McLaren highlight a ‘concerning element’ of Alpine’s suspicious wobbly wing

Jamie Woodhouse
Esteban Ocon lapping ahead of Lando Norris. Canada June 2023

Alpine driver Esteban Ocon lapping ahead of Lando Norris. Canada June 2023

McLaren team boss Andrea Stella is not comfortable with the FIA leaving teams to police their own safety, arguing the wobbly Alpine wing concerningly got worse during the Canadian GP and represents a conflict of interest.

Esteban Ocon’s Alpine A523 drew the attention of McLaren driver Lando Norris to a specific area of that challenger as he followed the Frenchman for a time at the Canadian Grand Prix, that being the rear wing.

Norris told his team the shaking of that wing was getting “worse and worse” and was potentially “dangerous” should it become detached.

This was a newly-introduced wing for Alpine, and team boss Otmar Szafnauer explained that their testing told them it would not come loose, and so rather than being concerned as the wobbling intensified, he was happy that the team were proven right as it stayed on as planned.

McLaren boss Stella is urging the FIA to reconsider this stance that teams are the ones to judge whether a component on their car is in a safe state or not, saying this Alpine example is one where the lines of performance and safety are starting to blur as the wing became seemingly more flimsy as the race went on.

“Race direction now leaves the duty of care to the teams,” Stella confirmed as per “It’s the team’s call to say ‘we should retire the car’ or ‘we should leave the car out’.

“It’s a tricky one because the teams, when they are in a competition, have a conflict of interest in terms of the safety of everyone involved and maximising their result.

“This is a debate that deserves more time and I’m sure at the next Sporting Advisory Committee it will be raised again.

“Because Lando said a couple of times that it is not nice when you follow a car with a wobbling rear wing and it may hit you, and kind of nothing happens. recommends

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“You need to know the construction of your car. You need to assess what’s wrong, and then you need to wonder ‘have I put out my car and my components in this condition?’ Very likely, the answer is ‘no, we didn’t’.

“So it comes down to a sense of responsibility which every team can interpret in a different way.

“When Lando was following Ocon, he said that it got worse and worse, and this was the concerning element.

“Sometimes we’ve seen already the Alpine rear-wing wobbles, you might have noticed as well.

“But then when Lando reported it, it started to look like there’s something broken on that wing.

“It can’t wobble like that through normal behaviour. It wouldn’t be accepted by the FIA. It wouldn’t be accepted by the team themselves.”

Szafnauer confirmed that the FIA paid their garage a visit in relation to the wobbly wing, the team having then made their case for why they did not see it as a safety concern.

Ocon went on to score four points for the team with a P8 finish, while Norris and McLaren team-mate Oscar Piastri failed to score.

Norris’ result stirred up some controversy as having originally crossed the line P9, his final position was P13 after the FIA penalised him for “unsportsmanlike behaviour” having judged him to have backed the pack up too much behind the Safety Car as McLaren looked to double-stack their drivers.