The FIA have rolled out a new technical directive for this weekend’s race in Singapore, and Max Verstappen has indicated how he thinks it’ll affect Red Bull.
A big change for this weekend in Singapore is the introduction of TD018, a technical directive introduced by the FIA as a way of enforcing a rule that has been clarified but is not yet part of the technical regulations – the TD is more of an advisory rather than an outright rule, but provides clarity to the teams on what they should be doing.
TD018 takes aim at the flexibility of components in front and rear wings, namely the possibility of teams exploiting flexibility in the areas where individual elements join together.
How might Red Bull be affected by the technical directive?
As F1’s dominant team, with the Adrian Newey-penned Red Bull RB19 claiming every single win so far in 2023, there’s the obvious question of whether or not Red Bull could find themselves hamstrung by having to make changes to their car.
There hasn’t been any indication that any particular team is being singled out for their interpretation of the regulations, and Max Verstappen has ruled out the possibility that TD018 will have any effect on Red Bull’s competitiveness.
“I don’t think it will. We never really had any flexible front wing or whatever. So I don’t think it will hurt us,” he told media on Thursday in Singapore.
But Verstappen also suggested that this weekend might not see the usual Red Bull dominance. Having already indicated in Monza that he expects the Singapore weekend to be a tougher event for his team, the reigning World Champion explained why.
“I think we just are not as competitive as at other tracks,” he said.
“I think the street circuits are a little bit tougher for our car. I still think that we can do a good job but it will be very tight.”
Going into the weekend with a record-breaking 10 consecutive Grands Prix behind him, the Dutch driver said achieving the historic feat changes nothing in terms of the pressure on him going into the weekend.
“I never really look at the number eight, or nine,” he said.
“I just always want to do the best I can. So, naturally, every single weekend, it’s basically the same amount of pressure you put on yourself to try and get the best result out of it. So nothing really changes actually from that side.”
FIA: We’re not targeting any particular car
With no particular finger-pointing going on amongst the teams as to who might have fallen foul of the new directive, if they hadn’t had time to rectify the issue before Singapore, the FIA’s single-seater technical director Tim Goss explained the logic behind issuing the directive.
“It’s not that we’ve seen any one particular car or feature that we’ve targeted, or an element that’s been common across the whole grid,” he said.
“This is about where front and rear wing elements join the nose, join the rear impact structure, join the rear wing endplates. There have been several instances where teams have tried to make the most of the deflection allowance by permitting some bits and pieces to start moving relative to each other.
“If you’ve allowed one piece to be decoupled relative to another, the bodywork might have to have some degree of local flexibility at that location.
“And if there is local flexibility, we’re saying, clearly, that’s not compliant with being uniform, solid, hard and continuous. Under the TD, we have included various examples, designs which we consider are not permitted and exceptions which we consider are permitted.”