Whitmarsh “not aware” of Ferrari’s wing complaint

2012 Japanese Grand Prix

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McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh says he is “not aware” of any concerns over the legality of the team’s front wing.

A report in Auto Motor und Sport claimed Ferrari had complained to the FIA that the front wing designs of McLaren and Red Bull were flexing too much at speed.

According to the report McLaren introduced the concept on a new front wing design used since the Hungarian Grand Prix and Red Bull followed suit with a similar wing at Singapore.

Speaking in a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in Whitmarsh said: “There’s been no specific conversations to my knowledge. That doesn’t mean they haven’t happened but I think I’d probably know.

“I think the regulations require the wings to be rigid. Of course no wing, no aerodynamic surface, is infinitely rigid. From time to time pressures and issues arise between teams who feel that other teams are too flexible, or whatever.

“I don’t think this is any particular problem for McLaren in that regard in the near term and consequently I don’t think it’s anything that will harm us. And also, I’m not aware of anything with Red Bull, incidentally.”

Whitmarsh said the FIA have to “remain vigilant” about the rules to ensure teams “don’t find other ingenious or creative ways to circumvent the intention”.

He added: “From time to time many teams get spoken to by the FIA and expected to correct a situation. We’re not in such a situation ourselves and I’m not aware that it’s going to be an issue.”

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    38 comments on “Whitmarsh “not aware” of Ferrari’s wing complaint”

    1. Martin W. is never aware of anything!!!…… SMH

    2. Conspiracy nuts: Whitmarsh isn’t aware because Ferrari have a special fia hotline!

      Disclaimer: Since both ferrari and the fiat admitted preferential treatment re the technical regs, its closer to conspiracy fact…

      1. @hairs – Are you referring to the technical veto Ferrari were revealed to have when they were fighting Mosley’s budget cap in 2009?

        Because I’m pretty sure they lost that power when the other teams found out about it.

        1. which didn’t change the fact that it was granted in secret in the first place.

          1. True, but they haven’t had the technical veto for three years now. I don’t know when, exactly, they lost it, but it might have been one of the FIA’s conditions when the teams offered to end the threat of a breakaway series in 2009.

            Personally, I think it was a smart move. Ferrari had way too much power until then.

    3. Good timing on Ferrari’s part, they do this a fair amount when the championship is nearing a close and they’re in with a chance. They really don’t need to play these games though, no-one is catching Alonso.

    4. Jacob Larsson
      3rd October 2012, 13:03

      McLaren’s front wing have been flexing backwards since Australia.

      1. It’s a clever design that rotates the main flap longitudinally instead of the rotating the end plates laterally (like red bull) and it clearly passes the tests but I agree it has had this property all year.

        1. @bernard forget all year – it was introduced Valencia 2010! Lol.

          1. Red Bull had the flex wing in 2010, McLaren played catch up last year and refined it for this year.

            1. @bernard The pivot wing (if the article is talking about what I’m thinking of) was put on the McLaren at Valencia, either 2010 or 2011, and was given the Whiting ok. Which is why I’m confused it’s popped back up.

              This is completely DIFFERENT to the flexing wings.

    5. News to me as well! I imagine this would have been pointed out by the media at large and TV teams by now.

      1. There’s something wrong in this whole story … Ferrari are silent about it, Martin W. is totally unaware, yet AMuS is respectable source.

        1. If Ferrari have made an enquiry, they’re not going to say anything publicly until they’re confident they can do something about it.

          If Whitmarsh is unaware, it’s either because Ferrari haven’t filed a formal complaint, or he’s not going to publicly admit it until he has to (Christian Horner never commented on any of the Red Bull technical rows until a challenge was formally made).

          If AMuS are reporting it, it’s probably because they’re very good at ferreting out this kind of information.

          1. @prisoner-monkeys I’m sure @kiril-varbanov is very aware of AMuS’ reputation with rumours – after all, he is an F1 TV commentator ;)

            1. @raymondu999 – True, I happen to be co-host on the TV sometimes, but that doesn’t mean I’m always right.
              Tobi from AMuS, for example, is at almost every race – and being in the paddock makes difference, anyone been there knows why.

              Let’s see if there will be any output of all these stories. I don’t like rumors myself, but most of all I don’t like unfair fight, in any form.

            2. @kiril-varbanov I know it doesn’t – but it does mean you’re probably aware of AMuS track record with rumors.

      2. @andrewtanner – It would depend on the way Ferrari approached the FIA. The FIA only have to notify a team that they are the subject of a technical challenge once that challenge is formally made. If Ferrari approached the FIA informally, they wouldn’t even need to mention McLaren or Red Bull; rather, they could simply ask for clarification on an idea that they want to use (because if it legal and they think it offers an advantage, they will want to adapt it to their 2013 car, which means they’re not lying). This could simply be AMus putting two and two together. They’re usually pretty good at that.

    6. My sister, who speaks german but is not an F1 fan, said that it is actually a “tilting” wing, one which rotates on horizontal axis. Looks like they have developed a wing which goes “backwards”? under high speed.
      It sounds strange that Whitmarsh does not know about that, because the article mentions that he has been called by FIA for this subject.

      1. I am only guessing, but this sounds more like washout and wing twist than rake. The FIA test requires limited deflection of the front wing when an adapter supplied by the team is placed on the wing (see Tech Reg 3.17.1), but I can’t find any rule that defines what the relationship in deflection between the leading and trailing edges should be. This sort of technology is well known (I was involved in helicopter wing design in the 1960s and the only limit we had then was materials – with today’s composites the possibilities must be far greater.)

        If anyone’s interested, this exists in nature as well — there’s a pretty good “starting point” on insect wings at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insect_flight

        1. In Valencia last year McLaren’s onboard footage clearly showed the front wing tilting back, effectively flattening the profile of the flaps as the wing appeared to be fitted with a spring loaded hinge at the front of the pylons – it’s sort of like a passive DRS but in the true sense in that the whole wing effectively flattens at high speed (unlike Merc’s front DRS which uses stalling). Charlie had quietly asked them to remove it but seems as though it’s crept back in – in actual fact there’s been photographs of the same effect evident on the front wing since Melbourne so either they’re still using the hinge or they’re now allowing the wing itself to twist on a different axis.

          Scarbs did a short feature on it last year and he’s bound to be on the case soon.

    7. Intrestingly we always used to see in-car cameras placed on the front of the McLaren yet havnt seen that shot for a while now.

      IF McLaren are doing something with the front wings flexing, Could be that they have prevented FOM from placing cameras there in order to prevent it been detected.

    8. someone tweet lewis ,hel will update us on how it works and maby even get sum pics of the plans

    9. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
      3rd October 2012, 18:02

      This is all just run-of-the-mill Formula 1 politics, nothing more. A team (usually McLaren) has to complain or imply that a rival is operating outside of the regulations at some point, or the FIA doesn’t recognise it as an official F1 season. BTW, this is absolutely true, it’s in paragraph 8, sub section c of the regs.

    10. Looks like not all is right in the Ferrari camp. 1st their new rear wing turns out to be a disaster, then Luca announces that he’s not going to be using the wind tunnel during the winter.. and now it looks like they’re trying everything to keep their opponnents back on development.

    11. This solution was not introduced by Mclaren in this year’s Hungarian GP but in 2011’s GP.
      I found this picture from this forum’s post with date 30 July 2011. So this article from AMuS is not so fresh news i think.

    12. LOL wait a minute, I thought this site didn’t rely on foreign press sources or otherwise link to them at this time?

      “It will be interesting how the technique Commissioners react to the new problem. Maybe they will perform in Suzuka torsion. If the wing to twist it at that, the nightmare is prohibited. Otherwise, a new arms race would begin, the only pointless costs money.”

      First time I’ve heard of F1 described in terms of the Cold War…

      So anyone, can someone provide a more intelligible explanation (or link to such an explanation) of the wing technology and function that’s at issue here? Thanks.

      1. The quotes for this article came from a press interview call which I was in. I don’t know where that quote of yours is from.

        1. That [totally meaningless] quote comes from a blog at advrider.com which belongs to the MacAskill family from Mountainview California, written by someone claiming to be a Canadian in exile in Rhode Island. He claims it’s a (translated by Google) but does not give the source…

          Oh well — blogging at its best …

    13. @ Paul A et al

      In Keith’s defence, I think you’ll find James Allen also reported today the alleged flexi wing Ferrari complaint and he’s about as establishment as it gets

      1. in fact in the Vodafone phone in (say that after a few drinks) where Martin Whitmarsh fielded questions on this, he also dealt with his feelings over Hamilton leaving McLaren and how he has no regrets.

        But he AGAIN felt it necessary to point out ““The offer that we made was higher I believe than any driver in Formula 1 is currently receiving or will receive next year.”

        This is now the third different occasion he’s pointed this out and almost verbatim each time. wp.me/p2HWOP-6A.

        It seems very defensive, and I suspect he’s under some pressure to defend the McLaren handling of the Hamilton negotiations which you could say were aired fairly publicly back in Canada when Ron Dennis told Sky that Lewis’ existing contract had been agreed in times when world economics were very different and thst this would have to be reflected in any new offer – in other words A PAY CUT.

        1. jameshuntleydavidson
          3rd October 2012, 23:06

          Judge think you missed http:// off the link for future reference. http://wp.me/p2HWOP-6A

        2. So in the next “Tooned” ,McLaren the musical, Lewis sings ” I did it my way” and Martin W replies with “Je ne regret rien”

          1. @HoHum

            Very clever :)

    14. no big deal here. if true, i find it much less egregious than red bull’s fully-enclosed holes in the floor.

    15. Would it be great if Ferrari would actually come up with something innovative as opposed to investigating their rival’s innovations? It seems like they always go through many pains to figure out where the rest may or may not be breaking the rules!…they should get their heads down a figure out how to make their car the fastest!

      1. So in other words…. Ferrari should cheat aswell?

    16. I wrote a little bloggy thing about this after taking some pictures in Melbourne…


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