Initially disclosed earlier this month, the FIA has been meticulously scrutinizing the use of flexible wings in this season’s first half. They suspect that certain teams are skirting the boundaries of what’s legally permissible.
Around the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, several teams, Aston Martin among them, received recommendations to revise their front-wing structures to avoid any potential violation of established rules.
However, in an escalated effort to prevent teams from circumventing the rulebook, the FIA has issued a formal technical notice detailing designs it deems non-compliant in relation to flexible components.
In the document, known as TD018 and reviewed by F1 Flow.com prior to the Dutch GP, the FIA highlights that teams seem to be intentionally designing localized flexibility and component movement relative to each other to gain a notable aerodynamic edge.
The directive emphasizes that such approaches are in violation of Article 3.2.2 of F1’s Technical Regulations. This rule mandates that all parts affecting a car’s aerodynamics must be “stably fixed and motionless relative to their specified frame of reference,” as laid out in Article 3.3. Moreover, these components must maintain “a solid, continuous, non-porous surface at all times.”
Spurring the FIA into action is their belief that teams are employing sophisticated mechanisms that alter the front and rear wing elements in undetectable ways during routine load tests. It explicitly states that designs capitalizing on localized flexibility or multiple degrees of freedom are off-limits.
The FIA then elaborates on four specific design elements that break the technical rules, while leaving the door open for the possibility of other illicit designs:
Wing components capable of moving vertically, lengthwise, or sideways in relation to the bodywork they are attached to.
Wing components that can pivot in relation to the attached bodywork, such as spinning around a single point.
Structures that incorporate flexible materials or segments that can distort, deviate, or twist, allowing specific parts to move relative to the attached bodywork.
Designs that utilize ‘soft’ edges at the rear of wing elements to mitigate ‘localized cracking’ due to component assembly shifts.
Limited exceptions will be granted for floor assembly, bib bodywork, and minor lateral gaps for front wing flap sealing.
In a shift from its previous approach of simply intensifying garage load tests, the FIA now demands that teams furnish assembly blueprints and sectional diagrams that reveal how front and rear wing components are attached to various elements like the nose, rear impact structure, and pylons.
To allow for any adjustments necessary for full regulatory compliance, the FIA will enforce these changes starting from the upcoming Singapore Grand Prix. Until then, teams can stick with their existing designs until the conclusion of the weekend’s race at Monza.
Teams are expected to submit detailed drawings of their wing configurations by September 8th.
Is F1’s Subdued Driver Market on the Verge of a Dramatic Upheaval?
Ferrari Unveils Special Paint Job for F1 Italian Grand Prix
Verstappen Finally Receives Replacement Trophy After Norris Mishap
And there you have it, folks. The FIA is basically saying, “Nice try, but no cigar.” Time to go back to the drawing board, or rather, the CAD software. Oh, and did someone say Ferrari’s got a new paint job? Let’s hope it’s as rule-abiding as it is eye-catching!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about FIA crackdown on flexible wings
What is the FIA focusing on with their latest technical directive?
The FIA is closely examining the use of flexible wings in Formula 1 racing. They suspect that some teams have been exploiting the rules to gain an aerodynamic advantage and have therefore issued a technical directive to outline unacceptable designs.
Which teams were advised to make changes to their front-wing designs?
The text specifies that several teams, including Aston Martin, were advised to make changes around the time of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
What specific design elements are considered in violation of F1’s Technical Regulations?
The FIA outlined four key design elements that violate the rules:
- Wing components that can move in various directions relative to the bodywork.
- Wing elements that can rotate relative to the attached bodywork.
- Structures that incorporate flexible materials or segments allowing specific movement.
- Designs with ‘soft’ edges at the rear of wing elements to mitigate ‘localized cracking.’
When will the new rule enforcement take effect?
The new enforcement will begin from the Singapore Grand Prix. Teams can continue with their existing designs until the end of the weekend’s race at Monza.
What do teams need to submit for FIA scrutiny?
Teams must submit assembly drawings and cross-sectional diagrams that show how the front and rear wing components are attached to various elements like the nose, rear impact structure, and pylons.
Are there any exceptions to these new rules?
Limited exceptions will be allowed, specifically in the areas of floor assembly, bib bodywork, and minor lateral gaps to help with the sealing of front wing flaps.
What is the deadline for teams to submit their wing designs for FIA review?
Teams have until September 8th to submit detailed drawings of their wing configurations.
Could this directive affect other, yet-unspecified design elements?
Yes, the FIA has left the door open to the possibility that other illicit designs may be at play, which could also be considered in breach of the technical rules.
What prompted this action from the FIA?
The FIA believes that teams are employing sophisticated mechanisms to alter wing elements in ways that are undetectable during routine load tests, prompting this proactive approach.
How did the FIA’s approach change from previous actions?
In the past, the FIA usually responded to such issues by intensifying load tests in garages. Now, they demand detailed assembly blueprints and sectional diagrams for a more comprehensive understanding of the designs.
More about FIA crackdown on flexible wings
- FIA’s Official Technical Regulations for Formula 1
- Previous FIA Directives and How They Affected F1 Racing
- Understanding Aerodynamics in Formula 1: A Deep Dive
- The Controversial History of Flexible Wings in Motorsports
- Aston Martin’s Response to FIA Directives: Official Statement
- Azerbaijan Grand Prix: A Turning Point for FIA Scrutiny
- Singapore Grand Prix: What to Expect
- F1 Teams and Their Wing Designs: An Overview
- The Science Behind F1 Load Tests
- F1 Flow.com’s Exclusive Coverage of the Technical Directive