Adjustable rear wings confirmed for 2011 – but only for overtaking

Debates and pollsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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 (32%)

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

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

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  1. 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.

    1. Supposedly you can only use it if you are overtaking, not defending.

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

  3. Pedro Andrade
    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.

  4. 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.

    1. 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.

  5. Pablepete80
    23rd June 2010, 12:00

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

  6. Only one word needed: Farcical.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

    1. Only 15kph? The difference between the slowest and fastest cars through the speed trap in qualifying at Montreal was 16.2kph.

      1. According to Autosport, that’s what the teams are estimating. Like I said, it’s designed to aid a driver in overtaking, not replace him.

        And I believe the speed trap in Montreal is located at one of the fastest points of any circuit on the calendar.

        1. Sorry I may have been unclear – my point was that 15kph isn’t insignificant at all.

  9. 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.

    1. 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?

  10. 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.

  11. Ok, so Lewis comes to the main straight on Montreal circuit right on Teflonso’s tail, and overtakes him easily by using this new shiny toy on his steering wheel….What next? Teflonso can use it again to overtake Lewis, sure, but since they cannot re-adjust the wing after the passing maneuvre for the twistier parts of the track…

    Everyone starts the race with maximum downforce and by the end of it all everyone has minimum downforce on their wings? They sure won’t be able to overtake by adding downforce from the wing, can they?

    Ridiculous idea, It’d be better they use f-ducts and restrict their functionality electronically.

    1. I think you misspelled A-l-o-n-s-o.

      1. Nope, the man has gone from the biggest controversy in F1(spygate) to the even bigger controversy in F1(crashgate), and always escaped unharmed….sometimes even praised by his fellow spahish media “professionals”.
        Nothing sticks to him.

        1. Very clever. I like…

        2. I think you may have missed my slightly sarcastic point that it’s an old joke.

  12. its just getting silly when the drivers have to push a button for kers and one for the adjustable rear wing. and then theres the button for the front wing.

    1. An F1 car was capable of adjusting the wings etc automatically. But because ‘this is the pinnacle of motor sport’, the driver has to manually do it.

      Sports cars on the road are more advanced. Let F1 become hi-tech again please. Bring on the computers. F1 is a TEAM sport, not a driver sport.

      1. That seems like a sensible idea to me. If the teams want to go for high-tech gimmicks to pleas the fans (instead of a very simple device with the F-switch, a 1950s idea) let it be real high tech.

        If the car sensors dirty air wake, let the ECU automatically adjust front and rear wings to cope with losing downforce. It will be better to police and more hightech.

  13. I’m taking a wait and see attitude. For certain some teams will build a better system than others. I’m also considering the fact that DDD’s will not be allowed next year which will change down force in the corners so teams will have to do some serious body mods to try to make up that loss. I suspect that greater straight line speeds will take a serious toll on brakes and tires specially in the earlier part of the races where the cares are much closer together and overtaking before corners. We’ve seen some serious racing this season even though Macca has the only really functioning F Duct in F1… I know some fans were lamenting the loss of fuel stops and thinking that all we would see were processional bores for races. This hasn’t been the case has it? Hopefully we will hear from a few of the F1 super techs on this forum as to how they think rule changes for next year will affect the racing. I’m willing to give it a chance.

  14. so now they can use kers, adjustable rear wing thing, adjustable front wing, change gear, brake balance, concentrate oh and finally drive the car too all for overtaking loool

    1. The adjustable front wing is reported to be dropped for last year as it added to little advantage.

  15. One of these days the drivers will be driving with a Keyboard and mouse.

    1. There’s an idea, remove the driver from the car and allow unlimited developement and no technical regs. Have him sit in the garage and drive the car by remote control, while his vehicle does 400 mph around Monaco’s Grand Hotel Hairpin. SORTED.

  16. The rules allowing adjustable rear wings will be even more artificial than the rules allowing adjustable front wings.

    The new rules are just a little bit more of the same we already have: a flawed concept. I think its time to do away the high-downforce aerodynamics and get rid of wings and diffusers all together.

    1. There needs to be a reintrodution of ground-effect, although more restricted than when it was previously used for safety reasons, and a serious reduction in the downforce generated by the upper elements of the cars.

      Road cars do not generate massive amounts of downforce with wings, they use diffusers and sculpted bodywork, so if there is to be more relevance to road cars then these should be emphasised.

      1. i dont get this whole ‘road car relevance’ BS a road car will never travel at 200mph up the straights of Monza or take 130r at full throttle, or for that matter change its engine every 1500km. If you want road car relevance watch touring cars. I hate the way f1 is going, the show does not need to be improved! ban the dd difusors and then leave the regulations alone for the next 10 years! and for that matter stop the engine freeze and remove engine rev limiters.

  17. Don’t forget the teams have lots more track splits than the public has. It was mentioned a few races ago that they have upwards of 10 lap splits – I’m sure establishing positioning won’t be too hard.

  18. Tom M in Australia
    23rd June 2010, 13:02

    Sigh… They just dont get it.

  19. It just seems to me that it’s a recipe for controversy – I can see drivers using the system when informed they’re within one second of the car in front, only to be penalised later when it turns out that by the time they used they had fallen out of the one-second gap by 0.001s.

    We’re having a pretty high overtaking season now. Another case of over-fixing things, I think.

  20. I really dont like this, it seems so contrived and artificial.

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