Formula 1’s governing body, the FIA, has informed the teams it will introduce a stricter front wing deflection test, focused on the flaps of the wing, in order to prevent teams breaking the rules.
Front wings have gotten wildly complicated, composed of numerous flaps and winglets in recent years, and the rules clearly forbid movement of any aerodynamic part.
Although it remains unclear if this new technical directive is indeed a reaction to any of the current teams’ designs, replays of Valtteri Bottas’ Williams clearly show front wing flap deflecting massively during track running.
“The FIA intends to introduce a further load/deflection test on parts of the bodywork forward of the front wheels. A 60N (6Kg) point load will be applied to any part of the trailing edge of any front wing flap, the load will be applied normal to the flap at the relevant point,” the directive stated.
“Under the load, the deflection may not exceed 3mm when measured vertically at the trailing edge.”
The last time a ‘flexi-wing’ controversy flared up was at last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, when Red Bull Racing had both of its cars excluded from qualifying because their front wing flaps flexed beyond the allowed tolerance.
At the time team principal Christian Horner suggested other teams were in breach of the rules as well, with his statement backed up by Rob Smedley, Williams performance chief, who claimed all teams were pushing the front wing rules to the limit.
Images via FOM and Williams Racing / LAT