FIA tests against 'Flexwings' start today: What are the implications for Red Bull?

15-06-2021 10:54
F1 News
FIA tests against 'Flexwings' start today: What are the implications for Red Bull?

As of today the new rear wing test is valid for the Formula 1 teams. With this the discussion about the so called 'Flexwings' should finally be over. The question is what effect it will have on the performance on track.

The 'Flexwings

Since the Spanish Grand Prix F1 has had a continuous discussion about 'Flexwings'. Mercedes publicly stated that Red Bull Racing's rear wing would bend too much during a lap. This would give Red Bull an advantage on the straight because the rear wing is lower and creates less drag, without losing downforce in the corners.

Red Bull, like other teams under a magnifying glass, just passed the FIA tests. These are tests in which, from a stationary position, vertical and horizontal pressure is exerted on the rear wing, with a maximum of 3 millimetres of movement allowed. The RB16B passes this test, but images clearly show that the rear wing moves more.

FIA introduces new tests

Article 3.8 of the Technical Regulations states that parts affecting the aerodynamics of the car may not move. With the tests the FIA checks if this is the case, but in Spain it became clear that these tests are apparently not sufficient. Therefore the FIA has introduced new tests from the French Grand Prix onwards.

These tests, which are valid from June 15th, increase the pressure. Where the vertical pressure on the wing used to be 75kg, it is now 100kg. Horizontal pressure on the wing is now 75kg, up from 50kg previously. In a stationary situation the wing was allowed to move 3 millimetres under this pressure, but now a maximum movement of 1 millimetre is allowed.

Mercedes versus Red Bull Racing

With these new tests the discussion and threats from Mercedes should come to an end. The question is how will the performance change on the track? How will teams like Red Bull, AlphaTauri, Alfa Romeo and Alpine do without their 'Flexwing'. How big was the impact? And what will Red Bull do about Mercedes' front wing now, because anyone who has seen it will also question the FIA's front wing tests.

In an exciting championship teams will be pulling out all the stops to beat each other. Mercedes have perhaps won an important battle with this new test, but their rear wing also moved during the race in Baku. This weekend we will see what impact it has on the teams who had to change their wing, and what they have in store for possible counter-attacks.

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