FIA to Ramp Up Wing Flexibility Tests for Spa

Amid illegality claims regarding the front wing designs of Red Bull Racing and Ferrari, the International Automobile Federation (FIA) has decided to ramp up its front wing flexibility tests prior to the upcoming Belgian Grand Prix.

Before the German Grand Prix two weekends ago, Mercedes GP and McLaren Mercedes asked the FIA to look into the front wings of their rivals, as it appeared they were too flexible at high speeds. By lowering more than legal, the front wings would create a greater downforce, leading to much quicker lap times.

However, the FIA investigated the matter closely and evaluated that both cars – RB6 and Ferrari F10 – were legal. The consequence? Red Bull and Ferrari dominated the German and Hungarian races by a long shot – in that order – making it impossible for anyone to even touch them in qualifying or race.

Needless to say, the FIA has now decided to activate Article 3.17.8 of F1's technical regulations, which states that: “In order to ensure that the requirements of Article 3.15 are respected, the FIA reserves the right to introduce further load/deflection tests on any part of the bodywork which appears to be (or is suspected of), moving whilst the car is in motion.”

Article 3.15 states that the bodywork “must be rigidly secured to the entirely sprung part of the car (rigidly secured means not having any degree of freedom)” and “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.”

According to several sources, the current tests involve placing a weight of up to 50 kg on each endplate (corresponding to a 500 Newton force), during which the wing can only move by 10 mm. If Ferrari and Red Bull had passed those tests, it is believed the revamped one, which might see weights of up to 100 kg placed on both end plates, allowing the wing to deflect by only 20 mm, will force the two teams to alter their wing designs.

Speaking about all this controversy after his incredible win at Hungaroring, 33-year old Red Bull driver Mark Webber insisted it's all sour grapes for the rival teams.

Our guys have broken their b***s to design a car in the spirit of the regulations, and every time we are tested by the FIA, we pass. The car has always been passed by the FIA, so when people don't like (what they see on) the stopwatch, they have to justify their own positions in some other teams sometimes, and when there's pressure on people to perform and they're getting destroyed, that's how it is,” said Webber.
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