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Whitmarsh wants wing ruling

McLaren and Mercedes have called for assurance that so-called 'flexi-wings' will be permitted long-term before embarking on a development programme.
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has confirmed that he will be seeking clarification on the legality of the front wings currently being employed by rivals Ferrari and Red Bull after they claimed the first two rows of the grid in Hungary.

While RBR counterpart Christian Horner insists that the wings have been passed for use by the FIA scrutineers - and called on McLaren to follow the official channels if he has a problem with them - Whitmarsh claims that he has no plans to protest if he can get the governing body to confirm whether or not the designs, which appear to flex at speed, before the Woking team spends money developing its own version.

"We are asking for a clarification on what is permissible here," he confirmed to reporters after qualifying at the Hungaroring, "It's well known that if you can get the front wing end-plates close to the ground, there's a substantial performance advantage [and] the FIA has got to take a view of what is acceptable."

Whitmarsh sparked Horner's ire when he referred to McLaren as the best of the 'fixed wing' cars in qualifying after Lewis Hamilton managed fifth on the grid in Budapest, but lapped nearly two seconds slower than poleman Sebastian Vettel. The FIA, however, passed both the RB6 and Ferrari's F10 legal after the wings passed mandatory static load tests ahead of last weekend's German Grand Prix and again in Hungary.

"Do I think that they are right to be flexing to that extent?" Whitmarsh asked, "No, I don't, but I am not the rule maker or interpreter. They passed scrutineering so they must be legal, mustn't they."

Ross Brawn, who won last year's championships with his own team and now heads up the Mercedes 'works' effort, has also said that he wants to know whether or not the wings will be allowed to continue.

"What we are asking, before we all go off and have a massive development programme, is whether [race director] Charlie [Whiting] is going to change the rules before we all get there?" he explained, "I think observation of video and stills shows that Red Bull, as the prime case, have managed to set their cars up to run the front wings a lot lower to the ground than perhaps ourselves or McLaren.

"When it is demonstrated, you start to think of all the ways you can achieve it and I think, for the latter part of this year and for next year, we will all be doing the same. So we just want to make sure Charlie is comfortable with it."




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Alan D - Unregistered

August 01, 2010 12:22 PM

Sunny, the wing has not been declared legal by the FIA. It has passed the stewards examination. Lots of things pass static scrutineering and are later declared illegal, e.g. Ferrari's original flexi wing, Benneton's mass damper, etc. See F1 Tech Regs: 3.17.8 In order to ensure that the requirements of Article 3.15 (rigidity requirements) 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. It appears the RBR wing was scraping the floor yesterday. That would be a clear breach of 3.15 and should be clarified.

irlirie69

August 01, 2010 5:39 PM

McLaren, pull your heads out. They've been on the back foot of development since Hakkinen retired, they always seem to be playing "catch up." Please correct me if I am wrong, but hasn't downforce been McLaren's main problem post Adrian Newey? Red Bull's cars (specifically the nose area and the rear body work) have more contrast in their design as well. The air flowing over the bodywork has to travel faster compared to McLaren's' design, which will also create more downforce. Ferrari seems to have copied the front of the Red Bull design as well.



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