Mercedes and Renault could protest Ferrari at F1 season opener in Melbourne

Ferrari F14T in the spotlight

Ferrari F14T in the spotlight

The possible threat of protest is now looming over next month’s Formula 1 World Championship season opener in Australia, with Mercedes and Renault taking issue with the ultra-lightweight Ferrari engine cover.

We reported a month ago that a dispute was brewing between Formula 1 engine suppliers Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault.

The dispute is about the protective covering on the top of Ferrari’s turbo unit, weighing in at a crucial 3 kilograms lighter than the ones fitted on the Mercedes and Renault units.

Mercedes and Renault argue that Ferrari’s cover needs to be more substantial for safety reasons in the event of a dangerous turbo failure, but Ferrari’s explanation was initially accepted by the governing FIA.

Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari F14 T during Bahrain testing

Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari F14 T during Bahrain testing

Reportedly, Ferrari’s setup mitigates the need for a heavier cover because the turbo shuts down at even the slightest sign of failure.

“Mercedes and Renault are not satisfied that the FIA is satisfied,” said Auto Motor und Sport correspondent Michael Schmidt.

“Either Ferrari builds a stronger cover, or there could be a protest [against the results] in Melbourne,” he added.

Another option is also being considered by Renault and Mercedes: copying the Ferrari solution and thereby saving 3 kilograms in crucial car weight.

“The time until homologation on 28 February is however too short,” Schmidt explained. “In the paddock it is now being reported that Ferrari is strengthening the turbo housing to be on the safe side.” (GMM)

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