The FIA to clamp down on ‘bendy wings’ after Lewis Hamilton’s quip

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

The FIA is set to introduce new rear wing flexibility tests ahead of races, after concerns were raised over the legality of Red Bull’s “bendy wing”.

After the Spanish Grand Prix Qualifying Lewis Hamilton said Red Bull have gained three tenths thanks to their “bendy” rear wing.

“The Red Bulls are really fast on the straights,” the Briton said in the post quali press conference.

“They have this bendy wing on the back of their car which they put on today and they gained at least three tenths from this wing.”

This raised questions over the legality of such a wing. In particular, it was said that Red Bull had a rear wing that can rotate down on the straights to increase their car’s top speed, and than return to its normal position to provide maximum downforce in the corners.

Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner said their design has been given the all clear by the FIA.

“Of course the cars are scrutineered thoroughly and there’s pull back tests, and there’s all kinds of different tests it has to pass,” Horner said.

“The FIA are completely happy with the car, that it has passed all of those tests that are pretty stringent.”

Horner also said he doesn’t think the comment came directly from Lewis, instead he suspects the Briton was repeating someone else’s words.

“I was surprised to see his comments on that. But it’s something that Toto has mentioned to me previously.

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“I doubt it was Lewis’ opinion, so probably came from elsewhere,” concluded Red Bull’s boss.

However, reveals the FIA has sent a note to all F1 teams stating there are concerns that some teams are “exploiting designs that pass the static tests but still flex at speed”.

The FIA note states that the FIA is aware that designs comply with current tests, but “nonetheless exhibit excessive deflections while the cars are in motion”.

“We believe that such deformations can have a significant influence on the car’s aerodynamic performance,” the note continues.

Therefore the FIA will introduce further tests that will “focus on the characteristics of a wing that rotates backwards at speed”.

This is in compliance with Article 3.9.9 of F1’s Technical Regulations, that states: “The FIA reserves the right to introduce further load/deflection tests on any part of the bodywork which appears to be (or is suspected of), moving whilst the car is in motion.”

As it currently stands the new tests will be introduced before the French Grand Prix scheduled for June 27, to allow the teams to “strengthen” their rear wings so that they can comply with the new test.

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