Ferrari to trial halo-mounted mirrors in Spanish GP

The Ferrari Formula 1 team is set to trial rear-view mirrors mounted on the halo at this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix.

The new mirrors have been spotted in the Ferrari F1 garage in Barcelona, as shown in the above photo from Giorgio Piola. The move follows last month's FIA technical directive confirming mirrors may be attached to the halo.

The mirrors on the Ferrari SF71 aren't dramatically different to the ones used since pre-season testing, with the two-part design more aerodynamically efficient than a more conventional version, but the location is different.

The technical directive allows mirrors to be attached to the halo to improve rearward visibility for the driver, but there are clear aerodynamic implications that Ferrari has already begun to exploit.

The legal 'box' in which mirrors are allowed to be placed has been narrow since outboard mirrors were outlawed in 2010, but the recent ruling opens up new possibilities beyond simply placing the mirrors in a more aerodynamically appealing position.

Ferrari has placed a winglet above the mirror housing supporting it, which is an extension of the halo's template on which aerodynamic fairings may be applied.

Teams must fix the mirrors securely to the car to reduce vibrations and further improve visibility, and Ferrari can argue the upper winglet provides the necessary support - even if the lower mount has been made intentionally weak - on the basis the technical directive does allow for what is called minor local reinforcement.

The Ferrari design illustrates how teams will take every opportunity to make aerodynamic gains in what is tantamount to a land grab, with designers integrating winglets around the mirror.

"I'm sure that when a team comes forward and says we want to mount it [the mirror] here, it is because they feel it's going to be a bit better aerodynamically, and that includes halo mounting," said the FIA's head of single seater technical matters Nikolas Tombazis when asked by Autosport how legality will be monitored.

"It is our responsibility to make sure the rules are specific enough and we hope to make improvements also in the future to make sure the mirrors achieve their real function, which is to be able to see out the back, and to stop them being used for aerodynamic purposes.

"As long as there's a big device somewhere in the middle of the air, teams will always worry about its aerodynamic effect, so it's our responsibility to regulate it properly."