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F1 discussion

Red Bull’s front wings ”aren’t flexing”

This topic contains 91 replies, has 43 voices, and was last updated by Avatar of Fer no.65 Fer no.65 1 year, 8 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 92 total)
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  • #166695
    Avatar of GeeMac
    GeeMac
    Participant

    As much as I like to have a go at the FIA from time to time, I can’t agree with Ral on this one. The rules say the wing must be able to withstand a load of X kilograms without flexing by mrore than the allowed amount. red Bull’s wing passes the test every time, and speaking as a lawyer that makes it legal in my books.

    The fact that it flexes to the degree it does at high speed while still being able to pass the FIA’s tests is a stroke of genius, and I for one applaud Red Bull for it. The other teams just have to (a) work out how Red Bull are doing it or (b) come up with their own ingenious idea to counter them.

    #166696
    Avatar of Ral
    Ral
    Member

    It is not enough to say, “Aha, that part looks like it’s flexible. Disqualify that car!”

    My point was, they have done exactly that in the past. The Toyota rear wing passed the test (I read somewhere they had been designed for twice the test-load) and they were still deemed illegal on the strength of eye-witness testimonies and because of scratchmarks on the wings as evidence of flexing (sound familiar?). The Ferrari and BMW floors passed the tests and the FIA still banned them, only because McLaren said to the FIA “we could design a floor to flex and still pass the test, this is how we would: do you want us to?”.

    And so my question was and remains: what is different this time around? Because what McLaren said about that floor then, that’s exactly what Brawn, Whitmarsh and Domenicali are saying now. And it’s going to go against everything the FIA and FOTA have been saying about saving money. (/naivety)

    I’m not having a go at the FIA for the sake of having a go. But I am having a go, because they are being inconsistent and there seems to be a distinct lack of F(errari)IA style conspiracy theories going around. Which isn’t to say I believe in this being a conspiracy theory where the FIA is in with Red Bull or whatever, but I do think that the FIA is consciously letting this one slide in the belief that the manufacturers have the know-how and resources to catch up anyway and if they don’t, then at least we’ll have had an “independent team” in the lead for a couple of seasons.

    #166697
    Avatar of Asanator
    Asanator
    Participant

    Sorry Ral, you are wrong. The rules don’t say anything about wings not flexing at all as most things flex a little when enough force is applied to them and as such as long as the car passes the load test it is deemed legal.

    The FIA tests on the flexible front wing are ambiguous in that while they tests the wings for their degree of flexibility under a given load, that test doesnt fully substitute for the forces that act on the wings such as when its on the car at high speed or cornering and different temperatures. That loophole is what the Red Bull team have capitalised on. The FIA doubled the load test on the front wing last year when this first blew up and still the Redbull (and at the time Ferrari) passed all tests and apparently the load was increased again fr the 2011 season. The load test itself even allows for ‘some’ flexing but the wing isn’t allowed to deflect more than 20mm when 100kg of load is applied to it.

    Found it:

    The technical regulations state that a front wing must be no lower than 75mm above the reference plane, which is the lowest point of the car excluding the plank. To check compliance with this rule, 100kg loads are applied to the two ends of the front wing (red arrows) in scrutineering, with movement of no more than 20mm allowed. This year the FIA have brought into force a stricter test in which loads are applied either simultaneously or on one side at a time. Despite controversy about their ‘flexible’ front wing, Red Bull have passed this test, leaving their rivals striving to develop similar solutions. – F1.com

    #166698
    Avatar of Asanator
    Asanator
    Participant

    Again Ral, your point about the Flexible floors is again…um….flawed (no pun intended). The difference between the two situations is that McLaren actually protested the Flexible floors after seeing the Ferrari designs. No-one has officially protested the flexible front wing yet and I think it is largely to do with the fact that no-one quite knows how Redbull are doing it.

    The way to get things banned in F1 is to do exactly what McLaren did with the Floor situation, find out exactly how something is being done, ask the FIA for a clarification (which you are sure will be denied), that clarification is then published to all teams automatically and those with that solution have to remove it.

    #166699
    Avatar of Ral
    Ral
    Member

    The whole article in question, for completeness sake, bolding mine:

    3.15 Aerodynamic influence :

    With the exception of the driver adjustable bodywork described in Article 3.18 (in addition to minimal parts

    solely associated with its actuation) and the ducts described in Article 11.4, any specific part of the car

    influencing its aerodynamic performance :

    2011 F1 Technical Regulations 16 of 73 8 March 2011

    2010 Fdration Internationale de lAutomobile

    - must comply with the rules relating to bodywork ;

    - must be rigidly secured to the entirely sprung part of the car (rigidly secured means not having any

    degree of freedom) ;

    - must remain immobile in relation to the sprung part of the car.

    Any device or construction that is designed to bridge the gap between the sprung part of the car and the

    ground is prohibited under all circumstances.

    No part having an aerodynamic influence and no part of the bodywork, with the exception of the skid block

    in 3.13 above, may under any circumstances be located below the reference plane.

    With the exception of the parts necessary for the adjustment described in Article 3.18, any car system,

    device or procedure which uses, or is suspected of using, driver movement as a means of altering the

    aerodynamic characteristics of the car is prohibited.

    The technical regulations state that a front wing must be no lower than 75mm above the reference plane, which is the lowest point of the car excluding the plank.

    And yet, the front wing is scraping along the asphalt. Seeing as how the plank is meant to be the bit scraping along the asphalt and therefore, following the rule you quoted, should be at least 75mm below the front wing, something is amiss.

    “all things flex a little” has absolutely no bearing on this argument at all. Because RBR are the only team who have a “problem” making their wings not flex. A problem they never had before last year, I might add.

    I don’t mean to troll and put words in your and GeeMac’s mouth, but saying “all things flex under load” makes it sound like you’re trying to argue that RBR are trying their damndest to make their wing not flex, but they just can’t quite seem to get it right. “Sorry mr. scrutineer, we are only an independent fizzy drinks maker, and we seem to have a bit of a problem with our carbon weave manufacturing process. You don’t mind, do you? /puppydog eyes”.

    #166700
    Avatar of AndrewTanner
    AndrewTanner
    Participant

    It really is a minefield all this.

    It’s not as simple as saying that passing the tests equates to not breaking the rules. The rule does not say anything about its application being subject to a test beforehand.

    Ral has kindly pointed out the rule above and this is my interpretation…

    Rigidly secure to me is more about how the device fixes to the car, that terminology seems more geared towards flexing being a result of a pivot or spring type mechanism.

    Remaining immobile in relation to the sprung part of the car is difficult to apply as it depends on relativity which is a difficult value to quantify.

    Applying weight in a test is different to applying pressure on the track.

    Reading the rules and looking at them, the reason why RBR aren’t breaking them is due to there not being a rule which prohibits what they do with the front wing.

    #166701
    Avatar of mervyn
    mervyn
    Member

    Maybe Christian Horner would like to explain how the rake of the car allows the wing to flex across its width?

    #166702
    Avatar of Ral
    Ral
    Member

    Remaining immobile in relation to the sprung part of the car is difficult to apply as it depends on relativity which is a difficult value to quantify.

    Applying weight in a test is different to applying pressure on the track.

    Reading the rules and looking at them, the reason why RBR aren’t breaking them is due to there not being a rule which prohibits what they do with the front wing.

    No, it isn’t difficult to apply, at least in this particular case. As Asanator pointed out, the bottom of the front wing is meant to be 75mm above the reference plane, underneath which the plank is mounted. As the RBR wing passes the test, we can safely assume that when stationary that is actually where the wing is positioned. However, at speed, the wing scrapes along the asphalt. No matter which way you wiggle, that means it’s moved down. To below the reference plane. Because that’s where the plank is mounted. The plank being the bit that’s designed to be scraping along the asphalt.

    Let me repeat the bit about how far down it’s moved to be scraping along the asphalt: below the reference plane. Wait a second..

    No part having an aerodynamic influence and no part of the bodywork, with the exception of the skid block

    in 3.13 above, may under any circumstances be located below the reference plane.

    Let me add one more thing. Although I have, and still am, quite vehemently arguing that RBR are breaking the rules and therefore have an unfair and undue advantage over other teams, I am quite open to arguments proving me wrong. But I have not heard anything that could convince me that I am so far.

    Most people seem to be arguing that the test defines the rule, as opposed to the test testing conformity to the rules. That is a complete non-starter.

    Then there are people who say that you can’t make stuff not flex. To which I say that while that may be true, RBR themselves have pre 2009 season, not had any problems making front wings not flex noticeably. Besides which, it’s not actually an argument either way regarding the legality of what RBR are using. It can’t be, since there is no mention of the rules and how it conforms to the specifics laid out in them.

    And lastly, there seem to be people actually saying that it should be allowed simply because it’s innovative. Now, I agree it’s innovative (and apparently F1 is meant to be all about innovation) as evidenced by the difficulty the other teams are having copying the principle. But that doesn’t mean it’s legal. Or even that RBR are exploiting a loophole. It’s not a loophole. This exact scenario is covered in the rules and has in the past been dealt with. The only thing I don’t understand about this whole situation, is why this hasn’t been dealt with yet.

    #166703
    Avatar of
    Anonymous

    After reading the reports about Red Bull’s flexing wings, I was keen to see how much it could be seen on TV, so I was intently watching in qualifying. Although not easy to see the wing gradually flex down, sure enough, at the end of Malaysia’s long straights, it was easy to see them rise up. BUT, they were not the only ones for whom this happened (Toro Rosso (maybe a given) and Mercedes if I remember rightly, there may have been others too). McLaren’s were rigid though, with no visible movement.

    I agree with the comments above too, how does the rake angle make a front wing, which is supposed to be a certain measurement off the ground ‘appear’ closer? All I can see is it makes the lower section of the chassis (the ‘tongue’) appear to be very close to the track.

    #166704
    Avatar of Icthyes
    Icthyes
    Participant

    The reference plane clause is what does it for me. So Horner basically admits his team is braking that rule, though not by flexing.

    It perplexes me that there hasn’t been an official complaint when the case is so obvious.

    #166705
    Avatar of Prisoner Monkeys
    Prisoner Monkeys
    Participant

    Maybe Christian Horner would like to explain how the rake of the car allows the wing to flex across its width?

    What, and tell all the other teams how they can eat into Red Bull’s advantage?

    I don’t think so.

    #166706
    Avatar of damonsmedley
    damonsmedley
    Participant

    I agree with PM’s first post. This flexi-wing thing is becoming incredibly tedious.

    #166707
    Avatar of Victorface
    Victorface
    Member

    This discussion is tedious and brings out the pedantry in all of us. I will indulge in this pedantry. I feel that most of the attention toward the Red Bull front wing has been raised by Martin Whitmarsh (or internet forum people), which makes sense because Whitmarsh has the most to gain if Red Bull gets neutered in any way. Obviously it is upsetting to other teams when one team is especially dominant. Even more upsetting when the dominance is in aero alone and not a combination of drivers, tires, engines, or aero. I accept it as a natural law of F1 that there will be dominant teams, and some will accuse and protest. Benetton’s launch and traction control in 1994, McLaren’s rear brake pedal in 1998 (though these examples are not perfectly analogous).

    Ral, you are certainly very passionate in your argument. You cite the words of the regulations, but you have failed to cite Article 3.17.1, the article which actually concerns front wing flexibility. The rule is “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.” This is the test. When the force is applied, if it is 19 mm of flex, it is legal. If flexes 21 mm, it is illegal. Simple as that. Mind you, this was upped from 10 mm for 500 N, likely to make sure teams (really just Red Bull) weren’t making front wings that flexed at an increasing rate. Above 1000 N however, this is no regulation. Put enough force on the front wing on any car in the paddock and it will deflect. The Red Bulls front wing just generates more force than any other.

    The FIA scrutineers do the measuring. The FIA makes the rules, and the FIA enforces the rules. 3.15 might say one thing, but it is enforced by article 3.17. Red Bull’s cars have passed the test, and their results stand. Teams which don’t pass the test do not keep their results. In the 2009 Australian Grand Prix, the rear wing of the Toyota TF109 failed the test after qualifying (2 mm for 200 N) and they lost their grid positions and started the race from the pit lane with newer, more rigid rear wings.

    I don’t believe Red Bull are cheating. Any team can invest the time and resources to do what Red Bull are doing. They are pushing the rules to the limits. That is not to say that the rule is absolute and foolproof.

    #166708
    Avatar of BasCB
    BasCB
    Participant

    Actually Ral you have more or less hit the nail on the head, when you refer about the floor and McLaren blocking it that way.

    If only one of the other teams would subject a wing to the FIA that did exactly the same as the Red Bull one, explain how it does that and ask for compliance, the FIA would likely adjust the test to block them from using it.

    Fact remains thought, that no team so far has been able to replicate this on the same level as Red Bull have managed, making it impossible to react that way. For now, Red Bull passes all the tests, so they comply with the rules.

    Other teams can try and copy it, or find out exactly how to do this and measure differently. Or they go down different routes of being faster.

    #166709
    Avatar of Ral
    Ral
    Member

    but you have failed to cite Article 3.17.1, the article which actually concerns front wing flexibility. The rule is “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.” This is the test.

    I did not because, in light of this, I do not think it matters as much as people seem to insist it should:

    The wing is scraping along the asphalt. Which means it’s moved to below the reference plane. Which is where it’s not allowed to be. The end.

    I don’t really have a dog in this fight anymore. I used to be a Raikkonen and Ferrari fan and after the unceremonious and frankly rude way Ferrari dumped Raikkonen, I can’t bring up quite the same amount of enthusiasm for Ferrari that I used to. What I’m saying is, I don’t mind if RBR continue to dominate McLaren and Ferrari. But I do mind the FIA being inconsistent and requiring teams to perform legal trickery and sleight of hand before considering actually doing anything about things that normal people can see on their TVs at home are not compliant with the rules.

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