There is a big difference though - you can set a speed limit without tolerance. if the speed limit is 60, you can always opt to drive 57 to be certain you meet it.Just_a_fan wrote: ↑Thu Nov 25, 2021 5:32 pm
The rule is written so that they can easily change it as necessary to deal with technology changes. By putting in the "it must be stiff" bit, they can then define stiff as the teams develop their layup technology etc.
It's the same as the law saying "you must not exceed the speed limit" but then allowing, in practice, a tolerance owing to the variability of car speedometers etc. So the speed limit is 60mph but you can "get away with" doing e.g. 63mph because the law recognises the imperfect nature of the measuring devices available to the motorist.
The absolute rule is "do not exceed the speed limit" but the application of it is "speed limit + X" where X is an allowance for the speedometer.
The absolute rule is "components must be totally stiff" but the application is "stiff is defined as having an allowable deflection of X in a specified test".
In neither cases is there a "spirit of the rule". There are just rules. If you meet the rules as defined by the governing entity at the moment then you are ok. There is real world precedent for this in, for example, car fuel economy and emissions rules. The tests were changed to ensure that they represent real world fuel economy and emissions rather than laboratory results. The absolute rule is still the same - the car must meet emissions limits. The application of that is "as defined by a test which we will decide on from time to time".
The idea of the "spirit of the rules" is one of those things that was made up to allow someone to accuse an opponent of cheating but without actually saying it.
You cannot do the same for absolute rigidity - if the 'flex limit' is zero, you cannot make a wing that flexes negatively just to be sure. You will need some positive tolerance. And that should be specified beforehand and not changed - because the engineers will design with that tolerance in mind. If it is suddenly changed, you are forcing engineers to abide to rules they could not possible have known, with all due consequences in expenses of time and money. And with the consequence of introducing ambiguity in the championship (because your team may suddenly be impacted by a rule changed without having breached any rule, and other teams may not be as affected), or even worse, punishing most the teams that did the best job of designing within the rules.
By setting an absolute limit which is physically impossible, and setting an arbitrarily changeable tolerance on top of that, the FIA very much introduced the rule that flexibility can only be interpreted in the spirit of "no visible excessive flexing as being a reasonable approximation of absolute stiffness", and they have shown to double down on it by actually using their option to change the tolerance based on qualitative, visual observations of what they would regard excessive flexing (or worse, which one of the teams regarded as excessive flexing, with the opposing party being their main competitor). Such ambiguity is not tolerable in a highly technical championship. Set limits to which the teams engineer at their best capacity, and keep them. And if you don't like the result, ban it for next season - like they did with DAS - or allow it. Or, show that it's actually indisputably illegal and take proper action against the team that violated the rules. I'd rather see a team -even RB- disqualified based on an indisputable rule violation than these arbitrary changes.