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 adjustable rear wings are to be allowed in F1 drivers should be able to use them whenever they want, I don’t like the idea of them only being able to use them if they behind another driver.

    Also as they will only be allowed to use them if they are within one second of another car does this mean they will be controlled by the ECU, so that as soon as the rules are met the button to adjust the flap will become live and the adjustable rear wing will work?

    If it is able to be activated all the time you could have the situation where a driver may loose a fraction of a second between been told he can adjust the rear wing and activating it and so break the rules.

  2. So, as one technological advance improved, it’s banned and the engineers come up with another idea, which is improved, and then banned.
    Why are the teams agreeing with such a charade? If F1 is about technology, lets see the technology. If its about back-to-basic Cossy-engined monsters, lets see that.
    At the moment we are watching the whole ‘show’ slowly begin to disappear down its own collective plug-hole.
    Why not just agree to keep the ideas that actually work, and either write them into the F1 ‘spec’ the following year, or allow the other teams to catch up in their own time? In the meantime it allows for variations in design and possibly finding a solution of benifit outside F1. As it is, no more F-duct, no more exhaust-diffuser, so what are all the engineers going to do now?

  3. anyone thought about lapped cars?
    what would be the rules if something like Button chasing Alonso in Canada happens again (which probably would), they they encounters a lapped car. Would the frontrunner be allowed to adjust the wing as “he is passing a car” ?

    1. A fantastic opportunity to get rid of blue flag rules.

  4. Giving only following cars the straightline speed advantage seems extremely contrived. It is also likely to mean that drivers will only attempt to pass on the straights so we won’t see any battling in the braking zones. It won’t add to the show and will be just another area of confusion for the casual viewers they are so eager to attract.

  5. 2011 looks like a great season with KERS, Adjustible rear wings, ande Adjustible front wings. But i think that all of these mechanisms will make the drivers slower. Resulting in no overtaking. As i said 2011 LOOKS like a great season, but i am not that sure.

    1. no adjustable front wings, they will be banned

  6. how will drivers know if they are within 1 second or not
    what will happen if they use it when they are 1.1 seconds behind?

    1. mate… these guys have such sharp instincts so as to be aware of time… very very aware, expecially on track. They could make out on which part of track, what they need to do in order to be that much faster than the other guy. Usually the difference is a very tiny thing, a fraction of a hundredth of a second sometimes…

      There are other things as fans we should be concerned about, mainly the tom-******* with rules which happens ever so often in the name of making it entertaining… What they have managed is to rob the sport of its character and charm…

  7. i like technical side of it, but not the safety side…
    imagine Nakajima-Kobayashi from Brasil if Nakajima had KERS AND A.R.W. with less rear grip there’s less control if first car makes a sudden move…
    and ‘slower’ cars would have 0% chance to fend off/get back to faster cars (trulli’s career would be a naught with A.R.W.) there would be no thrillers like Spa ’09
    fix aero dependance and tracks (tall order, but more ‘organic’)

  8. Well for sure the idea of use the adjustable wing just for overtaking is done based on improve overtaking, nevertheless there will be KERS to defende position.

    The question is which device will be more important, KERS I think, but what it really matters now is to define clear rules on when to switch on and off the wing.

    What is clear is that drive a F1 will be more difficult than ever, KERS, front wing, rear wing, etc.

    I would not be so harsh on this until we know how this will be used. At least they try to improve the show, but the best way is to get rid of the aero grip and make it more mechanical.

    We will see, just sit down and watch.

  9. I dont really fancy the idea but the teams must have thought it through properly before considering this option.

    Let’s wait and see next year before making a decision!

    1. I wouldn’t take it for granted that the powers that be in F1 thought this rule through properly before implementing it.

      After all the rule changes for 2009 left loop holes for double diffusers and side pod deflectors aero pieces and they had to change the points system twice before this season because they didn’t think it through to start with.

  10. It seems overly fussy to me. Either let the driver do it when he wants to not at all, say once a lap like KERS.

    As with other comments, how will they police the 1 second rule? Not the best thought through rule IMO, but then what’s new?

  11. Ignoring the fans once again.
    Yes people want more overtaking, but didn’t that survey recently come back saying that people want some stability in the rules?

    And once again they’re introducing a couple of rules at the same time to combat the same problem (DD ban and now adjustable rear wing)…meaning it’ll be difficult to see which one had the biggest effect.

    Stable rules or well thought out changes please. Not little tweaks.

  12. You know what this reminds me of… watching the road runner show… these gents at the FIA and WMSC and others involved with rule making/ changing are like Wile-E Coyote scheming to make it interesting for us watching folks… I liked how the cars looked with wider rear wings… i liked it when the cars were progressively faster each year… now these jokers keep trying to slow things down… starting to **** me off… already it is a job to keep awake during a race… You know what… i fell asleep through all of them, excluding Canada and that was not because of how exciting it was, but thanks to a power cut. I’m in India (New Delhi) and this is the hottest June ever :P

    Anyhoo, what i’m saying is perchance a lot of old timers will stop following F1… The new crowd… well, it will only take them so far, but the FIA and others are killing the fanbase :P

  13. The only thought that comes to mind is “What a joke.”

  14. Absolutely ridiculous. And people actually get paid to come up with these ideas?!
    This is on a par with Bernie’s “short cut” idea.

    A total joke …and F1 was looking good this year. Now even if F1 is any good next year, it will still be considered artificial by racing fans.

  15. This sounds interesting. There will have to be some interesting software to prevent drivers from using it ‘illegally’ (i.e. when they are actually allowed as opposed to when they think they are threatened for position and for example the car behind is more than 1 second away perhaps despite what the driver in front may think) so to speak during races…

  16. One more thing: Todt was right when he said you just can’t have competitors making up the rules for their own sport. They need to be imposed by another body. This cheap overtake wing thing is apparently a FOTA initiative and strongly validates Todt’s opinion.

  17. Sean Newman
    23rd June 2010, 16:04

    This is typical F1! Why such a artificial high tech, high cost solution when a simple cheap one would have a similar effect. Just allow skinny rear wings only and no diffusers and overtaking problem solved.

  18. Absolutely pathetic gimmick compromised by arbitrary constraints. All so the aero interest group don’t have to see their precious area infringed on.

    FOTA have gone from standing up for F1’s integrity with their opposition to the two-tier rules to being the champions of something little better than Mario Kart. What a joke.

    1. How on earth are they going to police this? What happens when the wing is adjusted at the moment the car in front happens to edge over the 1 second mark? What about packs of 3? What happens when a driver pushes another into a mistake but the defending driver swings back onto the track less than a second behind for the next corner?

      All I see is confusion, controversial penalties galore, what little extra overtaking there will be known to be painfully contrived and genuine overtakes tainted by them being aided.

      1. And what will be the effect of passing backmarkers. Will they now be an advantage to the first car following them?

  19. Brilliant technical innovation – the ECU will allow access to the flap based on the lap times.

    If the straight line speed counteracts the power loss caused by running in turbulent air I think it can hardly be called artificial.

    While they’re at it they should allow unlimited use of the front wing flap.

    1. Oh yeah and the costs are negligible compared to KERS which has the same effect.

  20. it would be good for overtaking ‘quantity’-wise IF the cars were more evenly matched, so when driver 1 passed driver 2 with the aid of his rear wing, then driver 2 could try and retake driver 1 on the next lap, or on the next straight and so on until the odd-numbered laps coming down should decide who leads the final lap

    they sure tend to allow all of these artificial variables interfere with natural racing..when there wasn’t any qualifying decided by fuel loads, there was the ludicrous top-ten-tyre rule and that one combined with the 2-set-per-race rule

    oh and by the way, just that something good came out of this..with a change of such magnitude to aid overtaking, the Tilke tracks should surely be considered redundant, right?

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