The FIA will decide whether rules changes are required to prevent teams using blown rear wings of the type seen on Renault’s new RS18.
Race director Charlie Whiting said he doubted Renault has found a significant performance increase by directing exhaust gases to the rear wing. He said the FIA’s biggest concern was that the team is not using special engine maps to increase the effect.
“I think we’ve got to accept that there is and always has been some exhaust effect [on wings], said Whiting. “In 2012, 2013 it was massive, but we’ve chipped away at that and one of the things for the 2014 rules was to make sure there was no effect from the exhaust.”
“But there must be a little one. We’ll have to deal with that and we will see during the course of the year whether we need to do something to minimise that. The most important thing is that they are not doing anything silly, I believe, with the engine modes which is unnatural, shall we say.”
When the current V6 hybrid turbo regulations were introduced in 2014 the position of the exhaust was tightly limited to reduce the opportunity for teams to use exhaust gases to make their downforce-generating structures more powerful. However the change in the rear wing shape for last season created an opportunity which Renault is exploiting.
“We had a little concern about exhaust-blowing last year because of course with the wings becoming 150 millimetres lower than they were in 2016 there was more benefit to be gained there,” said Whiting. “That’s why we put the exhaust part in the middle, [specified a] minimum angle it could go, all those things.”
“But teams managed to build monkey seats and things like that which we managed to get rid of by changing the bodywork regulations. But there was still a little window of opportunity because you know what teams are like: if you take one thing away they will try to get 10 percent of what they had, but they will still do it
“There’s a maximum height for the pipes, 550 [millimetres]. So I think it is absolutely minimal what [Renault] will get from it. I don’t see any problem with it provided we are sure they are not operating their engine in a false mode, shall we call it, a mode which wouldn’t be normal.”
Renault said it has only found a “small gain” from the blown rear wing design.
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