Introducing TD039 at the Singapore Grand Prix, Anthony Davidson says he’s heard rumours some teams have been using their skid blocks to run their cars lower to the ground.
And with Formula 1 running ground-effect aerodynamic cars, that means they were able to gain additional downforce.
Last time out in Singapore, motorsport’s governing body introduced not one but two Technical Directives.
Anthony Davidson: These rumours are out there, they don’t come from thin air
The first technical directive was aimed at flexible wings, the FIA taking steps to clamp down on that, while the second related to the floors and eradicating the tricks teams are said to have been playing.
In the latter, the FIA outlined specific points regarding the planks and skid blocks with suggestions some could be using insulating material between the chassis and the skid block while there was also talk of fastening screws that protrude slightly only to disappear into the plank when they come into contact with the tarmac thus creating a dampening effect.
But while Davidson couldn’t give specifics, acknowledging that what he’d heard were only rumours, he reckons there could be some truth to it as they “don’t come from thin air.”
Speaking on the Sky F1 Podcast, the former F1 driver turned pundit said: “There are rumours going around – I’m not suggesting for a second that this is Red Bull – but there are rumours the teams were using the titanium skip blocks in the underfloor of the car in a way that would, I don’t know the exact technicalities to it, but would move and allow the teams to run their cars as they were.
“And as we know, in this ground-effect era if you can run the floor closer to the ground you’re gonna get a bit more suction, then the car will have effectively more downforce and happy days, because it’s not a drag penalty by gaining downforce from the floor of the car as much as you would from a wing.
“So you know if things like this are going on with different teams up and down the field, it must be a little bit of a negative impact. But, like I say, I’m not pointing fingers at anybody. It’s what I’ve heard, I’ve read it online as well.
“These rumours are out there, they don’t come from thin air. The regulation wouldn’t have changed if the FIA didn’t feel like this was going on.
“I believe it has been going on, they’re clamping down on it, and let’s see if there are any shake-ups. But I don’t think it’s going to really affect Red Bull’s stranglehold on the competition in those higher speeds circuit.”
However, any hope from rivals that the TDs had impacted Red Bull came to naught in Japan where normal services were resumed as Max Verstappen dominated the practice sessions.