FIA issue new regulation targeting F1 flexi-wings

Several F1 teams are suspected to be taking advantage of load tests, by finding loopholes to allow flexing for aerodynamic performance

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Motorsport’s governing body, the FIA, will tighten regulations regarding the extent that the front and rear wings on Formula 1 cars can flex from the 2023 Italian Grand Prix.

The FIA believes that several teams have found ways to retain additional flexibility beyond the permitted tolerance, whilst passing the load tests at the same time.

Therefore a technical directive, TD018, will be issued at the Italian GP before being enforced from the Singapore GP and will attempt to close the loopholes teams are suspected to have discovered.

F1 teams will be required to submit their assembly drawings and designs of their front wing and rear wing elements to prove that they are not designed with the ambition of gaining an aerodynamic advantage by flexing.

Teams should submit their drawings and designs by September 8, 2023. If the FIA are not satisfied, then a competitor could be in breach of Article 3.2.2 of F1’s Technical Regulations.

Lewis Hamilton in action at the Dutch GP | Jiri Krenek/ Mercedes

What will be impacted?

The general idea is that assembly designs that take advantage of localised compliance or degrees freedom are not to be permitted. It reinforces Article 3.2.2 which states, “all aerodynamic components or bodywork influencing the car’s aerodynamic performance must be rigidly secured and immobile”.

The key criteria to be banned are as follows:

  1. Wing elements that can translate vertically, longitudinally or laterally relative to the bodywork that they are fixed to.
  2. Wing elements that can rotate relative to the bodywork that they are fixed to, such as rotating around one fixing.
  3. Designs that utilise elastomeric fillets, compliant sections of wing profile or thin flexible laminate at a junction that can either distort, deflect out of plane or twist to permit localised deflection relative to the bodywork the component is attached to.
  4. Designs that utilise ‘soft’ trailing edges to wing elements to prevent ‘localised cracking’ as the result of component assembly deflection.

However, the FIA will continue to allow flexing in the area of the floor assembly, bib bodywork and the opening of a gap to help seal front wing flaps.

Earlier in the 2023 season, it was reported that Aston Martin were instructed to change their front-wings around the time of the Azerbaijan GP alongside other competitors.

Where is the next F1 2023 race?

Max Verstappen bids to break the record for most consecutive wins at the 2023 Italian Grand Prix, which will be held from September 1-3. The world champion is looking for his 10th win in a row.

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