Red Bull fly to victory but FIA set to clip their wings (Red Bull race review)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Hungaroring, 2010

Red Bull’s performance advantage was visible from first practice at the Hungaroring. It reached a peak of 1.214 seconds per lap – the gap between pole-sitter Vettel and third placed Fernando Alonso in qualifying.

But the flexing front wing which helped them achieve such amazing speed is likely to be outlawed at the next race.

Sebastian Vettel Mark Webber
Qualifying position 1 2
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’18.773 (-0.411) 1’19.184
Race position 3 1
Average race lap 1’26.926 (+0.275) 1’26.651
Laps 70/70 70/70
Pit stops 2 1

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Open lap times interactive chart in new window

Sebastian Vettel

Vettel usually looked able to get better performance out of the super-soft tyre than his team mate. So it proved in qualifying, where Vettel claimed yet another pole position.

He kept his lead at the start and disappeared from the chasing Fernando Alonso at up to a second per lap.

But his cruise to victory was interrupted by the appearance of the safety car. Struggling with a radio that was only working intermittently, he failed to keep up with Webber and was handed a drive-through penalty.

That left him third behind Alonso and unable to get close enough to the Ferrari to pass. At one point he had the gap down to just 0.4 seconds but under-steered off at turn four, struggling in Alonso’s slipstream.

His facial expression on the podium said it all as he contemplated another opportunity to take the lead of the championship lost.

Compare Sebastian Vettel’s form against his team mate in 2010

Mark Webber

He was beaten to pole position by his team mate, then beaten to turn one by Alonso. But a smart strategic gamble by his team and a series of red-hot laps by Webber won him the race.

It’s a testament both to the capabilities of the car and its driver that Webber was able to pull out a 22-second lead over Alonso in 25 laps using tyres which covered more than half the race distance.

Webber’s fourth win of the year put him back in the lead of the drivers’ championship.

But the FIA have announced that as of the next race in Spa the teams’ front wings will be subject to new load tests. This may make it impossible for Red Bull to use their front wing which is clearly deflecting greatly at high speed and providing a significant performance benefit.

Compare Mark Webber’s form against his team mate in 2010

2010 Hungarian Grand Prix

Browse all 2010 Hungarian Grand Prix articles

110 comments on “Red Bull fly to victory but FIA set to clip their wings (Red Bull race review)”

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  1. One question, Keith. You wrote that maybe, had RBR used the F-Duct, Vettel could’ve tried soemthing to overtake Alonso.

    My question is (maybe the technical analysis coming soon surely would be the better place to ask): what’s the disadvantage of using the F-Duct at corners? I thought it only worked on straights, so it was a clean plus and had little to no effect at corners (where drivers don’t tap the tunnel with their hands)…

    Just asking because i don’t know what happens. The broadcast here is rubbish, so commentators don’t talk much about the new bits on the cars. It’s just my mind trying to work out why they take it off the car.

    1. The F-duct is only used on straights, but it adds some drag that reduces aerodynamic efficiency. They weigh the cost vs. benefit and decide whether or not to run it. At Hungaroring presumably they determined that due to the short straight its benefits were less than the benefits in the corners by not running it. McLaren run it everywhere because it’s an integral part of the car and they probably don’t have a version of the wing without it. I’m not really sure why Williams and Sauber ran it…

      1. Ah, thank you! thank you! thank you! (triple “thank you” because “post wasn’t long enough” LOL :P)

        1. Has anyone seen any pictures of the flexible front nose? if you have can you share the lnk?

      2. The fact is that the F-duct is very complicated and probably no one other than Mclaren have got it working 100%, so for the other teams, even when the duct is not deployed the air is spilling a bit so thats why the other teams lose a bit downforce during corners.

        1. The better explanation probably is, that mclaren dont even have a rear wing without the stalling device.. .so their car is a package as a whole with the F-duct, unlike other teams which started with normal wings and than added an atachment with an f-duct wing

        2. End no, there is no spilling of air with other teams, its just that it reduces drag/downforce so its not efficient enough unless you have a long straight

          1. Obviously it creates more drag. But its the corelation betwen the drag and downforce which is wors with the f-duct

        3. But it was hardly as if Red Bull had to be afraid of losing a bit of downforce (almost a second advantage in sector 2) to make sure they had a better chance if they would get stuck behind someone during the race.

      3. Sauber also ran their F-duct and i think it was part of the reason why Kobayashi was able to get so far in the race following Button.

    2. You can’t actually use the F-duct in corners – the air directed over the wing causes it to stall, which is to say it removes all downforce. And downforce is what provides most of a car with its grip. Using the F-duct through a corner woul simply cause it to run off the road.

    3. Presumably a loss of total downforce. So I can see why they did it from a pure performance point of view.

      Of course, we don’t know how big the trade-off was. But given their straight-line speed disadvantage and the possibility they might get stuck behind someone, it was a questionable decision.

      I wonder if they’ll use it at Singapore? I’m guessing they will, as the straights there are a bit longer.

      1. In Silverstone they felt the need to run the new wing, althoug they were miles in front. Here they did not want to sacrifice a bit of downforce to help their straight line speed.

        To me it seems Red Bull are still a bit unsure about their advantage and to make sure their ahead just bolt on everything they got to blow everyone away on track.

  2. Keith, once again RBR and Ferrari reviews aren’t showing up in the articles in full listings on the right hand side of the page, only in the Hungarian GP articles, and on the home page.

    1. Now they’re showing up, never mind!

  3. The F-duct reduces downforce slightly and increases top speed slightly. This is not what you want when going around corners.

    As for why the F-duct was taken off the RB6 this race, who knows?

    1. no-one uses the f-duct around corners anyway.

      1. the f-duct helps remove the down force from the back wing, which in turn helps you go faster down the straight.
        if you used it on a corner your rear end would slide out because you effectively removed the weight the back wing is generating to hold your car down onto the track.

        hope that makes sense.

    2. Because even when it is ‘off’ it still slightly reduces downforce. When its on it reduces drag (and downforce).

      Mclaren might of ran better without the F-duct but I don’t think they can, as has been pointed out its designed into the car.

  4. If the FIA ban flexing front wing then will Red Bull & Ferrari be able to keep their points??

    1. Yes. They can obviously keep the points, but that throws the ball back in Mclaren’s court. Come Spa and Monza, they will be the quickest cars on the grid.

      1. this is ridiculous how they get to keep the points, when it is clearly illegal. The double diffusers and f-duct were strictly legal, but having a wing below the minimum height from the ground is just plain illegal, and they should lose their points.

        1. They’re not clearly illegal, they’re clearly and unquestionably legal as they’ve passed scrutineering – they do not flex out-with the limits and under the loads proscribed and the FIA will have to change the rules to make them illegal.

          And the f-duct and double-diffuser were just the same – clearly not what the rules intended, but deemed acceptable due to different possible interpretations of the wording of the regulations and as you say, therefore legal.

          Of the three the double diffuser is the one I would have thought was most dodgy, but the legal teams of those protesting put in a really poor performance at the hearing.
          Either way, once they were passed for the first few races it made little sense to then ban them as it would have required rewriting the rules mid-season, and the same is true of Ferrari and Red Bull’s front wings.

          Looks like the FIA have now seen a sort of sense and aren’t intending an out-right ban, just a bit of a tightening of limits, which may or may not make any difference.

    2. Yes just like McLaren can keep their points even though the F-duct is going to be banned.

      But do remember, they are NOT banning ‘flexi wings’, they’re making the tests more stringent. Maybe McLaren’s wing won’t pass the new tests either…

      1. @AK,

        Maclarens rear wing device has been fully passed by the FIA, which is why everyone else scrambled to get one. They used a loophole in the regulations to it is perfectly legal until next year when the loophole will be closed. The flexiwings though are not exploiting a loophole in the regulations, they seem to be exploiting flawed testing procedures. This means that they are illegal, but have passed the required tests, Red bull therefore would not loose any points but will probably not be allowed to run them again (assuming the FIA get their tests corrected properly).

        1. In this case, the regulations specify that wings can flex no more than 10mm under a 500N load. The Red Bull wing has passed this test, so it’s legal.

          Because the testing procedure is specifically included in the wording of the regulations, there is no space for an “illegal but passes the test” wing. If a wing passes the test, it’s legal. Simple as that.

          So Red Bull has found another loophole in the regulations. I don’t see much difference to the F-duct case, except that flexi-wings are perhaps more of a safety risk.

          1. I am pretty sure that the testing procedure (ie where the load is placed) is not specified in the regulations (although I may be wrong) However the wings clearly are flexing a huge amount (and in fact touching the floor at some points). I have heard that the FIA do not apply the force to the end of the wings (where the flexing will be greatest) and it is this that they will be changing. This would in fact mean that the wing has been illegal but passing the flawed tests and is exactly the reason that other teams have been asking the FIA to confirm what is and what is not allowed as it was unclear how the red bull wing was not flexing under testing but it was during the race (it is also possible that the wings are generating far more then the 500N during a race which would mean that the FIA have failed to keep pace with developments, however it would need to be generating a lot more than the 500N in order to be both rigid at 500N but flex that much under full load)

          2. I agree fully with you.
            Saying that flexible wings are not allowed means nothing, every wing under a load flex, it could have a different stiffness but it will flex. FIA’s rules give a limit and a way to test it, if your wings pass the test you’re ok.
            I think it’s not fair to change the way you test the wings now, it seems a way to keep Mclaren fighting for title…

      2. flexi wings are banned, redbull just found a clever way around the static test, hence the change in the way they’ll be tested.

  5. wayne south africa
    2nd August 2010, 7:36

    Did anyone notice how for example when redbull turned to the right their whole front wing kind of moved to the left and then the very left part of it lowered itself?I don’t think its just the end of the wing that bends but the whole wing itself maybe that’s why it failled on vettels car when they tried it out!I think its bending but not in the place where everybody thinks it is.

  6. Designers necessarily have to design around a benchmark test, so what better test is there than the FIA’s own? Changing the tests mid season shouldn’t be allowed.

    Legally the FIA would have to be very carefull. It is alright to say that something should be rigid but that is meaningless with rigidity never being absolute. It has no meaning until quantified by a measure of the rigidness. If you were to change what rigid means mid season without consent of the affected party you would be way open.

    1. Yes it should be allow and is in the regulations that the tests can be changed, (otherwise it is impossible to enforce the rules) how can you know what the test should be until the designer have designed the car? In this case cleverly breaking the rules, the end plates are clearly lower than the regulations allow its just the test isn’t good enough to enforce the rules due to an unorthodox design

    2. Changing the test mid-season is not ideal and not very fair on Red Bull. The FIA probably feels that flexi-wings are a major safety risk and have to be banned urgently.

      See this article on the troubled history of flexi-wings:

      1. @JONATHAN,

        I do not think that changing the test is unfair as long as the regulations stay the same. I do think that the regulations should no be changed mid season unless it is for safety reasons, but tests are different. If the FIA have discovered that their tests are not fully backing up the regulations then they are perfectly entitled to change the way they carry them out. It is like saying that it is unfair to change drug tests for athletes mid season, ie changing the way they test for an athlete using steroids does not change the fact that using steroids has always been illegal. If their wing has been designed to pass the test while not strictly adhering to the regulations then it will be hard luck if the wing now fails a better designed test. Remember Maclaren had to change their car due to the actual regulations changing early this season, now that is unfair.

        1. It depends if they are going to change the size of the test load, or merely where it is placed.

          If it’s the latter, I think that’s okay.

          1. Well it seems they are going to increase the load linearly. ie the load is increased to 1000N but the deflection is also doubled to 20mm. This is designed to ensure that special materials or designs are not being used to enable non-linear deflection at higher loads. Therefore if the deflection is natural then the wings should pass the test. The teams know that the wings are not supposed to flex beyond a normal amount and the test was designed to ensure the designs were correct. Tests need known parameters which is why they were set at 500N AND 10mm. If a team has designed the wing to get passed this test while still going against the general rule of a non-flexible wing then the FIA are entitled to change the parameters (in fact it states in the regulations that this is may happen) I assume that Red Bull have always thought that they may be stopped from running the wing but I imagine they hoped they would be a but further ahead int he points by now. I do not think Red Bull have done anything out of the norm as they have not strictly broken any rules and other teams have done this before too, notably Ferraris flexi-floor which set off the whole spygate saga (Which they designed specifically to hide from scrutineers).

      2. From what he writes here ( James Allen feels even this changed tests will not make that much of a difference.

        An interesting pretty deeply researched article, reccomend to read it.

  7. I’m worried – what happens if the FIA find the wings are illegal? What do they do to the results of the German and Hungarian Grands Prix? Do they strip everyone of their points, or let the results stand? If the wings are found to flex, Red Bull and Ferrari should be punished because they knowingly broke the rules. But the FIA cannot interfere with the race results, because that will just ruin everything. At the same time, the teams cannot be allowed to get away with what amounts to cheating: the rules state very clearly that flexible aerodynamic parts are absolutely banned and with no exceptions.

    Perhaps the fairest solution would be to give both teams a two-race ban (perhaps to be served alternately to keep as many cars as possible in the race). I know it sounds harsh, but the last time I remember something like this happening was when BAR were found to use fuel as ballast in their cars. They were promptly banned for two races. They deliberately designed their cars to be outside the regulations whilst still satisfying the FIA’s criteria. If Red Bull and Ferrari have done the same here by making aerodynamic pieces that hold their shape when stress-tested by the FIA, but flex when greater loads are applied to them, then they should be made to pay. So ban them both for two races (I believe it is unlikely Ferrari will be banned for the team orders incident), and give everyone else a chance to catch up. Make the status quo the way it was before the German Grand Prix.

    1. The wings were legal for the German and Hungarian GPs.

      They are bringing in new scrutineering procedures for the next race… they won’t be applied retroactively to previous races.

    2. Although the wings are illegal, they have fully passed the FIA tests (which are seemingly not thorough enough). Therefore Red Bull have not broke any rules and will correctly be allowed to keep their points. If their wing fails the new tests they will simply not be allowed to run them anymore.

      1. They currently aren’t illegal if they don’t flex more than 10mm under a 500N load.

    3. PM, how can it be fair to give a team race bans when they are using cars that conform to all regulations. This sport is about pushing to the limits(and sometimes over). Technical innovation is F1 and you cannot compare BAR here, what they did was cheat.

      1. Because those cars were designed to break those regulations whilst appearing to comply to them. From the sounds of things, Red Bull and Ferrari have created wings that will not flex when tested by the FIA, but will flex under racing conditions. Those wings would not be as efficient as one that flexes all the time, but if they are deliberately designed to mislead the Powers That Be into thinking they are legal, then of course they should be banned because that’s cheating. It’s like a professional athlete taking performance enhancing drugs to run faster, but then using a masking agent so that they look clean when tested.

    4. I don’t expect any retroactive deduction of points.

      1. But you’d agree that if Red Bull and Ferrari deliberately designed parts to mislead the FIA, then action should be taken? When BAR did it using fuel for ballast, they were banned for two races. I don’t see how this is much different other than that it applies to a different part of the car.

        1. I agree, designing round a test and round a regulation are two separate things. Exposing a loophole in the regulations happens all the time, but the regulations here expressly outlaw wings that flex more than a certain distance without specifying under what conditons (as far as I know). Getting round a test for a performance enhancing drug, say, in another sport doesn’t mean the regulation banning the drug doesn’t apply. I’m not really asking for RBR’s points to be deducted if they really are found to have a front wing contravening the regulations, since it’d heap too much controversy onto the season. Just pointing out a difference exists.

        2. Using fuel for ballast was in clear breach of the rules as they were written. No changes, modifications or clarifications were needed. BAR were cheating by pretending their car was empty of fuel when it wasn’t.

          Red Bull are not in breach of the rules as they’re written. They’re not designed to appear to comply with them, they DO comply with them. The rules specify the degree of flexing allowed, they comply with those rules. Ferrari’s lawyer has made this point before in battles with McLaren regarding the barge boards – that there is no such thing as an attainable absolute with the technology currently known to man. Therefore the degree of flexing must be quantified in some manner. It was and Red Bull comply with it. That the FIA were too dumb to write the rule to say that the wing must flex no more than x amount at all times during all sessions, is their problem, not Red Bull’s.

          The precedent is that points will be kept. Remember Ferrari running a flexible floor in Australia 1997? That was a real breach of the regulations, as it was later deemed illegal with no changes to the regulations required, merely a clarification. So it would be a scandal if Red Bull were docked points for this when their wing passed scruntineering and may pass the new test as well.

      2. I agree, it will be like the 2007 flexwing/floor stuff, and the Michelin tyre thing: results will stand, but the equipment can’t be used unchanged due to more stringent tests.

        FIA isn’t really doing anything (and probably wouldn’t, shouldn’t want to) to prove that any part of a car was illegal at earlier races, they just realized their tests didn’t check properly for some of the requirements in the rules and decided to upgrade the tests. Up to the teams, as always, to make sure they pass the tests before the race.

        One could think that FIA waited with the new tests until after Hungary so that Red Bull and Ferrari got closer to McLaren in the championships. But they could just say that the summer break gives teams time to check they comply to the more stringent tests.

        1. To be fair, it was raising a lot of questions in public only since Ferrari brought theirs in Hockenheim.
          Only now have the other teams got into full gear to get clearance from the FIA.

          1. Actually, they don’t have clearance at all – the FIA is ramping up testing proceures ahead of Belgium. I seriously doubt that any of the teams are going to pour money into developing a part that could well be deemed illegal before they’d even have a chance to use it. Especially if they’re the teams calling for it to be tested in the first place because they believe it is illegal.

    5. Dear Prisoner, every wing under a load flexes, FIA set a limit and a test method and RBR/Ferrari are ok with it. It’s not fair to change rules now.

  8. The new tests make things very intresting.
    a)Red Bull wings may still turn out legal – meaning all the other teams still have to copy them.
    a1)Mercedes teams find that they have just waisted 3 weeks that could have been used to catch Bulls and Ferraris…
    b)Wings are declared illegal and there are no (Red Bull) wings that will pass the test – (Red Bull) have to sit out till they get “legal” wings This may apply to all teams.

    I say that this is the worst result possible as no one knows what will come next. Are the tests made so that Red Bull must fail them or will they just increase the load?

    1. I’m pretty sure (b) isn’t going to happen!

      Red Bull will have some old front wings on standby in case they need them.

      1. @JONATHAN,

        I am not sure red bull have any non-flexible old wings as they have been using them since last year. However I am sure they could just make their current one more stiff to enable them to race.


        The tests will not be designed to fail the red bulls wing. They will merely be designed to test front wings properly. Currently it is thought that they may not be applying as much load as the wings generate during racing and I have also heard that they are not applying the load to the end of the wings either (which seems a bit stupid)

        1. i am hearing they are also going to test the nose section as well.

          why did RBR remove the camera mountings from the front off the car anyone have any theories about that?????

          just may have been to get rid of any evidence.

          1. They also are rumored to have a flexible floor. I am not sure how true that is but it may explain why their car always seems so close to the floor, even when it has got no fuel in it. It may however just be an optical illusion due the new suspension. The FIA have said that they are going to change the tests for the floors too though so perhaps there is something in it.

          2. They didn’t remove the camera mountings, they simply shifted them a bit, for better aero efficiency. Whether or not it also disguised the degree of flex I don’t know, but the cameras are still there as they have to be.

          3. cant see any cameras mounts anymore on the front RBRs. check it out here.
            photo from Hungaroring GP


          4. Interesting photo, I can’t see them either! When they showed the difference between the wings on TV, the cameras on the new wing were mounted right in the middle on that central strut hanging down from the nose. The mystery deepens…

  9. I assume the current test was designed when front wings were considerably narrower. The clever Red Bull guys have realized that you can now have a wing that passes the test yet still flexes at the ends.

    A nice innovation, but they must have always suspected it would be banned as soon as it was spotted.

    1. This is exactly my point. This would suggest that the wings are of an illegal design but RB have been clever in spotting that the test is not very good. I don’t think they should be punished though (and it would be ridiculous if they were) as it is the FIAs fault for not designing good enough tests.

      1. Indeed it’s weird that teams can build an essentially illegal car and know that they will get away with it without a penalty.

        The FIA should either use more stringent tests (put the car in a windtunnel before allowing it to race) or have broader rules. For instance “no part of the bodywork shall flex more than 10mm at any time”

        Then the camera evidence could be used to penalise them and teams would think twice before trying to circumbent the rules like this.

  10. RBR and Ferrari will keep their points from all races even IF they fail future tests, and rightfully so. They were told they were OK to race and so didn’t revert back to a rigid wing, it’s not their fault the test wasn’t good enough.

    It is possible that the test will still be passed *won’t be the same wing IMO, see below*. It is more likely that the present Ferrari wing will pass than RBR as it doesn’t flex anywhere near as much.

    No need to worry about RBR and Ferrari not competing at the next race, you can guarantee they have rigid wings available as a back up (just like Mclaren could have run another floor and legal non F-duct rear wing at the first race if their car had been deemed illegal, remember they car was only given the final OK on the Thursday of the first race)

    *Reading between the lines the FIA have effectively warned RBR and Ferrari that their wings should not flex that much (change it), I don’t think you will see the same wings as in the last two races, they will quietly be changed without making a fuss about it. Unless the media dig we’ll never know if it’s the same wing as this weekend that is tested in future, they will probably change it and say ‘there you go, passed, it was legal all along, even with the new test.’ The FIA have given them a chance to back out of it gracefully, just like Mclaren and Mecedees and their over sized starter / access holes in the diffuser after a few races in at the beginning of the season.

    As has correctly been pointed out there is a danger that the wing could still pass the test even though they break the height regulation while in use, but if you can’t measure it statically its hard to ban or rule as illegal. This puts the other teams in a difficult position, do they waste resources on it? knowing its only the test deficiencies that retain its legality, and the test loop hole might now be closed. Tricky.

  11. What a scam. Now that Mclaren have been caught up in both championships, the flexi wings have no benefits for the FIA anymore and now that drivers and teams are bunched up at the top of both classifications we can return to a level playing field by eventually enforcing what has been illegal for a while. Fans who understand (a little) about F1 are being robbed for the sake of the masses who don’t have a clue and think it’s a tight championship when in fact it’s being massively manipulated by the powers that be to maximise revenue. I thought I was cycnical but I am now convinced it’s a fraud.

    1. outstanding. In a story that has absolutley nothing to do with McLaren or any sort of conspiracy, someone has worked thought of a McLaren related conspiracy.

      You must be some kind of genius.

      1. Not really McLaren related – more Bernie/money rules F1 cynical. I couldn’t help thinking this either, although I think it is more likely inertia and the summer break coming up.

      2. And you must be a thicko. The fact that it’s Mclaren is incidental, it could have been any other teams. If you can’t see that in my post, then frankly, I must be a genius…compared to you anyway.
        See bosyber’s reply as it may also help your 2 brain cells to work. Cheers. Nick.

    2. @NICK,

      There are some strange things that go on in F1…. This in my opinion is not one of them…

      Or perhaps the FIA were also involved in making Sutil and Kubica crash and perhaps an FIA official quickly loosened Rosbergs wheel nut before he left the pit box and perhaps the FIA used some hacking tech to slow vettels car down before the restart and disengage Hamiltons gearbox (Note I would have included the Schumacher Barichello incident but we have seen Schumacher do this sort of thing so often that it was clearly his own doing). It all added up to great (although worrying) viewing.

  12. adamcooperf1 tweet earlier today: BTW, I found out that the FIA decreed Vettel was 110m, or about 22 car lengths, behind Webber. More than double the limit…

    He was really sleeping if the team didn’t tell him to back up so much (and then someone there was sleeping instead of checking the new SC car rules).

    So where was this, does anyone know? Was it on the straight on the lap before the SC came in, with SC and Webber far on the straight while Vettel hung back before the final corner?

    1. I think it is measured from the first safety car line. Even the Christian Horner said that the drivers and teams are made aware of this particular rule before every race so Vettel should not really have needed telling. However I am surprised that the team did not radio to him. Perhaps they were thinking he would speed up before the restart.

      1. i think the front car can start to accelerate once the safety car has left the track.
        if thats the case then Vettels was way behind at that point.
        here is a Pic of the safety car leaving and were is Vettel.

      2. As I understand it his radio had failed…

        1. I still don’t understand what the radio failing has to do with Vettel ending up too far behind the safety car. He’s got eyes, doesn’t he? How is it he’s not using them to gauge his distance to the safety car, instead of the radio? Or rather, how does he manage to gauge his distance to the safety car with his radio? And why didn’t anyone question this when he made this claim?

          I’m not saying I am firmly behind this thought, but perhaps he _was_ given an order to give Webber space and _then_ the radio failed. And he panicked, unsure how much space he should give or he got distracted trying to get the radio to work again and took his eyes off the road.

  13. The FIA can outlaw the Red Bull front wing from dragging on the ground but is there anything that can prevent Vettel’s bottom lip from doing it?

    1. If Keith has a best post of the year award, I vote for yours.

  14. If the wings break the rules then there must be some punishment. However, how bloody long has it taken? The RBR has had this since China apparently. Yes, it’s illegal and they were wrong but really the FIA and the tests were too thick to notice which has allowed certain team(s) to have a huge advantage all season. With the factory shut down it’s going to potentially really hurt RBR and Ferrari too. That may be deserved but it’s taken the FIA months to act against the blindingly obvious.

    1. I do agree that if it is found that a team has purposefully tried to circumvent tests then they should be punished. However it would be quite hard to prove that is was purposeful and also other teams have not been punished in the past (notably ferrari) so I can’t see that it would be fair to start punishing them now half way through the season.

    2. They defiantly did NOT have it a Canada, I’ve re-watched the GP and took note of the RBR front wing it was not flexing, not visually anyway. The after China story I keep hearing is more smoke and mirrors to justify the illegal wing, i.e its been like it for ever… but it hasn’t 3-4 races at most.

  15. How likely is i that the flexible wing will be outlawed?

    Does anyone have any evidence that this is happening?

    1. The FIA have said that they are making the test more stringent in order to prevent any over flexing. If they get the tests right then I think we can expect the flex-wings to be fail the test and therefore be banned.

      1. As the new limits allow even greater flexing, I expect the opposite! But we’ll see, all seems like a piece of Bernie engineering to me ;p

      2. Having read Patrick Head’s description, i’m now not so sure! Still think it’s championship gerrymandering… mass dampers anyone?

    2. HewisLamilton
      2nd August 2010, 16:18

      I don’t think any front wings are going to be outlawed. The FIA test is definately being altered to ensure that a higher force on the wing will not allow it to flex.

      It seems that the “wing is going to be deemed illegal in Belgium” is based on the speculation of the outcome of a more stringent flex test and people who want it to be deemed illegal feel it will fail.

  16. I think that this story will end up like the mass dampers controversy. The teams won’t be allowed to use flexible wings anymore, but in my opinion there won’t be any punishment either.

    Also I like how some people think flexible wings are some kind of magic item that would finally explain why the Red Bull’s are so much faster than anyone. The wings are just one part of the car. The RB is a fantastic piece of engineering, and it most certainly doesn’t need special wings to go faster than anyone.

    1. I agree the red bull is a great car design. However the flexible front wings are thought to be worth up to a second per lap so that would explain why they are so far ahead. Take that Second away and you are looking at a much much smaller performance gap.

    2. That remains to be seen, doesn’t it!

      1. Indeed, However even if they drop off by around a second in the next race I am not sure we will know if the wing, floor or nose or all 3 together was the component producing the performance as I am sure it is unlikely that we will be told if any of their components fail the tests.

  17. “At the moment if you look at the front wing endplates they have to be 85mm above the bottom of the plank” Whitmarsh.

    “Every millimeter is about a point of downforce at the front, and it also improves the rear…..So 25-30mm of vertical lowering of the endplates is worth a second per lap” Whitmarsh 1st August 2010.

    If he is correct that could explain where the extra second in the gap and Mclaren has come from (although there was always going to be a bigger gap in Hungary). Even if it half what he says its still worth half a second per lap, so if you believe Whitmarsh it is a ‘magic item’

    1. whoops, that should of been ‘ extra second in the gap between RBR and Mclaren has come from’

    2. The problem is, there wasn’t a second difference between Webber and Vettel’s qualifying laps at Silverstone.

      I think the advantage may be exagerated a little by Martin here.

  18. Is it possible to get some clarity on this here without team bias?

    Apologies to others who may have made similar points but here goes:

    Having read the pertinent regulations it seems absolutely clear to me that the legal requirement, and therefore the ‘legality’ of the wing, is determined by whether the wing deviates it’s height from the ground respective to the ‘sprung part of the car’. In other words the wing height is fixed by that relationship and must not move independently (although some defined, minimal distortion is permissable).

    Therefore, to be legal, any design must have compliance with this regulation as it’s objective.

    The test applied to determine if the wing meets this criterion is defined separately and it is clearly stated that the test may be changed if proved inadequate to prevent violation of the main regulation.

    Therefore passing the test does not automatically mean that the part is legal. If subsequent evidence shows that, in use, the part violates the primary regulation then it is, ipso facto, not legal.

    The argument that “It passed the test so how were we to know it was not legal?” fails on the question of design objective, on which the question of penalties or otherwise may also depend.

    If the objective was to pass the test while circumventing the primary regulation then, no matter how ingenious, this could well be construed as cheating since it would be a case of a deliberate attempt to mask the contravention of a regulation.

    This differs from the case of the MacLaren F-Duct and the Brawn Double Diffuser which were judged to be the exploitation of a loophole in the primary regulations rather than a deliberate, masked contravention.

    Having said that, I think it unlikely that the FIA would take the controversial step of retro-actively applying any penalty to RedBull should the wing be declared illegal.

    1. I completely agree.

      Unfortunatly F1 is so competetive that to gain an advantage over the rest of the field rules need to be exploited to their limit.

      As a result it often comes down to different interpretations of the rules and leads to a legal dispute to clarify the intention of them. Once a ruling is made then the issue is clear.

      If teams were penalised for running components that are subsequntly banned, we would be in a situation where championships are decided in the court room not the race track.

      If a breach of the rules is clear, then stewards will impose a penalty at the race weekend prior to a race, not after it.

    2. You are correct in your thinking and as I pointed out in a previous reply, I do think this sort of thing should be punished, but only if it can be proved that the team did it to purposefully circumvent the tests. It would be very hard to prove it as the team could easily say that they tested it to the same standards as the FIA and found it to pass and therefore were not to know any different prior to submitting it to the FIA. Also other teams have done this in the past and not been punished so it would be hard on Red Bull if they were to be. (Although as some have pointed out, BAR were punished for trying a similar tactic although you could argue that it was easier to prove that they did that on purpose).

      You really have to blame the FIA though as it the test should have been improved earlier.

      I personally think that there are far too many regulations regarding car design leading to clone cars. But if there are rules then they need to be enforced. I am not a massive fan of big punishments though as I love to see new ideas on cars and I do not want the engineers to be put off trying new things.

    3. Firstly, there’s no such thing as a wing that doesn’t move. I made this point higher up, that Ferrari have twice made the point to the FIA in the past that there are no absolutes and the FIA have agreed and decided in their favour. Therefore all wings move to some degree, even if a microscopic amount, and therefore the primary regulation that there must be no ‘movement’ cannot be separated from the testing criterion used to define said ‘movement.’ The required testing criterion only measures the degree of distortion on the wing’s extremities, and the Red Bull passes.

      Also, is the definition of ‘wing’ clear? Forgetting the ‘absolutes’ argument, not all of the wing moves. Do the rules say the wing, the whole wing and nothing but the wing? No. So Red Bull can rightly argue that as the only tests are testing the extremities, and the centre of the wing does not move, therefore the wing is not technically moving only flexing at the extremities within acceptable limits.

      So by that understanding it is legal. But of course… a better lawyer would ‘prove’ what I’ve said to be wrong, ferrari only used to win because their lawyer is better than McLaren’s… (Better: more effective, more snake-like, more evil… ;p)

      I don’t think it’s a masked anything, because it’s patently obvious, it’s just another loophole due to lack of definition of what constitutes the wing, what constitutes movement, and under what circumstances distortion is allowed. Seems very similar to the f-duct issue to me.

  19. MSC up to his old tricks. Can’t help wondering: German driver, German team – was he just following (team?) orders?

  20. I think it is a bad decision by FIA to change their own testing regulations midway through the season. I can foresee Ferrari and Red Bull asking for one extra “testing day” since they want to test new front wings which comply with the now stricter rules, and FIA cannot obviously say no, since they are the one changing their own rules and inconveniencing the teams. Who knows what all kind of parts they might test on that 1 day!!

    For that matter, I am not even sure if the stricter test are going to find the Ferrari and Red Bull wings to be illegal in the first place. Remember, the tests are done by applying static load on the front wings and test their deflection. This static load, FIA believes, mimics the downforce the front wing is subjected to. For all you know, Ferrari and RedBull might have a system by which the front wing lowers only in case of a dynamic load (such as in case of a fast-moving F1 car). This will still keep the wings within regulations leaving other teams no choice but to copy them.

    As a fan of Formula One and its cutting-edge technology, I hope this is what happens, that everyone is forced to copy them and not ban a smart invention.

    1. Yes, the new test should not be just straight down. This does not account for a twisting or shifting effect from the total vector of aerodynamic loading. Also the wing endplate could be perfectly rigid and still bow and the leading edge to create a diffuser effect. The FIA is not smarter than Newey and I hope for their sake that the Mercedes teams get to work on their own drooping-twisting wings as soon as possible. RBR will not be standing still and will ensure that the new test is mooted as well. You cannot build up a brand new CF part in a couple days and they need to get cracking.

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