According to ToI, F1 teams have lobbied the FIA to delay their ban on “outboard” mirrors until the Spanish Grand Prix. The FIA moved the ban the sidepod-mounted mirrors by the next race in China as they are deemed unsafe although many believe them to be a part of the aerodynamic design of the cars.
Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa of Sauber was certainly vocal about the mirror positions saying:
“But, the reality is that the mirrors on the sidepods, well, they give you very small vision of what is happening behind and they vibrate a lot so you see very little.
“So if you don’t have a lot of information coming from the radio, then you have a problem. You can see when you have a car straight behind okay, but when it is two seconds behind you have no idea where it is.
“Everyone has the same problem, but since the mirrors have gone outboard this is a problem. They have become aerodynamic devices now.”
From a safety stand point, it is hard to argue the situation and no wonder that the teams used every possible aero device they could to create downforce even if that meant a reduced rear view mirror effectiveness. The mirror as an aero device concept was confirmed by Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel:
“We have no concerns for this weekend (about mirrors), but we are much more concerned that, from the next race onwards, we’ll have to run the mirrors inboard — and our car is losing quite some performance due to that,” he said.
While safety certainly is the grounds for which the ban was implemented, it’s also understandable that the teams would want a delay as the fly-away races are hardly a time to create new mirror mounts on the fly and perhaps more to the point, the impact on aero performance needs to be studied with a new application designed and applied.
Australia saw two incidents involving De la Rosa in which he couldn’t see faster cars coming up behind him due to a lack of rear view effectiveness in his sidepod-mounted mirrors. Let us hope no one gets hurt in the next two races due to a mirror, or lack thereof, issue or the FIA’s benevolence will be seen as daft.
I’m a bit stumped as to why no one has offered “mirrorgate” yet but maybe the old media are even growing weary of their “gate” speak.