The FIA has responded quickly to try and bring an end to the current storm gripping F1: the flexible front wing row. The sport’s governing body has announced that it will increase the deflection tests from the next race, the Belgian Grand Prix, in an attempt to address concerns from many competitors about the apparent deflection of the Red Bull and Ferrari front wings.
Despite having found no conclusive evidence – in its tests conducted over the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend – the FIA wrote to teams after the race and advised it was going to clear up the matter.
The rule makers have activated Article 3.17.8 of the sport’s technical regulations, which allows it to alter – or in this case, increase – load deflection tests at any point to ensure that the teams’ front or rear wings are not found to be flexing.
The official rule clause writes: “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.”
The current load deflection tests on the front wing dictate that the wing is allowed to flex by a maximum of 10mm where a load of 50kg is applied to it.
The FIA has now confirmed it will double the deflection tolerance while doubling the load to 100kg.
Increasing the load/deflection ratio in a linear manner is done to ensure that the teams are not using a sophisticated material design that would ensure the teams pass the FIA test but then manage to have their wings flex on the track.
It will also seek to restrict teams from using clever joints and fixtures on the underfloor of the car, again to address concerns that team could be exploiting the regulations to provide more downforce or artificially lower the car.
Mercedes GP’s Team Principal, Ross Brawn, applauded the announcement, and said: “The FIA recognises that the disparity between the cars on the track does not reflect the situation where there are tests intended to keep all the wings at a similar stiffness and similar performance.
“We want to see some clarity because it would be very relevant for next year [in terms of designing their 2011 race car]. And if that is considered the accepted approach, then we will want to tackle it for next year,” he added.
[Original image via AUTOSPORT]