Mercedes W08 T-wing, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017

Mercedes’ T-wing did ‘£50,000-worth of damage’ to Verstappen’s Red Bull

2017 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen’s Red Bull incurred £50,000-worth of damage when it ran over a T-wing which fell off another team’s car, according to Christian Horner.

The T-wing fell off the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas during the second practice session. Verstappen admitted he was taken aback by how badly it damaged his car.

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2017
2017 Bahrain Grand Prix practice in pictures
“It was unfortunate and to be honest I’m surprised how much damage it actually did to the floor,” said Verstappen. “The team did a great job to change it so quickly and check the car over before I went back out on track.”

According to Horner the broken part “did about £50,000-worth of damage.”

“So I think they should be banned under the grounds of safety and costs,” he added. “And that’s not just because we don’t have one.”

“It’s unfortunate, it’s one of those things, a bit of debris on the circuit which I think had come off Bottas’s car and Max was the unlucky victim that was the first car at speed to come across it. it did quite a bit of damage to the underside of the car.”

Verstappen did 18 laps in the second practice session, ten fewer than team mate Daniel Ricciardo.

“The other side of the garage looks quite competitive and now we need to review which configuration was better from the two cars and then apply that for tomorrow,” he said.

“My aim in final practice will be to get as many laps in as possible to make up for the lost time today and then I will have a better idea of our target for the weekend.”

Mercedes’ technical director James Allison said the failure was unexpected. “It’s a surprise because we’ve done a huge number of kilometres without problems and then we’ve had two annoying hassles.”

“So I suspect it will be a small manufacturing defect and it’s something that we’ll need to reinforce, make sure it doesn’t happen again, come Saturday and Sunday.”

2017 Bahrain Grand Prix

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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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  • 74 comments on “Mercedes’ T-wing did ‘£50,000-worth of damage’ to Verstappen’s Red Bull”

    1. They have to ban these things. One of them hitting a driver’s helmet at speed will do damage. What if it hit him in the chest or shoulders where there’s no protection. FIA should have enough reason to ban them on safety grounds now. There have been issues at each of the GP’s so far.

      1. Let’s ban front wings as well. When a piece breaks off of one of them as happens quite often after a collision or off road excursion… “One of them hitting a driver’s helmet at speed will do damage. What if it hit him in the chest or shoulders where there’s no protection?”

        1. Difference is, the T-wings are raised up, so they can hit a driver right as it falls off.

        2. Such a facile comparison with front wings. These T-wings have been around three weekends, with two failures and one near-failure (Haas?). Front wings, the failure rate is maybe 1%? Ridiculous.

          1. knoxploration
            14th April 2017, 23:28

            Exactly. They need to be banned immediately. They add nothing of value to the racing, they’re hideously ugly, there’s doubtless a fortune being wasted on their development, and if they’re banned for everyone then nobody is at an advantage or disadvantage. And it’s only a matter of time before someone is hurt by them. GET RID OF THEM!

        3. You have overlooked the T-wing fell off under practice conditions, it didn’t fall off under racing conditions. This isn’t like a front wing which collapses during a collision, this device can’t even perform in semi-racing conditions without failing.
          I’m sure some excuse will be trotted out, but a T-wing should be capable of staying attached to the car at the car’s top speed in the top expected head on wind (as well as during a spin) + a margin of safety, but the car wasn’t travelling at its top speed with an insignificant head wind, so there is no margin of safety built into the T-wing. A competitor had their preparation for the race compromised because of poor construction.
          The easy answer is to ban the device for the rest of this season and let those that believe it is essential to their performance try again next year.
          I’m not sure whether Valtteri’s fastest time was posted before or after the T-wing fell off, but if it was posted after the failure then it suggests performance wasn’t hindered by the absence of the T-wing.

        4. @SCThreeBoys You are comparing apples to oranges I’m afraid. We are talking about an unproven part here. You can’t drive the car without a front wing. A T-wing is just an appendage like winglets or those small aero wings they used on the top of the nose several years back.

      2. Estaban de los Casas
        15th April 2017, 13:38

        Ifs and buts will buy you candy and nuts.

        Stop imagining what might happen. What if a bird flew into your neck at speed?? What if your suspension component came off and hit a driver in the helmet??

        F1 is a high stake game of risks and rewards and anything could happen at anytime.

    2. Ban it under cost grounds? *insert laughing with tears emoji*

      1. 😂😂😂
        Does this actually work? 😅

        1. it does on me phone

        2. Haha didnt know it was possible

    3. Any way, just get rid of them …

    4. No, don’t ban them. If the body part is not safe to race with, it needs to be reinforced until it is.
      Its what we do with other car parts. Why is this special?

      1. Is that so? I can think of numerous body parts that were banned because of safety. Take the X-wings. Or wing-mounted rearview mirrors.

      2. @ivan-vinitskyy, I totally agree!

        Ferrari, Mclaren and Williams’s T-wings all seem rigid enough. Let Mercedes re-inforce theirs if they want to race. Just like Haas was required too.

    5. Ban those stupid wings! Derbis getting airborne, remembering Justin Wilson!?

      1. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
        15th April 2017, 5:43

        Ban all nose cones!

        1. Micheal (@shakengandulf)
          15th April 2017, 6:40

          Do nose cones fall off for nose reasons?

          1. On a Force India, they did……….

      2. They should ban speed because all accidents in F1 involve speed. Let’s have a man with a flag walking or running in front of the cars to protect everybody. Rather than make a case for making the things safer, let’s jump on the ‘knee-jerk’ bandwagon which has served F1 so well in the past. Do F1 fans have no memory or just like shouting nonsense?

    6. On safety grounds, those t-wings are dangerous. I don’t want to picture what might happen if one of those smashes on drivers body edge on. Make them stronger so they don’t come loose under normal racing conditions. If two cars crash, that is another story because we would need to ban every piece of hanging wings then.

      1. Dangerous how? Has any fell off during s race? Does that mean we ban any appendages that might fall off a car?

        Come on let’s not overreact.

        1. What makes a race different from a practice session other than timing?
          Also, we do ban other appendages that might fall off cars. That’s why front and rear wings have to face load tests, why they have to have a certain amount of surface area meeting the pylon, why we barely have the 2008-esque cornicopia of appendages on the sidepods, etc. These T-wings are in a black hole of regulating. That doesn’t mean they should just be allowed. There are no demands for their strength or loads or composition.

        2. Remember that Massa nearly got killed during practice?

          1. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
            15th April 2017, 5:43

            Ban all springs!

    7. Second week on a row that the Mercedes version comes lose.
      The others seem pretty safe until now. Mercedes should just do what others do. Put it on the top of the shark fin.

      1. The Mercedes shark fin doesn’t go far enough back to do this. I believe there is 5cm at that particular point in which they are allowed to play around a bit. However, Mercedes may have found that extending the shark fin further back may be much less effective for them, for whatever reason, do it might not be desirable for them.

    8. I wonder if it has anything to do with the double t wing or the pillar? Or just a bad batch of resin or carbon fiber. Not saying ban them but I wont be sad to see them go and I wont care if they stay, lets just see what happens

    9. Get rid of them asap. On safety grounds. Fully agree, teams should not have flimsy wings around.

    10. Ban hem immediaely; I can do wihou hem :p

      1. Nice commen. I like i. ;-)

        1. I ook me a while o undersand wha you were doing, bu I ge i now

      2. @f1-liners
        Lol, ha’s funny :D

        1. Commen of he day, Kieh.

          1. an, I an’t sto aughin ith al hese. tally ilariou

      3. o ally agree

    11. There are lots of car parts thay fly off frequently. Engine covers, mirrors, barge boards, front wing flaps, vanes, T-wings and so on. They are all potentially dangerous.

      1. When is the last time an engine cover flew off, or a mirror, or a barge board? But on the mercedes this T-wing seems to fall off once every race weekend. just wait until it fails while another car is close behind and hits the driver in the head. not to mention they are hideous to look at. not sure why FIA doesnt just ban them it would be so easy and would equalize the teams a bit more. mercedes must have spent the same amount of money on that t-wing as Force India spent for their entire front wing.

        1. This would be the third T-wing to come free in as many races, Force India in the first race and Mercedes this and the last. The fact they didn’t replace the wing on Bottas’s car today proves they don’t need them…

          1. +1
            Bottas was driving around just as quickly without it.

          2. They probably need it to minimize the competition.

        2. AJ, since you ask about the last time an engine cover came off, Verstappen’s engine cover was ripped off during qualifying for the 2015 Italian GP, leaving large chunks of bodywork scattered across the track. As for the wing mirrors, I have a recollection that Ricciardo lost a wing mirror that year too (I think it was the 2015 Hungarian GP), or at the very least I have a recollection of the internal part of the mirror falling out and onto the track.

          Frankly, whilst Horner claims that he is arguing on ground of safety “And that’s not just because we don’t have one.”, it feels like he is almost certainly using the safety clause to get this banned because he thinks it will hurt his rivals.

          After all, this is the same man who has displayed the rank hypocrisy of publicly arguing for the shark fins to be banned whilst, in private, fiercely lobbying Ross Brawn to keep them for next year because Red Bull have realised that they will probably lose more from a ban on shark fins than they think Mercedes and Ferrari would.

          As some other posters here have noted, Horner is a master at manipulating the media and using public pressure to push the FIA into acting in one way or another, and he’s pulling out all the stops now to try and help Red Bull recover lost ground any way he can…

          1. Horner is a master at manipulating the media and using public pressure to push the FIA into acting in one way or another, and he’s pulling out all the stops now to try and help Red Bull recover lost ground any way he can…

            Well, that’s basically his job.

      2. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
        15th April 2017, 5:45

        Ban all engine covers, mirrors, barge boards, front wing flaps, vanes, and T-wings!

    12. Yawn. Waa. If his T was any good, he’d not be saying this.
      F1 is dangerous. Boo hoo.
      Man up or go home.

    13. No one propogates an agenda like Christian. Next time a Merc or Ferrari engine blows he’ll say the heat generated from the blowout adds to global warming, and that we should move to a simpler formula of engines which don’t blow up as often.

    14. Ban them because they’re ugly, stupid, and pick up Radio 2 (probably). Don’t ban them because you can attribute a vaulation to one incident involving them, else we’ll have no sport at all with that logic.

    15. I think I might be the only person that likes the t-wings. They should not fly off though, but as above that’s like any F1 car part, springs for example.

      1. Right, and springs falling off are the entire reason why F1 is contemplating such a radical solution as the halo or the screen. Maybe not normalise such events?

      2. Those different t-wings paired up with the halo are going to amazing.

        1. Those different t-wings paired up with the halo are going to look amazing.

    16. Ban it on safety grounds. Bottas lost the t wing twice in 2 weekends.

      But cost? really? in F1 50 thousand pounds is pocket change…

      1. Than the mercedes should be banned for making a unsafe car until they can prove that they fixed the problem. It is no the t-wings fault.

    17. So now we are going to have Teams send each other a bill for the damage when someone wrecks your car??? I would hate to see the invoice that David Coultard would have received when he took out like cars at the start of a race back in the late 90’s. Or how about Grogeanns price tag when he wrecked Alonso and company in Spa???
      Christian sounds a bit whiny complaining about $……

      1. I’m presuming you’re referring to the 1998 Belgian Grand Prix, that really must have been an expensive event!

        I heard somewhere that Grosjean’s accident at the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix caused somewhere between £1.5million and £2million

    18. Mr Horner your selfless concern for safety and cost is exemplary and totally in character. And, its completely believable.

      And by cost, we know you mean the impact on the lower teams not just a piddling 50k for RB. Goes without saying of course.

    19. Marc Saunders
      14th April 2017, 21:59

      You start banning t-wings and end banning wheels. Why not test them like they do to other parts?

    20. Michael Brown (@)
      14th April 2017, 22:43

      Calls to ban the t-wings are an overreaction. Mercedes needs to sort theirs out.

      1. @mbr-9: Simplest and best reaction of the day… Thanks and +1

    21. Introduce a rule that if any part of the car falls off — including T-wings of course, but also including bits of wing, floor, wheel, fuel filler caps, etc. — the team must bring the car in to replace it within 2 laps or be given a time penalty.

      That should prompt the teams to design these things strong enough that they won’t fall off. Also should encourage the drivers to be more careful with their front wings against other cars.

      1. In American short course Offroad racing, (Lucas oil Offroad racing series) there is a financial penalty for every pound (weight, not money) of bodywork lost… it sure discourages people from destroying their hoods (bonnets) with the end goal of having better views.

        Put a tether on it… when teams start destroying their own cars driving around with a T wing hanging on a cable, or getting black flagged for unsafe conditions… they will magically stop failing.

        Banning things that the experts designing these cars believe to be beneficial is asinine. I want the highest tech cars possible… if that t wing is worth .05 seconds, that’s what I watch formula 1 for! Every half a tenth of a second adds up!

    22. Are you serious? Complaining about £50,000 of damage when your team has a budget of around £400 million? Good Lord…

    23. Well, there is a saying in my country: “Recurring coincidence ceases to be a coincidence”.
      If things stay like this, I hope there will be no third time. It would make it a pattern.

      1. @sakis – good one.
        I think if Merc are told that their T-wing will be banned, if it fails a third time, then I’m sure they will sort it out. But I think – on safety grounds – that it would be fair to penalize teams for parts falling of, other than under Force Majeure, ie if because of an accident, contact and not just because of failure of the team to release a safe race car on the track.
        I still remember the scary images of Massa continuing unconsciously straight ahead into the barrier and the danish former F1 driver Kiesa, commenting live, immediately argued that it seem as if he didn’t brake or steer at all.
        Parts falling of cars is also a problem in other racing series, track days and daily traffic, so it would be fine if F1 took action to flag this and do something about it.

    24. “And it’s not just because we don’t have one”


    25. @keithcollantine, how about a poll: Do you want T-wings on F1 cars, or not?

      I wouldn’t use “ban”, I wouldn’t use “like”. Personally, I think they look horrendous. And, if you’ll allow me this joke, I am sure meteorologists love them. And amateur radio fans alike. For me, the T-wings are the sequel to the protuberant noses.
      I would get rid of this gimmick. And one last thing, after reading the comments on Valteri’s lap-times: What if a T-wing’s main purpose is not to make your car better, but impede others by making the air behind you even dirtier?

      1. Weren’t front wings frowned upon when they were first used? Now the car is useless without it. But let’s stay at the cutting edge by banning every new thing because ‘fans’ (who are not engineers) don’t like how they look. How about leaving the engineers to build the fastest cars they can as that is their job? So far this year: Complaints about pink cars, T-bars, and Sound. More BS to follow.

        1. @tiomkin Man, I was just stating my opinion and still am curious to see how many people like them and how many don’t. The way you’re putting it some engineers will have nothing left to do if T-wings are banned and car development will stop. It is my personal opinion theat T-wings are inaesthetic. Very! The silhouette of the Merc, in particular, is sooo nice, but this “6th toe” and, to some degree, the shark fin ruin it. Although I can live with the fin.

    26. @daniboyf1 Very good question, but I thought that You can’t make a device which will make the air behind the car dirty, without a drag penalty, which will be higher, than the dirty air will impede a follower?
      I don’t think they are that ugly, but I don’t think Mercedes should be allowed to use them hence forward, unless they can prove that they have reinforced them to a level, so it can stand the normal load plus the usual safety factor. This means redesign, FEA calculations, tests etc. But it is unreasonable to subject the opponents for this kind of debris.
      By the way, what is stated in the rules about minimum weight of the car, if it due to damage during the race has lost parts and thus weight? (not that a missing T-wing, would cause underweight by the Merc?)

    27. This is symbolic of a defending WCC slowly failing to master new regulations. When the rest of the package does not allow you to deploy available engine power in race trim, you will come unstuck. A nightmare weekend in prospect for Merc and especially HAM, methinks.

    28. T-Wing = Trash-Wing…

    29. Should be banned

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