TD018 explained as FIA clamp down on tricks hidden under rubber coverings

Michelle Foster
Ferrari SF-23 front wings and engine cover in the Barcelona pit lane. Spain May 2023

Ferrari SF-23 front wings and engine cover in the Barcelona pit lane. Spain May 2023

Formula 1 will be clamping down on flexi wings in Singapore with the FIA suspecting teams could be hiding tricks under rubber coverings to beat the load-bearing tests.

Formula 1’s regulations clearly ban flexible bodywork with Article 3.2.2 of the Technical Regulations stating that “all aerodynamic components or bodywork influencing the car’s aerodynamic performance must be rigidly secured and immobile”.

However, this season the FIA has questioned whether some teams, unnamed it must be said, are using trickery to circumvent motorsport’s governing body’s tests.

TD018 comes into effect at the Singapore Grand Prix

Explaining what will be changing at Marina Bay this weekend, the FIA gave a statement to revealing that “additional observations” will be taking place to ensure the regulations surrounding the flexbility of aerodynamic components are being followed.

“We are continually monitoring the deflection characteristics of aerodynamic assemblies to ensure cars adhere to the requirements of Technical Regulations Article 3.2.2,” the FIA said.

“This is partly through the deflection tests that are specified in Article 3.15 [concerning aerodynamic component flexibility], but also through ad hoc tests and inspections that can be beyond what teams might usually expect.

“These additional observations can lead to a need to clarify how we believe the regulations should be interpreted. There has been a draft TD [technical directive] on the subject of bodywork flexibility issued in response to observations across several cars, and ensures that the FIA and teams all have a common understanding of the way we should interpret the regulations.” recommends

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McLaren predict less ‘than a tenth of a second’ hit

McLaren team boss Andrea Stella reckons the FIA’s new technical directive could cost teams using trickery just under a tenth of a second.

But, given how close the pack is behind Red Bull, that tenth could have an impact on Formula 1’s pecking order.

“No more than a tenth of a second,” Stella told, “not enough to change the values at the top.”

“But,” he continued, “in the group behind Red Bull it could have an impact given that we are many teams enclosed in a couple of tenths. We’ll see in Marina Bay…”

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has previously spoken about his hope that the new TD slows runaway championship leaders Red Bull. He, however, concedes it’s unlikely to do that.

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