I’ve just been shown the FIA regulations regarding wheel rims and they make for interesting reading.
Here they are:
12.8.1 The only parts which may be physically attached to the wheel in addition to the tyre are surface treatments for appearance and protection, valves for filling and discharging the tyre, balance weights, drive pegs, tyre pressure and temperature monitoring devices and spacers on the inboard mounting face of identical specification on all wheels for the same axle.
12.8.2 The wheel must be attached to the car with a single fastener. The outer diameter of the fastener must not exceed 105mm and the axial length must not exceed 75mm. The wheel fastener may not attach or mount any part to the car except the wheel assembly described in Article 12.8.1.
What is interesting is that wheel fasteners / wheel nuts are not included in the list in 12.8.1 of things that are allowed to be attached to the wheel assembly / rim. And yet in Article 12.8.2 it states that a wheel fastener may not be attached to any part of the car other than those very same wheel assemblies.
So what does this mean?
Right now, not a lot as I don’t have clarification yet from Mercedes of what I saw. Similarly, we have no idea if what I saw will be or was ever intended to be raced.
It was pitstop practice. Just like in a practice match of soccer, you can play 16 men and use your hands if you really want to, so in a pitstop practice the team doesn’t have to use the very same devices it will use in race conditions.
But from the way the regulations are worded, could there be space for a loophole? And if so, could this be something Mercedes are thinking about exploiting? Because from the image above, it certainly looks that way.
Watch this space.