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26 May 2015

The FIA have reportedly issued a technical directive to the teams, suggesting that they will introduce a new front wing deflection test, incorporating a trailing edge flap test for the first time.

Details of the new test were exposed by Motorsport here:

The crux of the new test are as follows:

'A 60NM point load will be applied to any part of the trailing edge of any front wing flap.

The load will be applied normal to the flap at the relevant point, and the deflection may not exceed 3mm when measured vertically at the trailing edge in order for the wing to meet the regulations.'

We have suspected for some time now that teams are using flaps that deflect under load to improve the overall efficiency of the car.  The onboard footage of flap deflection on the Williams FW36's front wing in Spa 2014 aroused suspicions with just about everyone about how their wing operated:  Of late I have noted from the onboards that Toro Rosso's front wing flaps deflect in a similar manner and whilst flap deflection is inevitable, as pressure builds, the way in which this seems to be happening on these and other cars is not natural.

The front wing designs we see now are compartmentalized, with the outer section used to deal with outboard tyre wake, whilst the flaps deal with generating downforce and the Y250 vortex. Observation of the flap movement suggests that the flaps decline, which would suggest that the teams are looking to reduce drag. What should be considered is that the gap between the flaps may also be being reduced, leading to a 'stalled' situation, with the airflow unable to sustain the angle of attack. Meanwhile, the change in the flaps tip angle also changes the way in which the Y250 vortex operates too, changing airflow downstream.  The overall idea is a reduction of drag and increase in efficiency but as always it's easy to think about the direct consequence of a component but in reality there is always much more to the story, especially when it's the front wing in play....


  1. My suggestion is to simply provide to each team a standard front wing to reduce budget cost, car handling will rely less on aerodynamic. Also, increase tire performance to produce closer racing and a better show. Last suggestion would be to remove all data communication while the car is on the track. Better racing, driver talent oriented, would help small team.

  2. F1 is not a spec series.... having a standardized front wing would be a bad idea IMO.

  3. I am an F1 fan and love all the technical detail and ingenuity. However, this is the sort of thing that turns off the casual fan. The loss/gains are negligible, relatively speaking, and unless you know what you're looking at, you can't tell the wing flaps are deflecting. All the teams are doing it to a greater or lesser degree and by forcing a change, you increase costs for re-designs and the performance differences between the cars won't really change. I agree spec wings are not the way forward, so just leave them to it.

  4. F1 is not a spec series. OK, but we have spec tires... If you give some freedom to where to locate the spec front wing, body shape can vary from team to team. F1 will save a lot of cost that can be distributed to small teams so that that sport can be more fair... Reduce the front wing efficiency and performance will be shifted to mecanical grip for closer racing and more driver ability influence.

    1. The design scope for the front wing is at its most stringent it has ever been, this is just evolution with teams finding/understanding better ways to do things. A chunk of the front wing is not actually producing downforce per se anyway, it is used to enhance rear downforce. I'm not in favour of spec parts, it is against the spirit of F1. The monetary element of F1 is a different argument IMO, the sport has always been expensive and is as relatively expensive now as it was 10 years ago...


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