Teams expected to protest McLaren in Australia

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5 February 2014 by Ryan Wood

McLaren is likely to face a protest from one or potentially several teams, according to Sky Sport's technical analyst Ted Kravitz.

It's understood that a number of teams are unhappy with the MP4-29's rear-suspension elements which have been developed to bring a major aerodynamic benefit to the car.

Red Bull's Adrian Newey described them as "illegal" but the FIA's Charlie Whiting, after more than one team approached him for clarification, declared them legal in Jerez.

That doesn't however mean that a team cannot lodge a protest, which would then be heard before the World Motor Sport Council which would make a final ruling.

Kravitz expects a number of teams to do so at the opening race of the season and should McLaren's so-called 'butterfly' suspension be found illegal, they could be thrown out of the final race classification and forced to change the design of their car.

"We understand from the FIA's technical department headed up by Charlie Whiting that he accepts that it's within the rules," explained Kravitz.

"But I can tell you there are quite a few other teams thinking that they're going to have a go at protesting it once we get to the first race because the teams can go to Charlie Whiting and ask, 'What's your opinion? Do you think this is legal?' [But] he can only express an opinion; he is not the final arbiter of what is and is not legal - and we've seen his opinion overturned before.

"So I think we might see a protest against the McLaren cars at the Australian Grand Prix because it all centres around these wishbones, which are to support the car and keep the wheels on," he added. "But they're clearly also for aerodynamic benefit, so it's certainly in contravention of the spirit of the regulations. But Formula 1 teams have been getting around the spirit of the regulations for 50-odd years!"

It's believed that whilst preparing for a protest, the solution is being investigated by McLaren's rivals in the event any protest fails and they're required to install a similar system to ensure they remain competitive.