FIA bans unraced Mercedes front wing design

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A front wing design which Mercedes produced during 2022 but did not race has been banned by the FIA.

Mercedes debuted a new front wing design as part of a package of upgrades at the United States Grand Prix. However it did not race the new wing in its original form due to concerns it could be subject to a protest from rival teams.

The team described its wing as having a “reduced camber front wing tip and additional slot gap separators.” However while the 2022 rules permitted slot gap separators to be added for “primarily mechanical, structural or measurement reasons,” those on the Mercedes wing appeared to offer an aerodynamic benefit.

Mercedes decided against risking a protest over the wing and removed the slot gap separators before the new wing was run for the first time at the Mexican Grand Prix.

Revised technical regulations for the 2023 season published by the FIA have altered the definition of slot gap separators. While up to eight separator brackets are still permitted on each side of the car, the rules now state they must “provide a structural connection between consecutive [front wing] profiles.”

During the United States Grand Prix weekend Mercedes technical director Mike Elliott said the team had consulted the FIA on the design of the front wing before introducing it.

“We go through a CAD [computed aided design] review process with the FIA before we come to the circuit, that happens all the time,” he explained. “So it was something that was seen there and then they came back and said, ‘we’re not so sure about this’.”

Revised Mercedes front wing, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2022
Mercedes’ front wing after its slot gap separators were removed

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