Site logo

Is that a yes or a no?

NEWS STORY
07/05/2006

Should the Ferraris perform well today, you can be your bottom dollar that before the national anthems have ended, certain sections of the media, whipped up by various people in the paddock, will be raising (yet again) the issue of flexing wings.

Ahead of this weekend's race, it appeared that we faced all-out warfare, with all manner of teams threatening one another with video evidence, and the dreaded 'P word' (protest) floated about with gay abandon.

Yet, at Friday's press conference, surely a good time to bring things out into the open - a rarity in F1 - nobody really appeared to want to discuss the subject, and indeed, of the assembled journos, only Joe Saward appeared to want to know more.

Asked about comments attributed to him in the media, claiming that he was "unhappy" with the wings on the Ferrari 248, Honda's Geoff Willis sternly replied: "I think I'm not quoted at all, actually. I'm not quite sure where it all came from.

"The whole issue of flexible wings has come and gone quite a lot over the last two or three years," he continued. "It's an area which a lot of the teams often talk about to Charlie Whiting, seeking clarifications, asking what we can do and it's a subject which we discuss in the Technical Working Group from time to time, so I'm not quite sure why this issue became quite so heated this week.

"It is the case that people have been playing around with wings quite a lot," he went on. "There are two main ways. People either try and get the whole wing to bend off… to twist off, reduce the drag at high speed, or play around with mechanisms that close or open the flap gap and I have to say that what we've discovered over the last year or so, is quite impressive, the amount of innovation out there. We've seen wings that bend in one way, flaps that bend in another way, wings that aren't bonded together. I think we've even seen an inflatable wing, which I must say I was very impressed with. But it's something where, if we hear something or we have an idea, then it's all part of the regular business of making technical inquiries to Charlie Whiting, asking whether we can do it. It's a little bit of a game generally with technical advances in Formula One, when you have a clever idea, or you think somebody else has got a clever idea, you either try and do it yourself or if you think it's close enough to a grey area you ask the right sort of question to the FIA, so it either gets stopped for everybody or permitted for everybody."

Referring to the recent outbreak of rumours and counter rumours, Willis was asked about events in the wake of the Imola race.

"We're quite regularly in communication with the FIA through Charlie Whiting," he admitted. "I think we've probably had eleven or twelve communications this year alone; that's on top of the general technical directives. It's a difficult area because there are clear regulations about the way we measure the flexibility of wings but the other issue was something that came up in a technical directive that was circulated in the middle of last year where it was made quite clear that we are not allowed to take aerodynamic advantage so we've got a regulation which we all understand but it's a little bit difficult to determine how exactly you're going to enforce it.

"Now that business of enforcement is entirely the FIA's area but what the teams will tend to do is give information or suggestions to Charlie Whiting and Jo Bauer as to what we think is possible and what we think if it's not going to be permitted by them, where to look for it."

When the floor was thrown open to the assembled media, Saward was as blunt and to the point as ever: "Is any team using flexible wings or underbodies?" he asked.

"That question is very difficult," said Willis, who has clearly been watching far too many politicians recently. "There's lots of data you can look at to make an estimate to see if someone is exploiting the regulations to their advantage - and to more than what is strictly permissible.

"It's hard to say, but what we have to do is make everybody 100 per cent sure of the regulations. If we have a suspicion or an idea on how we might do it, then we would put our ideas to Charlie Whiting and so would all the other teams I think.

"To answer your question directly, and in terms of what evidence to you would look for, you'd have to look for a speed variation from speeds squared. The cars deflect not as much air at 300 kph as it should be pro rata based on 250 kph. In the past you could see characteristics of cars where the variation was, lets say, non-linear drag characteristics. It's harder to spot now because of entire lap video coverage of the cars. If we thought it was on, we might point it out."

So that's settled that then.

LATEST NEWS

more news >

RELATED ARTICLES

LATEST IMAGES

galleries >

  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images

READERS COMMENTS

 

Sorry, comments are disabled for this article

Share this page

X

Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2023. All rights reserved.

about us  |  advertise  |  contact  |  privacy & security  |  rss  |  terms