The FIA plan to introduce new tests for rear wing flexibility before the French Grand Prix. This comes amidst concerns that some constructors are exploiting the rules.
After Lewis Hamilton suggested the Red Bull rear wing was “bendy”, questions were asked of it. The suspicion was that Red Bull was using a more flexible wing that rotated down on the straights.
This would increase top speed down these parts of the track. Furthermore, this wing comes back to normal position at the corners for maximum downforce.
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner asserted that the wing design was given the all-clear by the FIA. He said the wings passed all the current pullback tests that are used to test design rigidity.
“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.”
Speaking about Hamilton’s claims, Hormer 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.”
He added that Mercedes boss Toto Wolff had spoken to him on the matter.
New tests required
On Tuesday, sources revealed that the FIA had written to all teams informing them of the concerns. In the note, the organizational body stated that it is aware of designs that comply with the current tests.
However, they suspected these designs “nonetheless exhibit excessive deflections while the cars are in motion.”
“We believe that such deformations can have a significant influence on the car’s aerodynamic performance,” the note read.
The FIA has announced that it shall invoke Article 3.9.9 of F1’s Technical Regulations states to conduct 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 detailed a series of new tests to check the nature of the wings. The new tests will focus on the behaviour of the wings as they rotate backwards, something not done earlier.
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.
Another test, this time involving a 1000N vertical and downforce force, will similarly allow just one degree of rotation.
The FIA will hope that these tests will clamp down on teams trying to exploit loopholes in the rules. As this has been a sudden announcement, a grace period for teams has been introduced. The investigations will come into force from June 15, after the races at Monaco, Baku and (now-cancelled) Turkey.