F1 introduces new wing flexibility tests
By Mat Coch
Thursday 13th May, 2021 - 10:15am
A new technical directive to Formula 1 teams by the FIA has advised wing deflection tests will be ramped up from next month.
Remarks made by Lewis Hamilton over the Spanish Grand Prix raised questions over the rear wing used by Red Bull.
“The Red Bulls are really fast on the straights,” Hamilton said.
“They have this bendy wing on the back of their car which they put on today and they gained at least three tenths from this wing.”
Red Bull’s Christian Horner refuted the insinuation, suggesting it was a salvo from his squad’s world championship rivals.
“The FIA are completely happy with the car, that it’s passed all of those tests that are pretty stringent so I was surprised to see his comments on that,” he asserted.
“But it’s something that Toto [Wolff] has mentioned to me previously, so I doubt it was Lewis’ opinion. It probably came from elsewhere.”
Flexible wings are not a new concept in the sport, with load tests having long been introduced to ensure designs conform with the regulations.
Previously, that has been largely focused on the front wing, while Hamilton’s allegation singled out the rear wing.
Flexible wings are covered off under Article 3.8 of the Technical Regulations, specifically Article 3.8b states “…any specific part of the car influencing its aerodynamic performance must be rigidly secured to the entirely sprung part of the car (rigidly secured means not having any degree of freedom).”
According to the sport’s official website, the tests to measure deflection are set to be ramped up.
Nikolas Tombazis, the FIA’s head of Single Seater Technical Matters, advised teams that officials will now use onboard cameras to monitor deflection at speed.
To this point, deflection has been measured solely via static load testing.
As a technical directive, the note has not been included within the technical regulations, but will likely be included when it is next revised through the World Motor Sport Council.
The new deflection tests are set to come into effect from June 15, though a month-long grace period will allow for a tolerance of 20 percent.
The first event under the new deflection test will be the French Grand Prix on June 25-27.