FIA to increase test loads for front wing
Following the complaints of a number of teams regarding the flexibility of the Red Bull Racing and Ferrari front wings, the FIA has moved to increase the requirements regarding the strength of the front wings to prevent them from flexing too much.
According to Autosport, the FIA wrote to teams after the Hungarian Grand Prix telling them it was going to attempt to clear up the issue.
It is said that as of the next event, the Belgian GP at Spa-Francorchamps, the new test will include putting a weight of 100kg on the wing whereby the wing will only be allowed a linear deflection of up to 20mm. Currently, weights of 50kg are used and the maximum movement of the endplates is 10mm.
Even though the current wings are found legal with the current test, worries by McLaren and Mercedes GP have urged the FIA to put into effect rule 3.17.8 of the technical regulations. The article states: "In order to ensure that the requirements of Article 3.15 are respected, the FIA reserves the right to introduce further load/deflection tests on any part of the bodywork which appears to be (or is suspected of), moving whilst the car is in motion."
There are suspicions that current teams are cleverly using a combination of materials that make the wing strong enough to pass the test, but beyond that flexing easier. As such, the mention of "linear deflection" in the new test.
The issue again rises questions about the methodology that the FIA is applying to set the rules. Careful consideration at the time when the minimum height of the front wings was reduced would have shown the possibility to design wings that bend more, because they are particularly interesting because of their ground effect.
Instead, now the test is likely to be enforced, requiring some of the teams now to spend more money redesigning their wings, whereas they were legal in the first place.