Tuesday, August 11

‘Outboard’ mirrors ban delayed

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SEPANG: Formula One teams have persuaded the sport’s ruling body to delay a ban on “outboard” mirrors until the Spanish Grand Prix to give them more time to make the necessary car modifications.

BAN DELAYED: Virgin Racing’s driver Lucas di Grassi of Brazil is followed by teammate Timo Glock of Germany during the second practice session at the Sepang F1 circuit. — Reuters photo

BAN DELAYED: Virgin Racing’s driver Lucas di Grassi of Brazil is followed by teammate Timo Glock of Germany during the second practice session at the Sepang F1 circuit. — Reuters photo

The ban was expected to start from this month’s Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai and was warmly greeted by drivers earlier in the day.

But late yesterday the teams pointed out to the International Motoring Federation — through F1 race director Charlie Whiting — that this would be difficult to achieve.

According to paddock reports, they said it was because the cars do not return to base in Europe until after the Chinese race.

The mirrors, set on the cars’ side-pods, have been blamed for a host of accidents and near-misses in the opening two Grands Prix this season, and are set to be replaced by mirrors set in a better position on the drivers’ cockpit. The move is being taken on safety grounds, according to drivers including Williams’ veteran Rubens Barrichello and Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel.

In Australia, another veteran, Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa, was involved in two alarming incidents during practice and qualifying when he failed to see fast cars approaching to pass him.

One was world champion Briton Jenson Button of McLaren who said, at the time, that “Sauber need to look at their mirrors and get some new ones fitted.”

De la Rosa apologised for his part in the incidents and said: “Everyone has got a problem with mirrors.

“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.” — AFP