But we are left in a vacuum where it’s a new test that will be introduced after Baku. So it is what it is. But we are pretty robust in our legal position.”