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Bell slams FIA ruling on McLaren wing as 'a complete joke'

Whilst acknowledging that his team will not protest the ruling, Renault technical director Bob Bell has nonetheless slated the FIA as 'irresponsible' for risking another 'arms race' by declaring that the controversial rear wing innovation on McLaren-Mercedes' MP4-25 is legal
Whilst most of the paddock accepted the FIA's ruling that McLaren's contentious rear wing design on its MP4-25 is legal, it seems not everybody is quite as willing to let the matter rest – with Renault F1 technical director Bob Bell slating the judgement as 'ridiculous', 'irresponsible' and 'a complete joke'.

The concept – which incorporates a special aerodynamic device whereby the driver, when inside the cockpit, is able to use his knee to close an air vent on the left of the car to stall the rear wing and in so doing reduce drag and improve straight-line speed, before opening it again so as not compromise downforce through the corners – was given the green light by the governing body during a technical inspection on Thursday in Sakhir [see separate story – click here], ahead of this weekend's F1 2010 curtain-raising Bahrain Grand Prix in the desert kingdom.

The decision has seemingly assuaged the likes of Red Bull Racing and Ferrari – who brought the matter to light in the first place – but not others, with Bell maintaining that whilst deemed 'legal' according to the letter of the law the, inlet is nonetheless against the spirit of the rules and talks held between members of FOTA's Technical Working Group.

The Englishman went on to warn that by approving it, the FIA risks pre-empting another 'arms race' in the top flight whereby rival teams seek now to hastily come up with their own interpretations of the various loopholes in the regulations in an age that is ostensibly committed to cost-cutting rather than big-spending.

“I totally disagree with the FIA's view on it,” the man who acted as stand-in team principal at Renault last year – following the departure in disgrace of Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds over 'Singapore-gate' – told the BBC. “It's fundamentally clear in all the discussions that have taken place over many years that the sport did not want stallable rear wings, whether it was through physical deflection or any other mechanism.

“The fact that somebody has turned up and just driven a horse and cart straight through the rule that teams cannot use moveable aerodynamic devices on their cars, through the spirit of the regulations, the intent of the regulations and everybody's understanding, to me is just a complete joke.

“It may conform to the letter of the rules, but I don't think in an instance like this that that's sufficient, because there has been plenty of precedent for concepts where it has just quite plainly been said that the intention with the sport is to prevent stalling of rear wings – and this flies in the face of that. It is fundamentally illegal.

“I think it's ridiculous in this era when we're all trying to save money. We're restricted in the number of people we can bring to the track, mechanics are working ridiculous hours at nights to prepare the car, and there we are, we've just opened another arms race that's going to cost everybody a lot of money. It's just a nonsense. The FIA has acted irresponsibly; the governing body needs to be a lot stronger with these things.

Despite threats of a further protest against the FIA's decision, Renault has subsequently confirmed that it will accept the ruling.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
19.02.2010 Jerez, Spain, McLaren Mercedes, MP4-25, detail - Formula 1 Testing, Jerez, Spain -
19.02.2010 Jerez, Spain, McLaren Mercedes, MP4-25, detail - Formula 1 Testing, Jerez, Spain
Bob Bell, Managing Director, Renault F1 Team
Fernando Alonso arrives in style to officially open the museum complex devoted to his racing career
Mercedes, Red Bull
Nico Rosberg - Mercedes W06
daniel ricciardo (aus), red bull, F1 Austria test [Credit: XPB]
Marco Wittmann (GER), Toro Rosso, F1 Austria test [Credit: XPB]
Fernando Alonso - McLaren-Honda MP4-30
Nico Rosberg - Mercedes W06
Nico Rosberg - Mercedes W06
Valtteri Bottas - Williams-Mercedes FW37
Valtteri Bottas - Williams-Mercedes FW37
Valtteri Bottas - Williams-Mercedes FW37
Pascal Wehrlein - Force India-Mercedes VJM08
Antonio Fuoco - Ferrari SF15-T
Esteban Ocon - Force India-Mercedes VJM08
Esteban Ocon - Force India-Mercedes VJM08

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