FIA to introduce new F1 tests to clamp down on ‘bendy wings’

The FIA is to introduce new rear wing flexibility tests ahead of the French Grand Prix amid concerns some teams are exploiting Formula 1 rules, Motorsport.com can reveal.

Questions over the design of the Red Bull rear wing in particular were floated in Barcelona last weekend after Lewis Hamilton suggested its design was ‘bendy’.

The inference was that Red Bull could be exploiting a more flexible wing that rotates down on the straights to boost top speed, but then comes up back up into a normal position for the corners for maximum downforce.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner was clear, however, that its wing design had been given the all-clear by the FIA and passed all the current pullback tests that are used to test the rigidity of the designs.

“Of course the cars are scrutineered thoroughly and there's pull back tests, and there's all kinds of different tests it has to pass,” he said. “The FIA are completely happy with the car, that it has passed all of those tests that are pretty stringent.”

Read Also:

But on Tuesday, sources have revealed that the FIA has written to all teams and informed them that it is concerned some are exploiting designs that pass the static tests but still flex at speed.

In the note, a copy of which has been seen by Motorsport.com, the FIA states that it is aware of designs that comply with the current tests but ‘nonetheless exhibit excessive deflections while the cars are in motion.”

It adds: “We believe that such deformations can have a significant influence on the car’s aerodynamic performance.”

In response to its concerns, the FIA has stated that it is to enact a clause in F1’s technical regulations that allows it to introduce new tests.

Article 3.9.9 of F1’s Technical Regulations states: “The FIA reserves the right to introduce further load/deflection tests on any part of the bodywork which appears to be (or is suspected of), moving whilst the car is in motion.”

The FIA note details a series of new tests that are being introduced and focus on the characteristics of a wing that rotates backwards at speed. The current regulations check on bodywork not deflecting either one degree horizontally, or 3mm vertically, when certain forces are attached to them.

For the new test, the FIA is focusing on the behaviour of wings as they rotate backwards.

The tests will include limiting the rear wing to just one degree of rotation about an axis normal to the centre plane when two rearward and horizontal 750N loads are applied at a set location. A further test, involving a 1000N vertical and downforce force, will similarly allow just one degree of rotation.

The hope is that the tests will clamp down on teams trying to push the boundaries with clever designs that move when out on track and in a manner that is currently not checked for when the car is stationary.

With the potential being for some teams to need to strengthen their rear wings to ensure they comply with the new tests, a grace period has been introduced. So current designs will still be valid for the next races in Monaco, Baku and Turkey, before the checks come into force from June 15.

The first race after that date is currently the French GP on June 27, but there could be a calendar shuffle if the Turkish GP is axed.

Horner revealed in Spain that he had been spoken to by Mercedes boss Toto Wolff about the matter.

Speaking about Hamilton’s claims regarding a bendy wing, Horner said: “I was surprised to see his comments on that. But it's something that Toto has mentioned to me previously. I doubt it was Lewis' opinion, so probably came from elsewhere.”

shares
comments

Related video

Alonso: My 100% now still not enough to match "impressive" Ocon

Previous article

Alonso: My 100% now still not enough to match "impressive" Ocon

Next article

Ferrari: Spain proved race-day weakness now banished

Ferrari: Spain proved race-day weakness now banished
Load comments
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Prime

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says Stuart Codling.

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Prime

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences.

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Prime

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Prime

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Prime

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1's elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he's recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Italian Grand Prix driver ratings

Two drivers produced faultless performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left many to rue what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Ricciardo would have won without Verstappen/Hamilton crash Prime

Why Ricciardo would have won without Verstappen/Hamilton crash

The clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was the major flashpoint the 2021 Italian Grand Prix will be remembered for. Yet by this point, race leader Daniel Ricciardo had already done the hard work that would put him in position to end his and McLaren's lengthy win droughts, on a memorable afternoon in Monza

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Italian GP success is on for McLaren even if Verstappen dominates Prime

Why Italian GP success is on for McLaren even if Verstappen dominates

For the second time in 2021, McLaren will line up for the start of a grand prix from the first row. It knows it has the chance of "glory" if things go well for Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris at the start of the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, but even if they just maintain their grid positions, signs from the rest of the Monza weekend suggest success is very possible for Formula 1's other orange army

Formula 1
Sep 12, 2021