Flexi-wing saga returns as FIA prepare to clamp down hard on illegal tricks

Jamie Woodhouse
Zandvoort: Drivers respond to red flag during Dutch Grand Prix weekend. Penalty points

Zandvoort: Drivers respond to red flag during Dutch Grand Prix weekend.

The FIA has issued a fresh technical directive to the Formula 1 teams over suspicions of flexing trickery being used for aerodynamic gains, according to a report.

This has been a long-standing saga in the world of Formula 1 as teams look to find loopholes in the regulations to allow for flexibility in front and rear wing elements, the FIA now taking a further stand over apparent suspicions that the rules are being bent.

The teams found out about these new measures ahead of the Dutch Grand Prix, with the race now on to ensure compliance for the front and rear wings on their challengers.

FIA out to combat flexi-wing trickery

As reported by Motorsport.com, the FIA has issued technical directive TD018 as a means of better regulating flexible bodywork beyond the load tests already in place, due to the alleged belief that some teams have found ways to create flexible front and rear wing elements which can evade attention in these tests.

Teams have been reminded that they risk being in breach of Article 3.2.2 of the Technical Regulations, should any component influential on aerodynamic performance not be “rigidly secured and immobile with respect to their frame of reference”.

The FIA has stepped up its surveillance by reportedly now requiring teams to submit for scrutineering the assembly drawings and cross sections to demonstrate how the front and rear wings elements are respectively attached to the nose, rear-wing endplates, pylons and rear-impact structure.

September 8 is the deadline for all teams to submit the required drawing, with their compliant designs then required for use as of the Singapore Grand Prix from September 15-17.

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This technical directive comes just a few weeks after the FIA’s senior race director advisor Herbie Blash claimed flexi-wings remain an area of concern in a Formula 1 landscape where exploiting grey areas is now far harder.

“I think the only area that I would question today is maybe the flexing of the wing elements, that however much weight the FIA have to put on the wings, when you actually look on a TV on an onboard shot, and you can actually see the wings move,” said Blash on the Beyond the Grid podcast.

“And I remember I used to sit there with a ruler trying to work out on the screen and Race Control how far that front flap is going down or that rear wing is moving.”

This weekend’s Italian Grand Prix will be the final round that any teams testing the boundaries of the rules will be able to use their current designs.

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