Introducing new tests is always a good idea, except when you do it in mid-season. Especially considering the impact that these sudden tweaks may have on minor teams, in terms of costs in dollars and development tokens. This is what Alfa Romeo’s team principal Frederic Vasseur tells the FIA, when the technical commission made aware the teams on some new tests that are going to be introduced almost immediately, precisely from the French Grand Prix, which will be held at the end of June.
FIA decided to test the flexibility of the rear wings, in order to make sure they do not flex too much, allowing some teams to gain a straight-line speed advantage on the straights.
Alfa Romeo's boss disagrees firmly with this idea for its timing, too sudden to help the teams adjust with these tests and requiring substantial money from them, causing big disadvantages for minor teams that have a smaller budget.
“We will have time to do it [change the wing], but it will cost us a fortune,- Vasseur explained Motorsport.com - We are all fighting to try to save money, to speak, to reduce having one person at a track, and then we have these kinds of things that... it's just a joke. A joke for me.”
The boss of the Hinwiil-based team is sure that the impact that a “too much” flexible wing could have on the lap is minimal. Also, he is worried that this tweak will be only the first of potential new tests to be introduced in this season.
“We did the back-to-back a couple of times, and the difference was not huge. But it's not about this, my concern. It is that why next week we won't change the weight of the car also? Because one team is not able to reach the limit… - he added - We had the regulation with the maximum deformation and the load, and I think we are not more clever than the others,” he said.
“Everybody was sticking to the limit, and the FIA decided to change the limit. It's a bit surprising, but they changed the load and the deformation, and in the course of the season. It's not the introduction of a new test, or a new way to do the test, it's that they changed a value. And this for me is the first time that we see something like this. Because, if you are at the limit, if you did a good job, you have to produce new wings. That in terms of cost-saving, it's a huge, huge, huge effort.” Red Bull’s team principal Christian Horner did estimate that this “joke”, paraphrasing Vasseur’s words, will cost the teams about $500,000 (USD) to change the wings.
“The business of the engineers in F1 and the designers is to design parts at the limit of the regulation. – he stated - If you change the regulation in the course of the season, you will have to design new parts and the teams who are saying that they won't be affected, it's a joke.”