FIA to clamp down on ‘Flexi’ wing tests

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According to Mr. Noble at AUTOSPORT, it seems that McLaren and Mercedes GP’s request for clarification on the “flexi” wing issue has prompted a new spate of tests for the next race at Spa Francorchamps. As we discussed here, it seems the FIA are going to test the nuance of the regulation I was debating with all of you regarding stress load increases.

In particular, Article 3.17.8 is going to be applied to increase load deflection tests in order to determine the legality of the Red Bull and Ferrari front wings.

Article 3.17.8: “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.”

Back to our point here, while the test parameters state that a 500N or 50 kilogram load is used, it does offer Article 3.17.8 as additional parameters with regard to this issue. The letter of the law and spirit of the law may just meet somewhere in between. Does it imply that a wing meeting 500N load deflection is legal while loads greater than 500N are fair game? We may just find out in Belgium.

A creative carbon fiber weave may be at play here in that it will resist a 500N load but is designed to give way with increased loads. One may suggest that when creating a compound to withstand 500N is one thing but that all compounds will eventually fail if you apply increasing force; eventually they will yield. using Article 3.17.8, insists the FIA have the right to increase that load during test and Mr. Noble suggests that this load will now be in the neighborhood of 100 kilograms.

Perhaps the FIA’s technical boss Charlie Whiting has decided that watching Mercedes GP and McLaren poor cash into a similar wing only to ban it has some merit. What’s that? Cost cutting in F1? You’re kidding!

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