Ferrari and Red Bull were less than impressed with how the FIA permitted Mercedes to breach the sporting regulations when Lewis Hamilton’s car was allowed to be fitted with brake discs of a different specification.
After Hamilton suffered a brake failure in qualifying, Mercedes opted to use different brakes with a lower probability of failure. This however cannot be done while the car is being held under parc fermé conditions.
34.6 paragraph of the Sporting Regulation clearly states: „A competitor may not modify any part on the car or make changes to the set-up of the suspension whilst the car is being held under parc fermé conditions. In the case of a breach of this Article the relevant driver must start the race from the pit lane.”
Mercedes requested a change on safety ground and was indeed given permission to change the component without any consequence, a ruling without precedent. Sources today though have revealed that while Mercedes did change the brakes to a different specification, the rear brakes were still from Brembo, whereas both drivers were given Carbone Industries front brakes.
Still, Ferrari’s Marco Mattiacci and Red Bull’s Christian Horner were far from happy with the situation and wanted to lodge a protest. "We discussed it internally, and at the moment we decided not to move forward with it." – said Ferrari’s new team principal Marco Mattiacci.
"If you change it like for like that is one thing, but if you change it for something that is made by a different manufacturer that has a different characteristic, as described by the driver himself as something different, then it is an interesting precedent." – stated Christian Horner.
The Briton threatened Red Bull could feel free to change parts in between qualifying and race unless FIA clears the rules up.
Lewis Hamilton has favoured Brembo brakes since he arrived at Mercedes after he found it difficult to adapt to brakes commonly used by the team. This year though, Mercedes has seen repeated failures with the brakes, including one at Canada that directly led to Hamilton's retirement during that race.