‘A lot of attention being paid’ to flexi wings

Michelle Foster
F1 2022 mock up rear wing. Silverstone May 2021

F1 2022 mock up rear wing. Silverstone May 2021

Flexi wings will likely be a contentious topic that runs into 2022 but James Key doesn’t believe they will be “easy to exploit” with the new FIA tests.

Last season the flexibility of wings, front and rear, was one of the hot topics as Red Bull and Mercedes went wheel-to-wheel for the championship titles.

Mercedes were the first to complain, unhappy with the flexibility of Red Bull’s front wing.

This led to the FIA introducing a new test, one that forced several teams – including Red Bull – to make changes in order to pass.

As the season progressed it was the Milton Keynes squad who began griping, adamant that Mercedes’ rear wing did not comply with the regulations.

Red Bull went as far as to show the media photographs of what they said were “score marks” that proved their theory.

Once again the FIA took action with a new test, however, F1 head of single-seater technical matters Nikolas Tombazis says “no monkey business” was found.

He did, however, add that the FIA will improve the rear wing test prior to the start of the 2022 championship.

This year Formula 1 will have all-new rear wings, the sport adopting ground-effect aerodynamics and a simple design for both the front and rear wing.

McLaren technical director Key hopes that this, together with the FIA’s testing, will mean few issues – and complaints – about rivals’ wings. He, however, concedes it won’t eradicate the problem.

“I think the sensitivity of the aero-elastics has changed and I think that is well understood from the regulations that have been discussed at length, how to better manage components which can flex,” Key said as per Autosport.

“Some of the tests are more stringent – rear wing tests, for example, will be a little bit tougher – and some of the things that happened [in 2021] with these areas have carried through to 2022 and I think there is a lot of attention being paid to that.

“The front wing in 2022 is a massive thing but it still has a very stringent set of guidelines on stiffness, so I think there will always be a few tricks to play but I don’t think there is going to be something easy to exploit.

“You’ve got a couple of different components on the car which can have a certain level of stiffness, which you could exploit legally, so there are various new tools to play with in 2022.

 

“It will probably become some form of issue I am sure, but it is not something the teams or the FIA are ignoring. It is a fairly clear area where we are very careful to regulate correctly for next year.”

 

FIA to ‘improve’ rear wing tests

Nikolas Tombazis has stated that the FIA's rear wing tests could be improved.