TD018 explained as FIA clamp down on tricks hidden under rubber coverings

Michelle Foster
Ferrari SF-23 front wings and engine cover in the Barcelona pit lane. Spain May 2023

Formula 1 will be clamping down on flexi wings in Singapore with the FIA suspecting teams could be hiding tricks under rubber coverings to beat the load-bearing tests.

公式1的规定明确禁止bodyw灵活ork with Article 3.2.2 of the Technical Regulations stating that “all aerodynamic components or bodywork influencing the car’s aerodynamic performance must be rigidly secured and immobile”.

However, this season the FIA has questioned whether some teams, unnamed it must be said, are using trickery to circumvent motorsport’s governing body’s tests.

TD018 comes into effect at the Singapore Grand Prix

Explaining their point of view, FIA Single-Seater Director Nikolas Tombazis spoke of “levers” that allow deflection and tricks hidden under rubber coverings.

“If under a carbon surface, we have levers that allow a deflection in one direction and not in another, we can consider this a mechanism,” he

“Another thing we have said in the past is that it’s not acceptable when a component has relative motion against an adjacent element, sliding in a different direction [from it].

“What happened recently? Some teams have components adjacent to each other that have a fairly high movement but do not slide [in tandem] because these areas are covered with rubber material.

“We do not consider this acceptable and, for this reason, we have made a clarification.”

He went on to explain that to test the flexibility criteria in Formula 1, loads are applied to the wings and a “certain deflection is allowed”.

But, he conceded that the “static tests” carried out to check are “never perfect because the direction of the [test] load you apply is always a bit different from the load that is on the track when it experiences genuine aerodynamic force.

“There may be differences and, for this reason, in the regulations there are some general and conceptual specifications that, in essence, prohibit mechanisms.

“For example, one could draw a wing that, when applying the forces of the FIA test, is fixed but when applying any other load, it could be more flexible. For this reason, we have been clarifying for years that mechanisms are not legal and we have written several clarifications on what we consider a mechanism.”


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McLaren predict less ‘than a tenth of a second’ hit

McLaren team boss Andrea Stella reckons the FIA’s new technical directive could cost teams using trickery just under a tenth of a second.

But, given how close the pack is behind Red Bull, that tenth could have an impact on Formula 1’s pecking order.

“No more than a tenth of a second,” Stella told, “not enough to change the values at the top.”

“But,” he continued, “in the group behind Red Bull it could have an impact given that we are many teams enclosed in a couple of tenths. We’ll see in Marina Bay…”

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has previously spoken abouthis hope that the new TD slows runaway championship leaders Red Bull. He, however, concedes it’s unlikely to do that.

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