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Horner bemoans cost of bendy wing fix

NEWS STORY
01/06/2021

Other than precious fractions of a second, Red Bull boss, Christian Horner admits that meeting the FIA's new wing deflection test will hit his team in the pocket.

Whether Mercedes carries out its threat and protests the rear wing on the RBR16B this weekend remains to be seen, but nonetheless, for the following race - the French Grand Prix - Red Bull, along with Ferrari, Alpine and Alfa Romeo must ensure that their rear wings meet the new deflection test.

While attention is focussed on the speed advantage the current wing might give the likes of Red Bull, the Monaco winners admit that other than losing out in terms of lap times they will also be hit financially. Indeed, according to Christian Horner, ensuring the wing meets the new demand could cost the Austrian outfit up to half a million dollars.

At the same time however, with an eye on the budget cap, this could, in turn, compromise the team's development programme as it battles Mercedes for the titles.

Only last week the German team pulled out of a two-day (wet) tyre test at Paul Ricard citing the costs involved, the Black Arrows, similarly mindful of a costly development programme as it battles Red Bull, having already had to absorb the cost of Valtteri Bottas' expensive clash with George Russell at Imola.

Asked about the performance advantage of a bendy wing, Horner admits: "It's difficult to quantify but it's not as much as people think.

"I've heard comments of six tenths being bandied around which is ludicrous," he continues. "I mean if you're talking about a tenth, I'd be surprised.

"All these things have to work in conjunction with every other component on the car, so that's going to vary from circuit to circuit.

"The car is designed to comply with the regulations and of course there are tests that the FIA have for most of it and our car complies with all of those tests," explains the Briton in terms of why changes would need to be made in the first place. "Now, occasionally the FIA will change those tests, which they have the right to do.

"They've done that and that of course means that effectively it's a change in regulations in many respects so of course there have to be changes made to the product and that's expensive and of course time-consuming.

"But a lot of focus is on the rear of the car at the moment and I'm sure that in due time that's also going to move round to other areas of the car that other teams will come under scrutiny, so of course it's not just Ferrari and Red Bull that are affected. I think Sauber are quite badly affected by this as well, but that's Formula 1, that's what happens when Technical Directives get issued that change things like the tests that rear wings are subjected to."

Asked about the timing of the technical directive, and the need to resolve the issue before the French Grand Prix - Mercedes objection that the test should have been in place by this weekend - Horner explains: "When you're effectively changing a rule, there has to be a lead time. You can't just magic up components.

"I think if they changed the test on the front wings, for example, this weekend and we've seen far more performance from front wing flexibility, shall we say, then that would affect every single team, some much greater than others and I think that there has to be a lead time. You can't expect parts just to magicked up overnight with the costs that are incurred with that.

"The car complies with the regulations that have been there for the last 18 months or so with these load tests and then the test or the regulation has been changed or the test has been changed and there has to be a notice period for that."


Asked how this 'unforeseen spend' might affect Red Bull's budget, Horner admits: "For a team like us that is obviously running up against the cap, then of course strategically you have to make choices.

"The impact of something like this is probably about half a million dollars so you've got to... that will prevent something else from happening, so that's the juggling act that we're now having to make with the budget cap and financial regs."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by kenji, 03/06/2021 0:31

"@Roli....sorry mate but they are legal ATM. If they are illegal then RB would be disqualified. If they were illegal why didn't Mercedes protest the Monaco results? The race destination has nothing to do with whether the car is deemed to be illegal. The reason I suspect why Mercedes hasn't adopted the same principle is that it may not work in a complementary manner suitable to their aero design. Once the new test is in place then any 'bend' beyond the max allowed will be deemed illegal....and the test once again revisited."

Rating: Negative (-2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Roli, 02/06/2021 18:38

"@max Noble sorry mate, you are wrong, if they were legal, dont you think that Merc would have had them ? No. They are illegal."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by elsiebc, 02/06/2021 18:16

"@Mad Matt Everything flexes to some degree. The tests are there to set that degree."

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4. Posted by meatball, 02/06/2021 17:40

"If they change the regs or the testing method the cost cap should not apply. Redbull was doing what they could to both comply with the Test AND extract the aero from the car. DAS is another great example of rules exploitation and was a key factor in MB winning a few of the races last year when they could toe the alignment to warm the tires prior to a restart and reduce rolling resistance on longer straights. Oddly enough THEIR ban didn't take place until the start of the 2021 season... "

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5. Posted by Old Git, 02/06/2021 14:53

"Just curious how much RB spent in the first place to engineer the non-linear wing movement that defeats the original test. Does Horner's 500k include that initial development cost that now has to be written off?"

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6. Posted by kenji, 02/06/2021 13:50

"@Max,JCR and Mad Matt....Hopefully both RB and Mercedes will be expending so much energy in this imbroglio around the wings that they will take their eyes off the prize, then maybe we'll see another team rise to the occasion and snatch a well earned victory. That's probably wishful thing but a slight indulgence is well overdue. Just looking back it appears that Wolff has rather boxed himself in here. Failure to lodge a protest if the RB wing is rerun would make him look foolish. How this runs will be a template for further events over the balance of the season."

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7. Posted by jcr, 02/06/2021 10:58

"Max & ROLI-
And the new rules do not apply until France.
So at the moment, the wing is 100% legal as per the regs.

"

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8. Posted by Mad Matt, 02/06/2021 8:51

"@Max - The rules always said that flexing wasn't allowed, the tests were just a means of verifying if the rule was being adhered to.

OK, perhaps you could argue that it's semantics but not changing means you punish teams that didn't "break" the rule. I'd also say that if you exploit inadequate testing in an area like this then you can't be too surprised if the test changes to try to better enforce the rule.

@kenji - Yes, what's good for the goose......"

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9. Posted by Max Noble, 02/06/2021 0:12

"@Roli - well it was not illegal until new rules were created making it so…

@Kenji - Quite…. Could be more exciting than the on track action this coming week… :-)"

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10. Posted by kenji, 01/06/2021 23:52

"Now that the FIA have decided to cave in to the Mercedes protest I certainly hope that they extend their bans on flexi front wings. Visually they appear to be bending excessively but because Mercedes are running this wing it remains to be seen if there is a protest in the waiting! As for the protest threatened by Wolff, it's my guess that he won't proceed. He was specifically definite last week, let's see if he has the chutzpah to follow through with his threat."

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11. Posted by Egalitarian, 01/06/2021 22:37

"Well I'm not convinced that Marko provides good value for money, so perhaps if Red Bull rids themselves of his salary, it could funnel the money to fixing the bendy wing. "

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12. Posted by Roli, 01/06/2021 21:44

"Then you shouldnt have built a wing that you knew was illegal. Muppet!"

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