The FIA considers the matter surrounding Mercedes’ controversial wheel rim design on its Formula 1 car to be “settled”.
Mercedes’ unique wheel rim concept, which features holes and grooves, has not been used by the team since the Japanese Grand Prix in a bid to avoid potential protests and legal action after growing suspicion from its rivals.
A request for clarification followed from the German manufacturer, with the FIA declaring the concept legal ahead of the Mexican Grand Prix. Despite the ruling, Mercedes opted against running the design in Austin, Mexico and Brazil.
“We think the matter is settled,” FIA race director Charlie Whiting said during the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend.
“If they’ve asked the stewards to do the same thing they did in Mexico, my answer to you was, no they didn’t.
“The reason they were allowed to take it to the stewards in Mexico was because in the sporting code, they were asking to settle a matter. They did that.
“If they came back with the same question the stewards would be unlikely to do it because the last time it didn’t settle the matter. So, that was it really.
“It’s just a technical opinion that we’ve given. We will continue to use that opinion in any similar cases. In the meantime I imagine that we will, once the dust has settled on this season, we’ll attempt to do something about it.”
Mercedes sealed its fifth consecutive constructors’ world championship in Brazil thanks to Lewis Hamilton’s 10th win of the season, which ended a run of three races without a victory for the team.
Team boss Toto Wolff has continued to refute suggestions the wheel rim design has had any influence on Mercedes’ recent performance struggles.
“We didn’t want to have a protest with a possible court ruling weeks down the line when we deem these spaces to not be fundamentally responsible for performance,” he explained.
“I can assure you that our assessment is that the problems we had this three races were not linked to these spaces. It’s more the overall concept.
“You can see many of the other cars, Sebastian was struggling on the tyres, Kimi was a bit better but not much better.
“Red Bull is the only team that is looking strong in the race but they are looking weak in qualifying. It’s maybe a compromise they have achieved.”