Front wing flex test “trying to stop us” – Vettel

2013 Australian Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013Sebastian Vettel says the new restrictions on flexing front wings introduced this year were aimed at curtailing Red Bull’s superiority.

“I think most of the changes to the front wing came in trying to stop us so something that we maybe did better or that the others couldn?t do and then there?s just one more thing, so it?s not a new situation,” said Vettel during today’s press conference.

Team mate Mark Webber played down the effect the rules change would have on the team’s performance: “We?ve had a lot of different front wing regulations in the last few years.”

“It’s normal in Formula One that we have to adjust technically around new rule changes, sometimes within the season itself, not just at the start of the season: January, February. We obviously make the car fit within those regulations and we will have to adjust the car around the findings of how that front wing will form in those new regulations, so that?s fine.”

Webber added he wasn’t concerned about the ban on ‘active’ Double DRS, which also removed one of Red Bull’s assets from 2012:

“In terms of the DRS, it?s not a big thing for us. I think that we have been OK in qualifying in the past, also quite strong in races so the effect of the DRS, the delta of the DRS, all those type of things which is not something that we?re having a huge eye on, we?re not disappointed that the DRS is less in qualifying.

“For example, Sebastian and I are very happy, we pushed quite hard to have DRS dropped down in terms of volume on Saturday afternoon so we?re quite relaxed with that one.”

2013 F1 season


Browse all 2013 F1 season articles

Image ?? Red Bull/Getty

Advert | Go Ad-free

130 comments on Front wing flex test “trying to stop us” – Vettel

  1. Brace (@brace) said on 14th March 2013, 16:28

    On one side of the argument, to put it brutally, since everyone is innocent until proven guilty, this is like committing a murder, but getting away with it because you are too smart for the methods police are using to find evidence that you did something which law states is illegal.

    On the other side, since it’s impossible to have absolutely 0% flexing, than law states that it’s becoming illegal only at the point where it flexes beyond what is expected when subjected to the forces defined in the flexing test parameters.

    Than, there’s the third side, which could argue that if Red Bull themselves knew what they were doing and wing flexing comprehensively wasn’t accidental, but that they were intentionally circumventing regulations, they could be punished after being found out. It’s a common case with so called bad business practices and similar.

    • @brace

      if Red Bull themselves knew what they were doing and wing flexing comprehensively wasn’t accidental, but that they were intentionally circumventing regulations, they could be punished after being found out.

      Almost certainly it was intentional, but that doesn’t mean to say they broke any rules. They passed the static load tests just as everyone else did, so there’s nothing to prosecute them for.

      I do feel the murder analogy isn’t exactly just though, given that loophole exploitation is a foundation on car design and the killing of people isn’t a foundation in social interactions.

      • HxCas (@hxcas) said on 14th March 2013, 19:57

        The main reason why that analogy is not accurate is that the law explicitly states that you may not kill other people, which you clearly did in your analogy. The rules state that the wings must not flex under a standard load test of a certain weight, which RBR’s wing didn’t do.
        Killing break the law, the wing doesn’t.
        I’m still amazed that there is even discussion about this. There was a loophole – they took advantage of it – loophole was closed – they stop abusing it. Case closed.

  2. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 14th March 2013, 16:39

    The various comments comparing Red Bull pushing the limit of the technical rules to drug violations and murders are so overblown and crass it makes it impossible for me to have any sympathy for the claim that Red Bull have done anything wrong.

    • @keithcollantine +1! For a start, you are exactly killing someone by using a flexible front wing. For seconds, loopholes are one of the key elements in gaining an advantage, so I see absolutely no problem with it. Thirdly, people are then jumping to the conclusion that RBR are immoral without first comsiderig the fact every other team that has ever been successful has probably at least once in their history exploited a loophole in the regulations.

      I have a feeling this simply boils down to a petty hatred and jealousy almost…

      • Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained ..

        It’s probably a violation of site rules to finish that thought. But I do get the impression that many of the people going on about the illegality of the RB front wing have simply never bothered to read the F1 Technical Regulations, which are freely available online.

        The front wings, as bodywork, are covered by section 3:17, Bodywork Flexibility, which is written with the assumption that the bodywork (including the wings) will flex and merely places limits on how much.

        Nobody has ever produced one iota of hard evidence to support the case that the RB front wing is now or was in the past in violation of FIA regulations.

      • “you are aren’t

        Exactly @jonsan, which is why in these cases I always quote the technical regulations – that is the simplest way to resolve an argument (you can’t argue with the book).

        For anyone interested, the 2013 technical regulations can be found here.

    • Brace (@brace) said on 14th March 2013, 16:59

      @keithcollantine If you are referring to my comment, I think it was very balanced.
      I’m not suggesting Red Bull did anything even remotely that serious, I’m just using an extreme case to illustrate the point more bluntly.

      I covered two points that are taking only pragmatic evidence into account, and I argued both against and for Red Bull in those two points respectively.

      Then in third point, I noted that there is always an element of intention, which is always hugely influential in real court cases.

      To put it in the most extreme of cases again, just to illustrate the point, going somewhere with an intention of committing murder, and going somewhere and killing someone in an accident will give you two very different punishments in the court of law.

  3. BasCB (@bascb) said on 14th March 2013, 17:05

    Its all well and nice Mr. Vettel, but its nonsense.

    Yes, its pretty normal for the FIA to ban things that up to that point had been legal to stop a team dominating (I would say the exhaust blowing we had last year would be a prime example). But this is not the case with flexing wings, as those have been banned for almost as long as wings exist in the sport.

    The only thing that changed, is that the FIA has taken 3 years to catch up with the teams to stop them from doing something that is clearly not within the rules (flexing as much as its visible to the eye on TV) and improve their tests to be able to prove them illegal.
    It will surely hold back Red Bull, but its been a farce seeing wings bend as much for too long already. And its not as if its only Red Bull who mastered it, McLaren had their wing bending backwards for much of last year too.

    • this is not the case with flexing wings, as those have been banned for almost as long as wings exist in the sport.

      That is simply untrue. Flexing wings are not banned under the 2013 regulations, and they were not banned under the regulations of last year or the year before. I suggest you read the regulations before you comment further on them.

      something that is clearly not within the rules (flexing as much as its visible to the eye on TV)

      The rules last year, and the rules this year, say absolutely nothing about whether or not the wings flexing may be visible on TV.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 14th March 2013, 17:42

        I suggest you read the regulations before you comment further on them.

        Thank you very much for the suggestion @jonsan.

        The rules clearly state that all parts of the car (attached to the so called “sprung part of the car”) must be rigidly fixed and immovable. If it visibly moves around on TV, that is clearly not rigidly fixed, nor immobile.

        As a provision for material never being able to be completely rigid the rules then give a tolerance window, which is what the test measures. The FIA also states that they will change to tolerances and the test, if it appears the test is not working to prevent any bodywork from moving or flexing.

        Please note that I did already read the rules, so keep your smart tips for yourself next time please.

        • @bascb I assume when you say rigid, you mean not moving or flexing at all. Explain how F1 cars can have rigid bodywork, then.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 14th March 2013, 19:11

            @lite992, if you read the whole comment you will see that your question is already answered by the rules quoted.

          • @bascb My question was never answered, and you contradict yourself when replying to Jon. How can you say that bodywork absolutely must remain rigid, and then say that it can flex? In case you didn’t know, for something to be rigid it cannot flex.

        • Then you need to read and understand the rules.

          The front wings on all cars are “fixed and immovable”. That is, they cannot be moved up or down, their angle of attack cannot be changed, etc. But that does NOT mean that the front wings – or other parts of the body – may not deflect under load. There is an entire lengthy section of the rules, section 3.17, full of language like this:

          Bodywork may deflect no more than 20mm vertically when a 1000N load is applied vertically to it 800mm forward of the front wheel centre line and 795mm from the car centre line.

          If your interpretation of the rules was correct, then the entirety of section 3.17 is pointless and wrong. The whole section should be replaced with the words “Bodywork may not deflect under any load”, full stop and end of section.

          But that rather lengthy section is there because your interpretation is wrong. And not “wrong in my opinion” either. Just wrong.

          As a provision for material never being able to be completely rigid the rules then give a tolerance window, which is what the test measures. The FIA also states that they will change to tolerances and the test, if it appears the test is not working to prevent any bodywork from moving or flexing.

          So on the one hand it is not possible for any material to be completely rigid, but on the other hand the FIA states (where do they state this?) that they will change the tests to make the bodywork completely rigid? I don’t think even you can understand your position there.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 14th March 2013, 19:15

            sorry to say so @jonsan, but you clearly did not grasp the way these rules (and many laws too) are drawn up.

            The first part is the general rule that is applicable in a broad sense. Then the provisions in 3.17 describe how in reality the FIA deals with subject in light of inevitably flexing of materials under load.

            Its not a contradiction, its a finetuning needed to work in the real world. Therefore, while bodywork is not allowed to be flexible (or moveable etc.), there is a tolerance applied for flexing in the design of tests to show whether parts comply with 3.15.

          • HxCas (@hxcas) said on 14th March 2013, 20:04

            Its not a contradiction, its a finetuning needed to work in the real world. Therefore, while bodywork is not allowed to be flexible (or moveable etc.), there is a tolerance applied for flexing in the design of tests to show whether parts comply with 3.15.

            And RBR’s wing was repeatedly found to be legal by falling within this ‘tolerance’ range, by the FIA themselves, who definitely understand the rules better than anyone. So I really don’t see what the problem is here.

            They exploited a loophole, and stopped doing so when that loophole was tightened. That really is all that happened.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 15th March 2013, 5:20

            They complain about the FIA tightening the test in a hunt to stop them being fast. That is nonsense, because the FIA only finally made up on their duty to bring a sufficient test to ban something that never complied with the rule.

            In that sense its something quite different from things like banning active suspension or the 3rd brake pedal which were fully and undoubtedly legal in all accounts before the FIA changed the rule to make them not allowed anymore.

  4. chemakal said on 14th March 2013, 17:38

    This is just the FIA trying to cover a loop-hole by RBR… hole that has been open too long. FIA should have acted earlier/stricter in the past seasson.

    After all we had to read last year about Ferrari breaking the spirit of the rules when they decided to change Massa’s gearbox in favour of a better starting pos for ALO… Is it not breakking the spirit of the rules to take advantage of the flexibility of the wings despite passing the tests?

  5. The FIA should hire some of the F1Fanatic users because they obviously know more about the regulations than they do.

  6. Irejag (@irejag) said on 14th March 2013, 18:46

    I am a Red Bull fan, and while I don’t agree with Vettel in particular situation, I can see why he might think the way he is thinking. I think that if it the flexing wing was giving Red Bull that much of an “advantage” yet still legal, then instead of changing the regulations the other teams should just come up with a way to beat them using their own ingenuity. That is my biggest problem with F1 right now. They do not give the teams enough slack to try different things.

  7. markp said on 14th March 2013, 19:53

    Vettel is not moaning he is likely replying to a specific question. if he had started a press conference without a question being asked then that would be moaning. red bull play the rules good on them ferrari used to before that mclaren and willuams dis. when you are winning the default criticism is cheating or not being spirting. rubbish. i hope ferrari are accused all year of cheating as that would mean they are winning and i am sure many of you think the same for your favourite team.

  8. Jason (@jason12) said on 14th March 2013, 21:35

    So Vettel is saying: please don’t improve your tests coz you might catch us?
    Strange….
    These tests are the same for all, improving them can only serve fairness across the grid.

  9. James (@jaymz) said on 15th March 2013, 5:31

    Red Bull are disgusting.

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.