FIA to modify flexi-wing test?


Amidst cries of "not fair" from certain teams, it is understood that the FIA could modify its test for wing flexing ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix.

From the opening free practice session in Hungary, Red Bull and Ferrari pretty much left the opposition for dead, as both teams made good use of the latest controversial development in a sport which is constantly seeking ever more ingenious ways in which to find an edge over the opposition.

Even since the teams introduced their new front wings, certain rivals have cried foul, claiming that they flex and therefore break the rules. However, the FIA has checked the wings numerous times, and, going by the current criteria, they pass, much to their rivals' obvious frustration.

However, after calls from McLaren and Mercedes for clarity on the rule - before they head off to develop their own version - it is understood that the FIA will modify the current test in time for the next round of the championship.

According to reports, as they prepared to leave the Hungaroring last night, the teams were warned informed by Charlie Whiting that at Spa Francorchamps the FIA stewards will be using Article 3.15 of the 2010 Technical Regulations which state that:

"With the exception of the cover described in Article 6.5.2 (when used in the pit lane), the driver adjustable bodywork described in Article 3.18 and the ducts described in Article 11.4, any specific part of the car influencing its aerodynamic performance:

"Must comply with the rules relating to bodywork must be rigidly secured to the entirely sprung part of the car (rigidly secured means not having any degree of freedom):

"Must remain immobile in relation to the sprung part of the car:

"Any device or construction that is designed to bridge the gap between the sprung part of the car and the ground is prohibited under all circumstances.

"No part having an aerodynamic influence and no part of the bodywork, with the exception of the skid block in 3.13 above, may under any circumstances be located below the reference plane."

Currently the FIA stewards are using Article 3.17.8 of the Technical Regulations, which state that:

"In order to ensure that the requirements of Article 3.15 are respected, 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."

This involves placing placing 50kg static weights on the endplates, with a maximum of 10mm flexibility allowance - both Red Bull and Ferrari having passed the test on numerous occasions.

However, other than the clear difference in lap times, it was obvious in Hungary that the endplates on both cars lower at high speed then rise again under braking. Indeed, the endplates on the front wing of the Red Bull were seen to scrape the track.

Speaking out after yesterday's press conference, race-winner Mark Webber defended the controversial wing, essentially accusing rival teams of sour grapes.

"Our guys have broken their balls to design a car in the spirit of the regulations, and every time we are tested by the FIA, we pass," he said. "The car has always been passed by the FIA, so when people don't like (what they see on) the stopwatch, they have to justify their own positions in some other teams sometimes, and when there's pressure on people to perform and they're getting destroyed, that's how it is.

"McLaren have had a great year, if that's one of the teams that... I'm happy obviously, but they're a few points off, they're still right there. Some teams have done certain things, other teams have done other things. They incorporated the F-duct which is a sensational idea. We've turned the world upside down to try and do that which is not without our resource difficulties. That's Formula One.

"We're more than happy with what we have on the car and we're sleeping well at night, the guys, when they have inspections from the FIA that we're doing enough. You should never penalise things that are ingenuous and people that are doing a good job, and that's sometimes the case. Not about this particular part, but the whole concept of the car. If you have a slightly different concept here and there... The blown diffuser was all of a sudden worth four seconds a lap. It depends what week you're talking about. There's always something new to bring out of the cupboard."

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Published: 02/08/2010
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