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F1 News: FIA has no plans to stop ‘cheater flexi-wings’

The FIA sees no need to stop the significant flexing of the front wings (Flexi-Wings) of Red Bull’s competitors.

–by Mark Cipolloni–


Because although the flexing is against the ‘intent’ of the rules to not allow moving aerodynamic devices, the wings pass the static load test the FIA uses to measure wing flexing.

Hence, they are deemed legal until a team files a formal protest.

The teams that have introduced flexing front wings – Ferrari and Mercedes – have seen significant performance gains vs. the Red Bull car.

Related ArticleF1 News: Red Bull eyes joining FIA’s flexible wing cheaters

It has even prompted speculation that some teams could be ready to lodge formal complaints about the antics of a number of squads who appear to be exploiting flexible front wings that comply with the rules – including McLaren and Red Bull.

Ferrari’s performance engineer Jock Clear told Autosport that using the benefits of Flexi-Wings was as essential a design aspect as other key areas of the car.

“There’s no question that you need to do it to be quick, if you see what I mean,” he said. “Whatever’s available to you within the rules is what we explore. So that doesn’t look any different for a front wing or a rear wing or a floor or anything. It’s just a development.”

While much of the focus in recent days has revolved around what Mercedes has done, team boss Toto Wolff says everyone is now pushing things to the limit in the bid to move up the grid.

“Front wings play a big role today, it’s clear,” he said. “Aero elasticity plays a big role, but so do the floors. I think it’s always the combination of these.

“You can have a front wing that flexes like a banana and passes the test, but the rest of the car just doesn’t work properly in the interaction. I think everybody’s trying to push the boundaries and within the regulations.

“I think what we’ve been able to do over the last three races is particularly on the right side, where we believe that we’ve made a big step and all of the aero bits that came since then. Maybe we’ve just been very much on the other end of where we should have been on wings and floors and all of that.”

Speaking to Autosport, Red Bull Advisor Dr. Helmut Marko said: “We didn’t complain, but we just noticed it. If the car is so much faster on the straights then you can see where it comes from. But it went through the scrutineering, so it was okay.”

And with Red Bull having been on the receiving end of criticisms in the past about its own Flexi-Wings tactics, Marko thinks it is a normal part of the conversation in F1.

“It has always been a problem and nearly every team is affected by it at some stage,” he explained.

“One time some teams will accuse others, and then the ones that are behind are blaming the others and say that they don’t have it. This is a normal game for as long as I have been in Formula 1, it has always been like this.”

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