SINGAPORE: Formula 1 is set to crack down on flexi wings at the upcoming Singapore Grand Prix. The FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) suspects that certain teams may be employing deceptive tactics by concealing mechanisms beneath rubber coverings, thus evading load-bearing assessments.
The Technical Regulations of Formula 1, as outlined in Article 3.2.2, explicitly prohibit flexible bodywork, mandating that all components influencing aerodynamic performance must remain rigidly fixed and immobile.
However, this Formula 1 season has seen the FIA raise concerns about the potential subversion of these regulations by unspecified teams. Nikolas Tombazis, FIA Single-Seater Director, shed light on the issue, pointing to concealed “levers” enabling deflection and artifices obscured beneath rubberized surfaces.
He emphasized the importance of eliminating relative motion between components and expressed discontent with parts exhibiting significant movement, shielded by rubber materials.
Tombazis detailed the testing process for flexibility criteria, where wings are subjected to applied loads, allowing a specified level of deflection. He acknowledged the inherent imperfection of static tests due to variations in load direction compared to actual on-track aerodynamic forces.
He further explained that regulations encompass overarching specifications aimed at prohibiting mechanisms that could potentially subvert these tests.
Tombazis stressed that mechanisms that enable components to behave differently under test conditions versus actual race conditions are not deemed compliant.
McLaren team boss Andrea Stella anticipated a marginal performance impact, estimating just under a tenth of a second for teams employing such tactics.
While this may not significantly alter the standings among the front-runners, Stella noted that within the closely contested midfield, this fraction of time could potentially reshuffle the pecking order.
Meanwhile, Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff expressed hope that the new technical directive would curb the dominance of Formula 1 championship leaders Red Bull, though he acknowledged that such an outcome is unlikely.
As the Formula 1 community gears up for the Singapore Grand Prix, all eyes will be on the enforcement of these measures and their potential repercussions on the track.