The FIA has finally brought the ongoing debate over the legality of Red Bull Racing’s floor design to an end by declaring the concept illegal. The team will not be stripped of its wins at the Bahrain and Monaco Grand Prix, despite having raced with this floor configuration at both events.
Red Bull Racing came under intense scrutiny from a host of rival teams during the Monaco Grand Prix weekend – particularly Ferrari and Mercedes (who were themselves subjected to repeated allegations by Red Bull over the legality of their car earlier this year) – but no protest was lodged following Mark Webber’s win in Monte Carlo, meaning that the result stood.
However, the FIA has since reassessed its position on the floor design – which features a small hole positioned just before the rear wheels in what is believed to be in the ‘exclusion zone’ for aerodynamic aids – and since declared the concept illegal with immediate effect.
Discussion surrounded the rectangular ‘hole’ in the floor situated in front of the RB8’s rear wheels (red arrow in left-hand drawing). Article 3.12.5 of the sport’s technical regulations states that, "All parts lying on the reference and step planes, in addition to the transition between the two planes, must produce uniform, solid, hard, continuous, rigid (no degree of freedom in relation to the body/chassis unit), impervious surfaces under all circumstances." Talk focussed on whether the cut-out on the Red Bull constitutes an enclosed ‘hole’, hence meaning the floor is not ‘impervious’, as opposed to the cut-outs in similar places on the Sauber (red arrow in right-hand drawing) and Ferrari, for example, which are open at the floor’s edge. [Image via Formula1.com]
“Following on from a number of discussions in Monaco, during which it became clear that certain misunderstandings existed, we feel it would be helpful to make our position clear with respect to the presence of a fully enclosed hole in any surface lying on the step plane,” the governing body wrote in its latest technical directive issued to the teams.
“It has been argued that, as it is not explicitly stated that fully enclosed holes cannot be located in a surface lying on the step plane rearward of a line 450mm forward of the rear face of the cockpit template, then they may be located in such areas. We disagree with this view and consider it implicit that fully enclosed holes may not be located there.”
The announcement will necessitate major changes to the design of the RB8’s floor ahead of next weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix.
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