FIA found ‘no monkey business’ in rear wing tests

Date published: January 19 2022 - Michelle Foster

Mercedes W12 rear wing. November 2021

After a season in which accusations were thrown around about teams’ rear wings, the FIA is taking steps to further improve its rear flexi-wing checks for 2022.

With Mercedes and Red Bull locked in a tense battle for last year’s championship titles both teams resorted to accusing the other of running illegal parts, wings being the main focus.

While Mercedes questioned Red Bull’s front wing at the start of the championship, resulting in Red Bull and a few other teams having to make changes to their wings, it was the Milton Keynes squad that was throwing around the accusations in the latter part of the season.

Team boss Christian Horner told the media that the advantage that Mercedes’ rear wing gives them is “hidden in the way that it operates”.

Adding that Mercedes’ performance had “gone up exponential”, he said: “I think that obviously concerns us, and that’s why Adrian [Newey, chief technical officer] and Paul [Monaghan, chief engineer} have been discussing it with the FIA.”

He even went as far as to show photographs of the Mercedes rear wing and score marks that he believed pointed to an outlawed trick.

In response the FIA introduced a new rear wing test, one that was first used at the penultimate grand prix of the season in Qatar.

Mercedes W12 rear wing. Sao Paulo November 2021

But while the FIA found nothing untoward with Mercedes’ wing, F1’s head of single-seater matters Nikolas Tombazis says they improve the team ahead of the 2022 championship.

“In Qatar, there was no monkey business identified, or anything like that,” Tombazis told Motorsport.com.

“We didn’t find something that was concerning.

“It was not a bad test, but it can be improved.

“So we’re thinking how to maybe make some improvements to it for next year [2022], potentially.”

One area of improvement that the FIA are considering is how to apply forced to the main plane of the rear wing in order to potentially expose any tricks.

“The reason the test is not so good is technically the trailing edge of the main plane is going quite upwards,” he added.

“If you load it in the downward direction, it’s quite stiff, so we want to manage to load it in a direction that is normal.

 

“But then it’s a bit more difficult because we can’t use gravity. So we need to fine tune it, and it needs a bit more give to be prepared for it. It’s not impossible, of course.”

 

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