Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Monaco, 2021

Row between Mercedes and Red Bull escalates over front wings and tyre blankets

2021 Monaco Grand Prix

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The off-track row between championship rivals Mercedes and Red Bull has escalated at the Monaco Grand Prix, with the two teams questioning each others’ compliance with the rules.

The FIA has already intervened after Mercedes drew attention to the flexing rear wings being used by Red Bull and other teams. Tougher tests on wing stiffness will be imposed from the middle of next month.

But Lewis Hamilton is unhappy the delay will mean Red Bull can continue using the same rear wings in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix at the beginning of June. He believes the drag reduction achieved by the wings will be especially beneficial on the long straights of Baku City Circuit.

“It’s going to be worth at least six tenths there probably,” he told Sky. “So I think we naturally just need to continue to apply pressure to the FIA to just do a better job at controlling these.”

“What you’ve got to acknowledge is that these engineers, they’re geniuses,” he added. “If you give them wiggle room, they will wiggle.”

Hamilton also claimed Red Bull had removed the tyre blankets from their cars earlier than they were allowed to in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix.

“If you look at the last race, for example, we were supposed to all keep our blankets on in qualifying. Red Bull were allowed to take theirs off. And no one else is allowed to. So how do you make sure it’s consistent for everyone?”

Verstappen’s mechanics removed the tyre warmers from his car around half a minute before they lowered it to the ground before his final run in Q3 at Circuit de Catalunya.

Red Bull CEO Christian Horner hit back, dismissing the six-tenths figure without specifying which track he was referring to, while conceding the wing would be more beneficial at some venues than others.

“It’s difficult to quantify, but it’s not as much as people think,” said Horner in today’s FIA press conference. “I’ve heard comments of six tenths being bandied around, which is ludicrous. I mean, if you’re talking about a tenth, I’d be surprised.

“All these things have to work in conjunction with every other component on the car. So it’s going to vary from circuit to circuit.”

Horner also claimed Mercedes are gaining an advantage from flexible wings at the front of their W12. “Just look at some footage from Imola, at the front of our competitor’s car and it’ll show you very clearly flexible aerodynamics,” he said. “Which, as we know, the front wing is a far more sensitive part of the car than the rear of the car.”

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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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102 comments on “Row between Mercedes and Red Bull escalates over front wings and tyre blankets”

  1. I am not amused with the tyre blankets being taken off, unless that is for safety. I am not bothered by the rear wing unless it is completely illegal.

    1. Don’t flexible rear wings work like “DRS on demand” when they are on the straight line with DRS disabled? Just curious.

      1. Unfortunately, in this aspect, I am not that much of an expert, but in hindsight, I think flexible rear wings are just like DRS but not controlled by the driver’s input on the button, unless the rear wing they have does require the driver to do some manual control. I actually thought that when Hamilton raised the curved rear wing angle, it was some sort of rear wing that was curved, and similar to what Mercedes ran in SPA in 2017 and in 2015, but in fact it was actually a rear wing that was flexing.

      2. Yes exactly this. In might even be more powerful than DRS. It’s blatant cheating and they are flattering Honda by using this wing. As for Christian saying Mercedes front wing flexes, the rules state that the main part of of the wing must not flex, nothing about the extra parts, also of which lie outside of the defined measurements of where flexing parts are not allowed anyway. Mercedes and all other team’s front wing elements flex because they are allowed, so once again Christian is barking up the wrong tree. When Vettel was at Red Bull they found a way to get the main part of the front wing to flex but the tests couldn’t pick it up. So Red Bull have history of this kind of thing and should be stopped immediately.

        1. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that you are not a lawyer. The very same rule that makes the rear wing “illegal” is the same rule that makes any “movable” aerodynamic appendage illegal (with some specific exceptions).
          There is absolutely no exception for “extra parts” anywhere in the rules and any part of the front wing including the additional elements are subject to the same rule. Now, it is important to point out that in nature there is very few if any infinitely rigid objects and to this reason there are special technical tests to define as to what a “non-movable” a non flexing part should be like and if the part complies with the tests then for intends of purposes it is not “blatant cheating” as you are trying to put it, think of it this way drunk driving is not allowed but there is a limit of alcohol that is permissible in your system before you get charged with DUI.

        2. anon I think it is quite unreasonable to suggest RBR’s flexy wing, that might only be a little more flexy than others, while complying to the FIA tests nonetheless, “might even be more powerful than DRS.” Either that would make for such a blatant advantage that they would stand out like a sore thumb, or everyone is pretty close in their flex then, and enjoying a very similar ‘DRS-like’ advantage. There simply is no DRS-like advantage present that you can point to in any way to support you opinion, which I think must moreso just be emotional than practical. You have it in for Horner and RBR, we know.

    2. Ok, That is a really stupid comment if red Bull want to disavantage themself that is their stupity. I rather see No blankets at all so the tyres must be made much softer.

      1. To Mercedes not you @krichelle! was my comment target off.

        1. @macleod

          We need edit button for comments….

    3. The rules don’t consider whether you’re bothered by them or not.

  2. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    20th May 2021, 17:15

    And in the meantime both sides keep saying they ‘ enjoy the tight battle’. Nonesense: They’d much rather leave the entire field in their dust while winning races with 1-minute leads. The tiniest smart-play on either side gets a big boo-hoo from their bosses and in the case of Mercedes, their driver.

    1. elisa barrington
      21st May 2021, 1:29

      It is not “smart” of Red Bull to cheat. They’ve been penalized for similar infractions before. They should be careful or they’ll get an even worse reputation. It’s a shame they’ve been allowed to cheat for weeks. Clean Sir Hamilton would have won by more if they had not been. Red Bull should clean up its act. Cheaters never prosper – not for long, anyway.

      1. You’ll find that Red Bull comply with the rules as written. By definition, they aren’t “cheating” any more than Mercedes were “cheating” with their DAS, or McLaren were cheating with their F-Duct.

    2. F1oSaurus (@)
      21st May 2021, 7:55

      @barryfromdownunder Mercedes/Hamilton enjoy a battle, but it needs to be fair?

    3. Politics is part of the game.

  3. Kobe (@im-a-kobe)
    20th May 2021, 17:15

    Loool that’s a strong dose of whataboutism there Christian.

    Regarding the tyre warmers though, isn’t it better to keep them on longer? How would Red Bull have gained an advantage?

    1. Removing the tyre blankets will definitely lower the tyre temperatures. In doing so, maybe, but not completely sure, if the Red Bull chassis is susceptible to more managing in temperatures, then that would have definitely helped them around Barcelona. Drivers were already driving slow in order for them to avoid the tyres from overheating in Sector 3 during a qualifying lap.

      Just to note, I am not sure if this affects tyre pressures because teams are allowed to adjust tyre pressures. Although I know that lower pressures mean lower tyre temperatures and more tyre wear.

      1. RandomMallard (@)
        20th May 2021, 18:05

        @krichelle I’m trying to find this rule about the tire blankets in Quali. It isn’t mentioned anywhere in the sporting regs from what I can tell. The race director’s notes (at least from portugal, the most recent ones I can access) don’t have any mention of Tyre Warmers in Quali either

        1. @randommallard All race director event notes are available on FIA.com, but they’re, for the most part, copy-paste with only track/event-specific variation.

          1. RandomMallard (@)
            20th May 2021, 18:36

            Yeah I know. I just didn’t have enough time to download the Spanish event notes. But yeah most of the time they are just ctrl c/ctrl v from last weekend’s.

          2. RandomMallard (@)
            20th May 2021, 18:37

            I did forget the one major change each weekend:

            The Official Formula 1 Partner’s Track Limit’s Lottery™!

        2. @randommallard I was surprised there were any rules in regard to having to have blankets on in qualifying, I didn’t know they were mandatory, I assumed everyone used them because they were better off doing so.

          1. RandomMallard (@)
            20th May 2021, 21:49

            @bernasaurus My point is I can’t find any rules referring to tire blankets in Quali. I think it may be Merc playing some mind games or something

    2. @im-a-kobe Also, my thought as taking warmers off earlier means tyres cool down again, so (at least normally) a disadvantageous if anything.

      1. I think it helps in getting tires down to max pressure when measured. So you can get the pressure you want more accurately, or higher. That was the suggestion of the sky commentators who also noticed the front blankets coming off verstappens car.

        1. @dmw not sure I understood that correctly. From what I know, Pirelli mandates a minimum starting pressure, but the colder the tyre is, the lower the pressure is. Tyres always work at hotter temperatures than they can reach in the blankets, so the best way to get the tyre pressure you want to be using on track while complying with Pirelli’s minimum pressure is to have the tyres as hot as possible when that pressure is checked.

    3. @im-a-kobe @krichelle @jerejj It’s probably more about managing tyre pressures than temperatures as teams/drivers often complain that the mandated starting pressures are too high.

      This is a big part of why they take the out laps so slowly now as they want to start the lap with lower tyre temperatures & pressures as that makes it easier for drivers to keep the tyres in the operating window over the lap.

      1. The rules are probably in a technical directive, which as far as I know, are still Top Secret Most Confidential For Your Eyes Only I’d Tell You but I’d Have to Kill You.

        And it’s almost certainly to allow them to skirt the Pirelli mandates on tire pressures.

        1. F1oSaurus (@)
          21st May 2021, 7:59

          Those directors notes are available on the FIA site (in events documents section)

    4. Based on what I’ve heard the commentators say I believe you are right, that it is better to keep the tyre warmers on longer than to remove them early. As far as I know there isn’t any such rule saying you have to leave the tyre warmers on until such and such time. I’m sure Lewis does know what he’s talking about, but I haven’t been able to find such a rule. Hopefully he will communicate with Racefans to let them know exactly which rule he was referring to. To me removing them early doesn’t give a driver a competitive advantage, although it might help the team to relax.
      At the last Grand prix one of the commentators (Martin Brundle?) talked about how when he was racing it was possible to get better durability from a tyre by giving it repeated hot-cold cycles. He did say the teams weren’t doing that with the Pirelli tyres, but then Lewis went out on a set of tyres that had been driven on once and got something like Pole position with them. So it doesn’t seem Red Bull were applying hot-cold cycles to Max’s tyres. As far as I know there isn’t any rule saying you can’t apply cycles of heating up and cooling down to tyres, but from what Martin (if it was him) said, doing that doesn’t make the Pirelli tyres more durable.

  4. Trying to maintain a competitive advantage by moaning and complaing about the enforcement of the sporting and technical regulations?

    Isn’t that Ferrari’s job?

    1. All teams moan when they feel they’re under pressure. Last time Mercedes felt that way was in 2018, and back then they even accused Kimi Räikkönen of deliberately ramming into Hamilton. It’s hard to find a driver more widely acknowledged as fair than Kimi, and in their angst they still went for it.

    2. Well, with Abiteboul out, someone had to take over.

  5. This i all a bit childish.
    Any loaded structural component will flex. Physics dictated this and while many have tried, none have succeeded in changing the law.
    The FIA implemented rear wing and front wing deflection limits years ago. Loads have been specified and amended several times to reduce (notice how it isn’t “stop”) flexing of certain components.
    If one team is upset with another, too bad, same rules for everyone, at least that is the premise. Get over it.
    Tyre blankets coming off early, this sounds like a bad joke. Do the team have control over temperature.? Likely. Can they pull the plug when they want, also very possible. Is there an advantage to effectively reducing the tyre temperature, not that most are aware of. That would be like doing Q-2 on used Soft tyres. Hey … wait a second.!!

    1. @rekibsn

      If one team is upset with another, too bad, same rules for everyone, at least that is the premise. Get over it.

      That literally makes no sense. Mercedes are protesting precisely because the same rules apply to everyone!

      1. But except the Mercedes front wing of course.
        Just bad losers, they feel the heat.

        1. erikje, you presumably haven’t seen the footage of how much the front wing on Max’s car was also flexing during the Portuguese GP then – unless you also want Red Bull to be punished as well in the name of equality…

          1. Thats what i said. So yes.. if it flex more then allowed both problems should be adressed. So not only the childish play Mercedes starts.

      2. @david-br cc But in this case, the violations of the rules are defined as violating the load tests, which Red Bull’s wing didn’t; therefore, it’s legal. @rekibsn‘s point is that every wing flexes, some by less than others. If the rule that “applies to everyone” is simply that wings should not flex, then every team is in violation of it. But such a rule would be meaningless; hence the load tests. And since it’s impossible to make a wing that doesn’t flex at all, why wouldn’t the engineers then design the wings to flex right up to the allowed limit?

        1. RandomMallard (@)
          20th May 2021, 18:00

          @markzastrow I wouldn’t necessarily say that by passing the load tests, the RB wing is legal, all it means is that in it’s current state it can’t be proven to be illegal (and I’m a RB fan so while I don’t want it to be illegal, I would rather see the team fight with a legal wing than an illegal one).

          You are spot on with the second point: all the wings will flex right up to the allowed limit. Even the teams whose wings don’t currently flex may need to redesign theirs to meet the new load tests, just because of the different interactions within a carbon structure like that.

        2. @markzastrow Wolff’s point is that the new tests will only come in after Baku, meaning that if Red Bull (or any other team’s wing) fails the new tests, the results at Monaco and Baku will be subject to protest at the ICA on the basis that they were (and therefore currently are) illegal. Yes it’s confusing but that’s the situation FIA has allowed to happen by not acting earlier.

          Interestingly, Wolff says they had ‘flexible wing’ developed last year and basically suggests that Mercedes will use the ‘window of opportunity’ before the stricter tests to deploy a more ‘softer’ wing (presumably, then, Mercedes themselves won’t be protesting).

          1. @david-br Yeah, I understand Toto’s point about the protest timeline, but I suspect the OP was referring to Lewis’ quote in the story, which is a more general complaint about the FIA letting Red Bull pull one over them.

            It seems to me that this could all have been avoided if Article 3.8 explicitly stated that the requirements for aero parts remaining “immobile” were defined by the load tests as stated in Article 3.9. As written, 3.8 says aero parts must be immobile, then 3.9 lays out deflection tests, but the language doesn’t quite connect the dots to say that 3.9 constitutes the working definition of the immobility requirement of 3.8.

            Yet another area of the regs where the FIA seem to be lacking clarity of thought…

    2. RocketTankski
      20th May 2021, 22:22

      Build the wings out of 100mm thick solid titanium to minimise the flexing

    3. elisa barrington
      21st May 2021, 1:37

      How long have you been watching F1? Red Bull has been penalized for similar infractions before. And it should not be allowed to cheat now. Fans want to see fair racing. Otherwise, what’s the point? If RB still have that bendy wing, they should be made to lose time. That’ll stop it and serve as a deterrent to others who may have contemplated doing the same thing. Sir Lewis Hamilton is a magnificent driver who races fair and square. Others should do the same or get out of racing altogether.

      1. How long have YOU been watching F1? This is just par for the course.

        1. Exactly – F1 is an engineering sport just as much as it is a driving sport. I suppose that people can go and watch Indycar if they want to see competition between drivers more than engineers, but frankly that doesn’t interest many of us as much.

  6. RBR knows they have been caught pants down.
    And now just try to distract everyone with another set of lies.

    Don’t worry, Mr. Horner, we’ll see how many tenths your cars gain in Baku.

  7. RBR knows they have been caught by their bottom.
    And now they just try to distract everyone.

    Don’t worry, Mr. Horner, we’ll see how many tenths your cars gain in Baku.

    1. RandomMallard (@)
      20th May 2021, 18:00

      They haven’t yet been caught. They know that they might be, but nothing can be proven yet.

  8. It’s difficult to quantify, but it’s not as much as people think

    Says Horner, totally admitting that there is an ‘it’ (flexible wing) and ‘it’ does give Red Bull some lap time.

    All these things have to work in conjunction with every other component on the car

    Translating: so this deliberate bit of (illegal) flexing we’ve introduced has, of course, been carefully calibrated.
    Why do FIA need tests when C Horner is basically fessing up?

    1. RandomMallard (@)
      20th May 2021, 17:47

      Because the FIA need to prove that RB’s wing is illegal before they could ban it. The same reason they couldn’t just ban Ferrari’s 2019 PU on the spot, they had to actually prove it was illegal

      1. @randommallard I know, I’m just pointing out that it’s all actually blatantly obvious. Obviously, too, some flexibility is inevitable. Equally obvious is that Red Bull have designed the wing to flex at loads higher than the tests and also for a particular scenario, high-speed, on straights. All wings seem to flex to some point. The core question for me whether Red Bull have ‘gone to far’ (for the other teams) in exploiting this flex, or whether Mercedes are more interested in stirring the waters to rattle Red Bull. I mean, 6 tenths at Baku, if true, would be a huge amount. A protest on that basis would be understandable. But maybe Horner is right that it’s less.

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          20th May 2021, 18:48

          @david-br “Equally obvious is that Red Bull have designed the wing to flex at loads higher than the tests” – and thus, it’s legal. You can certainly argue that it’s against the spirit of the rules but that doesn’t matter. DAS went again the spirit of the rules and the FIA didn’t like that so it was banned for the following year. The same should happen here.

          1. The same should happen here.

            What, all the other teams introduce more flexible wings this season to compete with Red Bull, rather than FIA introduce new tests?

          2. @petebaldwin @david-br That would be my preference, too. Part of the joy of the sport is watching one team steal a march on the others and everyone try to catch up.

            Having said that, the deflection tests are a bit different from DAS in that the FIA has explicitly written in the sporting regs that they may revise the tests at any time to enforce the immobility requirement. Arguably, DAS was something the FIA had not even thought to monitor, was completely allowable under the 2020 sporting regs, and therefore it was only “fair” to not ban until the next season’s regs were published; whereas the deflection tests are something the FIA has reserved the right to continually adjust.

          3. The rules dictate how much the wing can flex. The FIA test is insufficient to fully ensure the wing meets the rule. Hence the test is being changed. Red Bull have cleverly engineered a solution that meets the test while breaking the rule.

          4. F1oSaurus (@)
            21st May 2021, 8:06


            You can certainly argue that it’s against the spirit of the rules but that doesn’t matter.

            That a misunderstanding of the rules.

            The thing is Red Bull designs their bodywork to flex but just so it’s not detected by the tests. Purposefully designing bodywork to flex is illegal.

            The reason that Red Bull gets away with their cheating is that it’s hard to put a strict measure on what is allowed. Either way, it’s in direct violation of the rules. If a team protests it Red Bull could be disqualified. It has happened before.

  9. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
    20th May 2021, 17:30

    I thought Lewis wanted competition?

    1. ian dearing
      20th May 2021, 17:38

      Yes, he definitely said he wanted completion and that the opposition should be allowed to circumvent the rules to give him that competition.

    2. @rdotquestionmark My gut feeling is that Red Bull have already been given a boost this season by the new downforce regulations that affected the Mercedes (and Aston Martin) especially. Fine. So we’ve got some ‘competition’ now this season. But getting another 0.6 a lap from flexible wings would be overkill and rightly protested.

      1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
        20th May 2021, 19:26

        Yes but that’s assuming they’re illegal. Let the team protest and due process will dictate.

      2. Those six tenths are Mercedes’ claim, there’s no way of telling if they’re right or not.

        Let them protest Red Bull and we’ll see.

      3. You know the Merc was a lot faster on the straights then the RB.. so those 0.6 seconds are mostly in the head of Toto.

        1. F1oSaurus (@)
          21st May 2021, 8:12

          That’s not true and even if it was it says nothing. We’ve seen Torro Rosso, Haas and Alpine get fastest speed trap figures.

          It’s just sad Horner/Verstappen propaganda to keep the masses lapping up the excuses.

      4. That is rich. Given the fact merc has been given all sort of advantages thru the years, DAS being the latest.

    3. Only the kind of competition he can be assured to win while sleeping. Jenson Button and nico rosberg were too tough.

      1. ian dearing
        20th May 2021, 22:09

        Well to be fair, Mercedes tried to get the best, But Max snapped up Albon, Gasly and the guy no other team wanted who is there now as Max’s No 2.

    4. elisa barrington
      21st May 2021, 1:41

      Sir Lewis Hamilton wants Fair competition. As do all true F1 fans. Red Bull had been penalized for similar infractions before. They should stop before their reputation is irreparably harmed. Sir Lewis Hamilton races fairly. All other drivers can and should do the same. Or get out of racing.

  10. Someone should show this video to Horner, and ask him about the legality of his team’s front wing…..

    Look at the uppermost flaps location at the end of the main strait compared to the apex of turn 3. That’s a lot of movement, and we aren’t even seeing a significant portion of the flap.

    1. RandomMallard (@)
      20th May 2021, 17:50

      Someone should show this video to Wolff, and ask him about the legality of his team’s front wing…..

      Look at the uppermost flaps location at Piratella compared to the apex of turn 7. That’s a lot of movement, and we aren’t even seeing a significant portion of the flap.

      Yeah as others have noted out, any small carbon structure is going to flex. And front wings have different limits and regulations to rear wings.

      1. F1oSaurus (@)
        21st May 2021, 8:15

        @randommallard Wow that’s some whataboutismception. whataboutism from Horner whataboutismed right back at him and then back again to Horner’s whataboutism.

      2. Can barely see anything whereas with Merc its super obvious…

  11. This season is about to be very 2007-ish. A total two-horse race, although for only two drivers, but the race off-track is heating up. Just a matter of time until we hear about some spying regarding RB getting the Merc PU engineers…? (okay I’m exaggerating, but it will be tense)

    1. @hunocsi I don’t know what 2007 F1 season you were watching, but the one I watched was anything but a two-horse race.

      1. In terms of the two standout teams I meant (that’s why I added that this time only two drivers are battling really).

  12. At this rate, things will get ridiculous over the season.

  13. This moaning is all a distraction. Wolff and Hamilton are trying to get Red Bull focusing their attentions in all the wrong places and if they do need to build a new rear wing it’s going to eat into their budget. I’m not sure I want to listening to the whinging all season from these teams. I just want to see the racing.

  14. Christian is starting to sound very nervous. Almost like he can foresee Max jumping ship or something.

    1. ian dearing
      21st May 2021, 9:33

      I think if Max thinks he lost the WDC because of the car he will. Isn’t this his 7th season (2015)? So his future in F1 is relying on a half dozen engineers and a current building site producing an engine that will take him to the title in 2025, His 11th year in F1.
      Although my money is on him winning the WDC either this year or next, and staying with RB.

  15. Mc Laren is getting into it too asking the FIA to take immediate action. Merc. is not alone. Hold my beer, watch this:

  16. If Max is 0.6s faster in Baku they will be only 0.9s down in race pace versus Hamilton, great..

  17. Does anyone seriously think that mercedes has been all above board these last seven years?

    1. Of course they have, but, following the rules to a tee comes at a cost. Sometimes your competitors can build faster cars by circumventing the rules. Which is why Ferrari had the fastest car in 17, 18 and 19, and RB this year.

      1. Ferrari had the fastest car only in 2018 and for a while, overall they were even, mercedes was overall faster in 2017 and by far the fastest in 2019, race pace is more important than quali, and mercedes also was faster in 2021 so far.

        1. F1oSaurus (@)
          21st May 2021, 8:18


          race pace is more important than quali

          But only when it’s Hamilton who gets pole and even if Verstappen has much better race pace.

          If Mercedes wins by definition they had the fastest car. However, if Verstappen wins then Mercedes had the fastest car and he defeated the almighty Mercedes.

          Am I summing it up correctly?

          Formula 1 site analysis shows Red Bull fastest again on Thursday in Monaco. One tenth faster both on quali run as in long runs.

    2. Raynaud (@)
      21st May 2021, 8:24

      Not entirely sure, but the change of tires by Pirrelli was a big help for Mercedes. Before the V6 they had a lot of trouble overheating the rear tires. I remember races that Schumacher and Rosberg were competitive for 3/4 of the race and then suddenly have to slow down because of tire problems.

  18. Is Horner basically conceding the point by saying the wing is worth a tenth, prolly?

    1. @dmw Yep, and if he’s admitting tenth, I’d imagine it’s a more upward figure…

  19. I believe that the regulations have always allowed for more movement in the front wing, Especially since they made them wider a few years ago which was always going to create a bit more deflection.

    I also think that deflection of the rear wing is worth a lot more lap time, Not simply in terms of the reduction in drag giving a speed gain on the straights but as it also gives teams the option to run higher downforce levels which is a benefit in the corners.
    The introduction of DRS for instance is why we don’t see those super, super skinny & almost flat rear wings at Spa/Monza anymore.

  20. I don’t understand the problem with Red Bull’s rear wing. I’ve read all the articles here and do not understand the specific reason why Mercedes’ claims the rear wing is illegal. If the wing passes the static load tests isn’t it okay? Isn’t this the only metric FIA controls – static deformation? It is impossible to engineer a rear wing that does not deform under increased aerodynamic load, it is just a matter of how much deformation is allowed at a given speed or aerodynamic force. Shouldn’t Mercedes just build a rear wing that passes the static load test but deforms at high speed to decrease drag?

    1. As Capt. Jack Sparrow said, “The problem is not the problem. The problem is you attitude about the problem.”
      Rest assured that every wing on every car in any of the F1 races has met ALL of the regulations. Static load tests and resultant deflections are not that hard to do and the measurements will form part of the routine testing done on ALL the cars at either every race or on a random selection for inspection. Just like weigh-ins. Called scrutineering.
      Any car or part of that does not meet tech inspection and testing, will either be DQ’d or sent back for adjustment. It isn’t very often that a team is called-out and that costs $$$ and race results get tossed out.
      In this case, the FIA is addressing a perceived issue by changing the testing and measurement requirement. Wings will still flex, not as much and teams will still try to maximize performance. It is what they do and why we are here.
      And yes, the whole thing is still childish.

      1. It seems to me that to change how deflection is measured mid-season would be unfair. If the FIA is going to change the rules in response to minor innovations I don’t see how this sport can function without identical cars.

    2. @ryanoceros

      Shouldn’t Mercedes just build a rear wing that passes the static load test but deforms at high speed to decrease drag?

      Wolff said they developed one last year and implied that they would use a ‘softer’ wing at Baku if FIA doesn’t introduce the new tests beforehand.

      1. So Mercedes admits it will also ‘cheat’ then? ;)

        1. AJ (@asleepatthewheel)
          21st May 2021, 9:42

          It isn’t ‘cheating’ until after Baku ;)

          1. It isn’t cheating now either. They passed the current tests

  21. The perfect resolution to all this bickering, name calling etc, would be for Ferrari to quietly go about their business and for one of their drivers to end up being world champions.

  22. Fair dinkum, all y’all complaining about RBRs wing… how long y’all been watching F1? This is par for the course. Teams *always* push the limits of what’s legal. Dieter wrote an article this week about it!

    If you don’t like it, don’t watch it.

    Indeed for me, it’s one of the *reasons* I watch F1; I love finding out all the ways the engineers are bending the rules (or wings, in this case). It’s genius!

    It’ll get clamped down on, and then it’ll be the next thing. And the next thing. And then the next thing. And I love it.

    1. @justrhysism Sure, who says we’re not enjoying it while complaining?!
      I think the flexible wing is ‘genius’ too on the part of the engineers, and a really elegant technical solution, improving performance by the bodywork adjusting to streamline itself precisely where needed (on the long straights). However I can see there may be safety issues, and certainly cost issues, in allowing free rein to flexible bodywork, so the easiest, most efficient solution is probably to say ‘none allowed’ and then tolerate a certain amount within test parameters. And those parameters will inevitably change when other teams complain.

      1. @david-br why would there be cost issues? There’s a budget cap. A team has their own discretion whether they think investing in such a thing is worth the cost.

        In regards to safety: I suspect the load and durability testing by the teams is vastly in excess of what the FIA does for those critical parts. Especially for RBR who have a shot at the title, but not if their car fails due to failing rear wings.

  23. Leigh Hampton
    21st May 2021, 21:29

    All the teams look for ways to peg back their rivals, recent examples being

    Racing point brake ducts
    Mercedes DAS.
    Engine party modes

    I’m not a fan of all of this and equally the way f1 and the FIA change the rules to peg back teams, an example of this is cost cap to provide a level playing field (agree with) but also wind tunnel restrictions for teams who finish the constructors championship higher up.

    There should be a level playing (cost cap) and then open regulations so teams can innovate within the cost cap.

  24. Discrimination in f1? Right here. all teams bypass the rules.

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