F1 Clamps Down On Flexible Rear Wings

FIA, the governing body of Formula 1, has launched a clampdown on flexible rear wings amid suspicions that some teams are bending the rules after Lewis Hamilton claimed the Red Bull team had been using a ‘bendy’ wing, which would increase straight-line speed.

According to the official Formula 1 website, FIA has contacted teams to say that it was aware that while some rear wings had passed tests, some had ‘excessive deflections while cars are in motion’, and that it will introduce new load-deflection tests from 15 June.

As well as new targeted static tests, FIA plans to use onboard cameras to monitor the behaviour of wings while the vehicles are in motion in an attempt to spot any excessive movement of the bodywork.

Teams will be required to put a series of markings on their wings to facilitate this process.

According to Article 3.8 of the F1 technical regulations, bodywork must be ‘rigidly secured to the entirely sprung part of the car” and “remain immobile in relation to the sprung part of the car’. There has been a ban on so-called ‘moveable aerodynamic devices’ in place for many years.

However, as all surfaces experience some degree of flex under load, some teams have tried to exploit this in search of gaining an aerodynamic advantage.

If a wing or other bodywork part can be made to deflect or rotate in relation to others above a certain speed, it can reduce drag on the straights and make the car faster. The bodywork would then snap back into an optimum downforce-producing position before the corners.

F1 teams have been given a month to comply with the new tests and to straighten any wings if necessary. There will be a 20 per cent tolerance built into the test for the first month of its operation.

The first race at which the new tests will come into force is the French Grand Prix on 25-27 June, with Monaco on 20-23 May, Azerbaijan on 4-6 June and Turkey on 11-13 June coming before the 15 June deadline.

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