Mercedes’ radical front wing air deflectors and Aston Martin’s rear wing have been made illegal through changes in F1’s technical regulations.
During the season, both concepts raised eyebrows when introduced. While compliant with the wording of the rules and hence deemed legal by the FIA, they appear to go against the broad concept that car designs to increase performance should not make it harder for cars to follow each other.
The FIA allowed the Mercedes concept to be used this year, but formal tweaks have been made to the 2023 F1 technical regulations to ensure that these gray areas are tidied up.
Speaking to the media about the changes in technical regulations, the FIA’s single-seater technical director Nikolas Tombazis said:
“Obviously this year they were both legal. The regulations have changed on both the front and the rear in different ways to stop those solutions.”
“An important objective of the Regulations in Article 3 is to enable cars to race closely, by ensuring that the aerodynamic performance loss of a car following another car is kept to a minimum. In order to verify whether this objective has been achieved, Competitors may be required on request to supply the FIA with any relevant information. Some of these things where we changed the rules are in that category.”
“But that article [3.2] wasn’t intended that: ‘Okay, if you’re smart and you have a solution, we’re going to take it off the car immediately.’ It just gave an explanation about sometimes why we have to intervene with the regulations. But we’ve still done it via governance. We don’t have the right to just say: ‘we don’t like this, let’s ban it.'”