Last season it was flexi-wings but this year, with the cars’ floors having added importance, Ross Brawn says that would be a “big topic” of the season.
Formula 1 has all new cars on the track this season, the sport adopting ground effect aerodynamics to create the downforce.
That has put even more emphasis on the cars’ floors, and the performance they can give the teams.
Being able to flex the floor, or at least the edges of it, would be a bonus, however, that’s against the rules.
“I think floor stiffness will be a big topic for sure,” Brawn said in an interview with F1 TV. “It’s always a big topic.
“And when you get a new set of regulations, the teams start to understand which areas are sensitive from a stiffness perspective.
“There’s a very obvious one of rear wing stiffness, if you can keep your wing in the right position in medium speed corners, but it droops when you go down the straight, you lose drag, everyone knows that.
“But the sensitivity of these floors is still to be fully understood. I think the FIA are on top of it with load tests and stiffness tests, because nothing is infinitely stiff.
“So to say the floor must be stiff means nothing. It’s a question of putting load parameters around it, deflection parameters around it, and saying that’s what we feel is acceptable. And the FIA are well into that at the moment.”
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It is a balancing act for the teams, trying to find the line between passing the FIA’s flexi floor test and trying to minimise the weight of the cars.
Brawn believes struts are the answer that the teams are looking for as that will help with the stiffness that the FIA requires.
“I think what’s going to be introduced before the race is a new strut on the floor to try and achieve stiffness,” said Brawn.
“Because the teams that have been having porpoising issues, some of it is the challenge of keeping the floor stiff enough, they actually want the floor to be stiffer, because some of the porpoising is coming from the floor deflecting.
“And so that’s another element they’ve got to deal with.”
He added: “What became clear is meeting the weight limit is going to be pretty challenging with these cars.
“There’s a lot of new safety initiatives after the terrible accident in Spa a couple of years ago in F2, and the accident with Romain Grosjean, and one or two other things. So the weight limit, or the weight of the cars, increased.”
Flexi-floors will be F1’s 'big topic for sure'
Ross Brawn believes that Flexi-floors will be F1's big topic this year.