After many questions arouse over the design of the Red Bull’s RB16B rear wing, after Hamilton suggesting they were “bendy”, FIA decided to crack on new testing to see if these design solutions were in accordance with the sport’s rules, as revealed by Motorsport.com. It has been said that Red Bull is potentially using a more flexible wing, that stays in normal position for the corners to maximise downforce, but rotates down on the straights to boost the top speed of the car.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has so far said that FIA gave the team a green light to use it, and they passed all the current pullback tests that are used on the designs. As he said: “Of course the cars are scrutineered thoroughly and there's pull back tests, and there's all kinds of different tests it has to pass. The FIA are completely happy with the car, that it has passed all of those tests that are pretty stringent.”
Although it has been “so far, so good” for Red Bull, it was revealed on Tuesday that the FIA has sent a note to all of the teams to inform them they’re concerned that some are exploiting designs that pass the static test, but flex at speed. In that communication, the FIA states that they’re aware that those designs do indeed comply with the current tests necessary, but “nonetheless exhibit excessive deflections while the cars are in motion” adding that they “believe that such deformations can have a significant influence on the car’s aerodynamic performance.”
The FIA will enact a clause in the F1’s technical regulations that will allow the organisation to introduce new tests. Article 3.9.9 of the Technical Regulations states that: “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.”
The new FIA tests will focus on the characteristics of the wing that rotates backwards at speed. The tests will include limiting the rear wing to just one degree of rotation when two rearward and horizontal 750N loads are applied. Additional test will involve 1000N vertical and downforce force being applied, and will allow just one degree of rotation as well. The FIA hopes that these new tests will prevent the teams from trying to push the rules with clever designs, ones that move while on track but that are not being checked when the car is stationary.
With some of the teams potentially being affected by the new tests, meaning they would need to strengthen their read wings to ensure they comply with the regulation, a so called “grace period” has been introduced. The current designs will still be valid for the Monaco, Baku and Turkey rounds, before they come in force from June 15th, with the first GP after that date being France (although there might be a calendar shuffle in case Turkey will be cancelled/replaced).