Adjustable rear wings confirmed for 2011 – but only for overtaking

Debates and polls

Drivers will be allowed to adjust their rear wings to overtake in 2011

Drivers will be allowed to adjust their rear wings to overtake in 2011

F1 cars will get adjustable rear wings in 2011 – but drivers will only be allowed to use them to overtake the car in front.

Should adjustable rear wings be allowed in 2011?

  • Yes - drivers should be allowed to use them at any time in the race (48%)
  • Yes - but drivers should only be allowed to use them to overtake in races (21%)
  • No - adjustable rear wings should not be allowed at all in races in 2011 (31%)

Total Voters: 2,015

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Speaking during the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Phone-In the team’s engineering director Paddy Lowe confirmed the adjustable rear wings would be allowed as F-ducts had been banned for 2011.

Lowe said drivers will be allowed to use them at any time during qualifying.

But in the races drivers will not be allowed to use them in the first two laps. After that they will only be allowed to use them if they are within one second of a rival car as Lowe explained:

[It's] been agreed to ban the ‘F-flap’, or ‘F-duct’, system. But in their place we will have an adjustable rear wing. The flap will be adjustable by the driver.

You can run it however you likes in qualifying which will allow you to get a better lap time using it wherever you can. In the race you can’t use it for the first two laps at all.

But after that if you’re within a second of the car in front then you will be able to deploy it. That will be very interesting. It’s a FOTA initiative to help improve the show and I think it’s very exciting.
Paddy Lowe

Lowe also confirmed FOTA had agreed to let teams use Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems in 2011 having suspended their use this year.

Read more: F1 2011 Season

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194 comments on Adjustable rear wings confirmed for 2011 – but only for overtaking

  1. bosyber said on 23rd June 2010, 11:32

    I still think that the fluidic switch of the f-duct is saver than a mechanical solution. Or is the electronic switch effectively replacing the drivers direct control, but using a fluidic switch to do the job, because of somewhat misplaced fear that drivers have to move to much to activate the thing otherwise?

    It is silly to ban the f-duct but then mandate something similar, but seemingly inferior. The “only use for overtaking” is artificial, and should not be needed. I am glad that at least they would be able to use it in qualifying though.

    • bosyber said on 23rd June 2010, 11:35

      I still worry about drivers letting their competitors past before the final corner so they can then retake on the straight, to avoid losing the position on that straight themselves. … Sort of the question of how easy it should be to pass: I want it to be a battle, if every one can always pass, then strategy and timing becomes the overriding factor, not speed or driving ability.

  2. Steezy said on 23rd June 2010, 11:34

    So the driver in front (defending) will also be allowed to use it, right?

    I mean I don’t really see the point, it just adds unnecessary work load to the racing which doesn’t really have anything at all to do with driving. They want to bring F1’s relevance to the road back but they so silly things like this to “spice up the show”

    KERS is good enough, and it is also relevant to road car technology. This wing idea is dumb. Especially the whole “not in the first two laps, only when you’re a second within a rival” it’s just too artificial.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 23rd June 2010, 11:42

      So the driver in front (defending) will also be allowed to use it, right?

      No.

      • HounslowBusGarage said on 23rd June 2010, 12:51

        So if he is not allowed to use it and I am, then my braking distance for the hairpin ahead will be considerably longer than his as I have less downforce. So I will have to brake earlier, which means I will not be able to vertake by outbraking into a corner. I will only be able to overtake while going along the straight and getting my overtaking down way before the braking zone.
        Not good.

        • mateuss said on 23rd June 2010, 23:31

          No, the computer system allows to activate the SRW system if the last intermediate is less than 1 sec (or whatever they will agree on if that wont be enough), and when the driver have used it it will be automatically electronically disallowed or disabled when the driver deploys the brakes, but he does not need to wait till that point, he can turn the system on or off when these rules mentioned above applies.

  3. Polishboy808 (@polishboy808) said on 23rd June 2010, 11:35

    Anyone who says they can use it at any time would be missing the point of the system. It’s to improve overtaking, if every one could do it all the time, the field would be evened out and there would be no point in it. It’s like everyone having the F-Duct, it ruins it’s purpose, to give the driver using it an edge on the driver he’s trying to pass.

    • bosyber said on 23rd June 2010, 11:38

      Except for differences in implementation making one better than the others system (see KERS last year for examples of that). Which for me are part of the engineering of F1, but I do understand that this might end up costing a lot of money developing then.

      By making it a standard, presumably in the ECU, it does indeed become nothing but an “push to pass” equivalent, but by a different name.

      • Exactly, it’s just push to pass with a different name. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for improving ways to overtake, but not by gimmicky temporary solutions. Address the problem properly and devise a complete solution which improves the racing, not ‘the show’.

  4. Chalky (@chalky) said on 23rd June 2010, 11:48

    Does this apply only for the following car to prevent defensive use of the adjustable wing? Otherwise it’s pointless as proven with two cars with KERS.

    If it’s the other way round, we might as well save the money and get the drivers to sit in Sega’s Virtua Racing where the last car gets a speed boost over the leading car to provide closer racing and more overtakes.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtua_Racing

    Either let then have and use it when they want or don’t let them have it. It’s F1 and not a computer game.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 23rd June 2010, 11:55

      They can only use it if they’re within one second of another car so they can’t really use it ‘defensively’. Though if you imagine three cars together, each within a second of the other, the second car can use it to overtake the first car which will also help it defend against the third car.

      • F1 Novice said on 23rd June 2010, 18:18

        But the 3rd car would maybe have the benefit of a double hole punched in the air by the 2 cars in front AND be able to deploy it’s own rear wing adjustment.

        Let’s just hope one of these rear wing adjustmters doesn’t malfunction and not re-set at the end of a straight like the the straight in Canada the cars will end up sideways into the pitlane at a pretty fast rate of knots

  5. Nemesis said on 23rd June 2010, 11:51

    Sounds like,
    Wing on
    wing of

    • Matt said on 23rd June 2010, 13:40

      “Where did all these cars come from?”
      “Detroit”

      Seriously, this sounds like a wank, adding more complicated rules (and loopholes to exploit). Just keep the f-duct and forget the adjustable wings

  6. Mark said on 23rd June 2010, 11:54

    If everyone uses them there there is no benefit to anyone. If you’re about to be overtaken then you use your wing and the guy behind uses his… how does that help ?

    All it does is add complexity and expence without any benefit to the racing, its as stupid an idea as KERS.

  7. Splint3r said on 23rd June 2010, 11:54

    Using this when there is only a 1 second gap is pretty retarded. Either have it adjustable throughout the race, or nothing at all.

  8. Pedro Andrade said on 23rd June 2010, 11:57

    I don’t like this idea at all. It’s way too gimmicky, and how are they going to police that? Besides, if KERS comes back next year, isn’t it going to counter that rear wing boost? Imagine the car behind gets within 1 second of the one in front – he only has to press the KERS and the advantage will be negated. Even if the 6 second KERS use is maintained, most of the time there’s only one place on the circuit where overtaking really is possible, so the 6 second boost is enough.

  9. Mark said on 23rd June 2010, 11:59

    Of course one of the other factors preventing overtaking is the rev limiter…. at the moment how can you get past if you’re limited to the same revs as the guy in front ?

    Remove the rev limiter and let teams fight for the overtaking move while risking blowing their engines up. That would bring out different strategies and we’d get more action in the races albeit at the expence of everyone finishing in a procession line astern.

    • graigchq said on 23rd June 2010, 13:01

      unfortunately, you are mislead. The rev limiter takes the engine to top speed, which can be adjusted. So teams have the option of having more headroom at the expense of acceleration, just as any gear ratio setup does. The McLaren’s for example do seem to only JUST hit their rev limiter at the very end of the long straights, whereas i saw the red bulls seemingly topping out way before the last chicane in Montreal, meaning that they concentrated more on acceleration to overcome the F-duct than McLaren did. McLaren’s catch up at their top end, whereas Red Bull are faster to get to their slightly lower top end.

  10. Pablepete80 said on 23rd June 2010, 12:00

    At which point does the lead car become the chasing car and what happens then !!!! This is a joke!

  11. Rubbish Dave (@rubbish-dave) said on 23rd June 2010, 12:02

    Only one word needed: Farcical.

  12. Steph90 (@steph90) said on 23rd June 2010, 12:07

    I think they’re trying so hard to bring in overtaking that bnow they’ve resorted to gimmicks to try to comabt the rules.

    All this results in artificial driving. Giving a bonus to the car behind. It’s a nice idea but should be used at any time. Let the drivers use their brains instead of holding their hands to guide them to overtake.

    I think overtaking should be improved but I don’t think it’s a do or die for the sport. F1 has never been about mass overtaking. Watch a review from the late 80s and you’ll see the Prost-Senna drama, Mansell on his ‘charge’ a term probably coined for him and Brundle and de Cesaris in hole heaps of trouble. Watch the full race and you’ll sit through hours of a procession too. My point is, that overtaking was an issue then as it is now. It was on the forum the other day about Hunt saying how hard new tracks were to pass on. Things haven’t got much better and it’s good they’re working on it but it should be tackled right and they do have time to make whatever improvements they want. To be honest though, the processions should just how hard these guys race and makes any overtaking a lot more special and something to be savoured.

  13. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 23rd June 2010, 12:18

    To all the nay-sayers out there – this device only affords drivers an extra 15km/h when passing. It’s not like they’re getting an extra 50km/h to play with. It’s both intended and designed to facilitate overtaking, but not replace driver skill.

  14. Ronman said on 23rd June 2010, 12:26

    I think it’s a waste of resources really, although the technical challenge sounds interesting.

    there is the list of problems i have with such a system:

    1-not all teams will be able to develop a system that is as effective as their rivals, therefore gains will be relative to teams strength, nullifying in some cases their advantages.

    2-focus should be on a permanent decrease in down-force so that the drive has more to do in keeping the car planted around the corner, rather than have to modifying it as he goes.

    3-some drivers will use it when they are not supposed to and that will open a whole new can of worms in terms of penalties and what ifs.

    4-something might go wrong. don’t remember who, but the adjustable front wing on one car got damaged some races ago and compromised the driver’s whole race. the less complex the systems, the less things can go wrong.

    I know F1 is about cutting edge, but altering a car’s aerodynamic properties at the flick of a switch is not nice.

    I have my reservations on the F-Duct, but in the McLaren application i thought it was a genius solution with no moving parts, taking an advantage of the concept without adding complexity of operation.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 23rd June 2010, 14:02

      1-not all teams will be able to develop a system that is as effective as their rivals, therefore gains will be relative to teams strength, nullifying in some cases their advantages.

      There is talk that the regulations dictating the rear wing development will be as strict as they come. There will be little room for development, so the system will remain constant.

      2-focus should be on a permanent decrease in down-force so that the drive has more to do in keeping the car planted around the corner, rather than have to modifying it as he goes.

      Aerodynamics is king in Formula 1, and the teams know it. They will fight to keep every scrap of it they can. Until the time comes when that changes, other solutions will need to be found because the eams know that more downforce equals a bigger advantage, ad that’s not something they are going to give up readily.

      3-some drivers will use it when they are not supposed to and that will open a whole new can of worms in terms of penalties and what ifs.

      The system will only become available once a driver is within one second of another. Until then, he can press the button as much as he wants, but it will not do anything. If he falls more than a second behind the car in front with the wing in the ‘on’ position, it will most likely return to the default setting.

      4-something might go wrong. don’t remember who, but the adjustable front wing on one car got damaged some races ago and compromised the driver’s whole race. the less complex the systems, the less things can go wrong.

      Hey, a gearbox might seize up and compromise a driver’s race. Or an engine. Or the brakes. There are any one of a thousand things that could go wrong, thus wreckig a driver’s race for him. If anything, an adjustable rear wing is less of a risk than an adjustable front one because it’s difficult to damage the rear wing the way it is the front. Any damage to a rear wing as a result of contact with another driver is liekly to be race-ending, and whose fault is that?

  15. BNK Racing said on 23rd June 2010, 12:27

    lol good concept, bad execution. i think there are far too many rules that need rules to govern the first set of rules to make this work. at the end of the day i don’t see the adjustable rear wing making any difference to the viewer….just like how no one notices when a driver adjusts the front wing. also like mark said…if everyone uses it, there be no benefit to anyone…i expect more of the same if everyone uses KERS next year as well.

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