The FIA has instructed the Mercedes team to present its T-wing for inspection before Saturday’s final practice session at the Bahrain Grand Prix to prove that the aerodynamic device is safe to use.
Mounted separately behind the F1W08’s ‘shark fin’, the device fell off Valtteri Bottas’ car during Friday night’s second practice session and caused damage to the floor of Max Verstappen’s Red Bull Racing RB13 when the Dutch driver inadvertently ran over it.
The incident prompted calls from Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner – whose team’s cars do not have a T-wing fitted – for the device to be banned.
“Today it did about £50,000 worth of damage so I think they should be banned on the grounds of safety and cost!” Horner said in the FIA press conference after the session.
“It’s unfortunate. It’s one of those things. It did quite a lot of damage to the underside of the car.”
This is the second time that a T-wing has parted company from Bottas’ car, following an earlier incident in final practice at last weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix.
The FIA has taken a dim view of this repeat, and with Mercedes confirming it had performed work overnight to strengthen the T-wings, the governing body has demanded that the redesigned elements be presented before FP3 to prove “beyond reasonable doubt” that they be used for the rest of the weekend.
Should the FIA’s technical delegate, Jo Bauer, not be completely satisfied, then the FIA will instruct Mercedes to remove the T-wing from Bottas’ car and that of teammate Lewis Hamilton.
Image via Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team