ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Formula One world champions Mercedes have denied targeting Ferrari in seeking clarification from the governing FIA about how much teams can work together to develop their cars.
“We haven’t launched anything against a particular team,” Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff said at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after a ruling was sought from race stewards.
”What we have sought from the FIA is a clarification 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.”
Ferrari have been working closely with the new U.S. based Haas team, who are due to make their debut next season and enjoy the use of a full scale rolling road wind tunnel in Concord, North Carolina.
The use of wind tunnels, crucial to aerodynamic developments, is restricted in Formula One to cut costs but Haas, being currently outside the championship, are not subject to the same limits.
Ferrari have made big performance gains this season, after failing to win a race last year, and are now Mercedes’ closest rivals.
The International Automobile Federation (FIA) published a sheaf of documents, including letters from Mercedes technical head Paddy Lowe, seeking clarification on a number of ‘ambiguities’ in the sport’s rules.
The FIA said stewards would try to reach a decision before Sunday’s race.
Mercedes said they wanted rulings on what was allowed under the Aerodynamic Testing Restrictions (ATR) and on the transfer of knowledge and data between competitors.
“We think that a collaboration between Ferrari and Haas is within the rules,” said Wolff.
“There is nothing we deem to be not within the rules. We are looking at 2016, and especially in consideration of 2017 rules where the car might be completely different, about the scope of development we could be having with another team, about sharing resource.”
Asked whether the sport could be entering a new era where big teams had to have a junior team, Wolff agreed that the stewards’ ruling could lead to that.
“This is the trigger of reorganizing your structures to share ATR quota, to collaborate and educate personnel jointly, share infrastructure,” he said.
“It would eventually lead in a situation where it could become an arms race of how many cooperation partners you could sign up to develop at a greater speed.”
Editing by Tony Jimenez