Implemented to improve overtaking opportunities during races, the FIA has confirmed that “adjustable bodywork may be activated by the driver at any time prior to the start of the race and, for the sole purpose of improving overtaking opportunities during the race, after the driver has completed two laps.”
Read at first glance, the system and its controls appears particularly complicated, so here is how it works in a nutshell…
The electronic controls that allow for the rear wing to be temporarily trimmed – effectively increasing top speeds along straights – will be activated after the first two complete racing laps. Drivers will only be able to activate the system if they are running within at least one second behind the car they are in pursuit of, and the system will automatically deactivate as soon as braking pressure is applied.
The driver being pursued will be unable to activate his rear wing adjustor unless he too is trailing another car by less than one second.
The FIA has added, however, that it will visit the one-second timeframe throughout the season to determine if this is appropriate.
In many ways, this system mirrors a concept trialled by Formula 1 – and banned, I will add – in the late 1960s, where the Formula 1 cars ran with adjustable wings mounted on struts above the car. A spate of wing failures – particularly at that year’s Spanish Grand Prix, which killed several spectators in one accident – was all that was necessary to have them banned.
The reintroduction of this system raises several questions that the governing body is yet to clarify. One is which being, the historical wing failures have resulted with the wing uprights being unable to cope with the change in pressure loaded upon them when adjusted back to their normal position – what measures is the FIA taking to ensure that driver and spectator safety will not be compromised?
Expect further clarification in the coming weeks…
[Original image via Telegraph]