Whitmarsh: Movable rear wings are a good idea

We discussed the adjustable rear wing idea for the 2011 season last week and while some members of the F1 community have some reservations regarding its deployment, FOTA chairman Martin Whitmarsh believes it’s the right move.

While I love all F1 races and abhor the term “show” and “entertainment”, I agree that remaining complacent isn’t something F1 should do. Whitmarsh is correct that this is shaping up to be a cracker of a year and we don’t want to marginalize the current competitiveness of the program.

The McLaren F-duct has been revolutionary in terms of out-of-the-box thinking, or interpretation as Christian Horner would say, and taking the logical next step in reducing or increasing drag and aero efficiency to the rear wing is an interesting idea. Whitmarsh is quoted by ITV:

“I think we have got to do a little bit more work on deployment [of the system] and the sporting regulations that accompany it, and if we get that right we’ll give it a go.”

He added: “I think we shouldn’t be so arrogant [that] if it detracts, isn’t right, it’s easy to take it off and fix the rear wing. But let’s have a look at it; it’s a bit of an experiment.”

Whitmarsh insists it is important that F1 continues to look at ways of improving the racing spectacle and therefore tries out new concepts.

“I think we [Formula 1] have got a great show, we should be careful not to spoil it, but at the same time we shouldn’t be complacent. We should always be thinking about how we create some entertainment,” he added.

“The nice thing is it was a cooperative [agreement]…there was a lot of discussion the experts came up with the idea, we’ve agreed, we’re pushing it through.”

Please do read the article at ITV as there are some interesting explanations of how the wing will work by Ross brawn. It’s an interesting concept but I have one concern on an issue Brawn mentions. The use of the device.

How often, where and when can you use it? Brawn suggests that it could be a sophisticated system of proximity and duration based upon positioning of a car to another car etc. That seems difficult indeed as GPS is not always 100% accurate as we saw in Valencia with the SC period. I am interested in what kind of system they would use for this proximity factor. Would it be built in to each car and consist of radio frequency (RF) and isn’t there are lot of RF flying around a circuit during a GP weekend? The limited use of KERS was a contributing factor to its failure in 2009 according to some so are we running the risk of neutering the movable rear wing out of the starting gate if we drastically limit its use?

Is it GPS? Or something completely different? What do you think? Is the movable aero device era in F1 a good thing or bad thing? Several team bosses suggested that Canada proved that tires are the key element to exciting racing replete with passing so are we now focusing too much aero and not enough on the 2011 Pirelli spec tires options? I suspect we should be looking at both but what do you think?

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