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A fantastic example of how the top teams are able to beat everyone else…because they have more money.
Wing deflection is legal, to an extent, although most don’t understand this and think that a wing bends, the team must be breaking the rules. However it’s clearly prescribed in the FIA Technical Regulations (Article 3.9 – bodywork flexibility).
This technology is very expensive to develop and is one of the many ways the top teams effectively destroy everyone else. For example, a front wing assembly can take as long as two-or-more weeks to go from drawing to fabrication. And that’s after a few weeks in design, FEA (finite element analysis), CFD (computational fluid dynamics), and a number of other tools that lead to a final product in the virtual world.
Each simulation has a margin of error, so when they stack up, you’re always hoping the final result is exactly what you expect, with an added safety factor. But in bodywork deflection, any safety factor that resides in the end-product, means less deflection (in simple terms).
For teams like Sauber, Force India, Haas, etc., they do not have the time, people, and capacity to put maximum effort into bodywork deflections (although these teams will have some deflection as all of them do). More money is more people, software, NDT test rigs, machines, instruments, and all the rest…the result of which is a perfect front wing assembly with flaps that deflect exactly 14.999mm when tested by the FIA before each race (limit is 15mm @ 1000N of vertical load).
“We could not reach an agreement for next year,” says Brawn, “But the discussion has now started, and we want to make sure it continues.”
At a venue which has played host to an array of decisive championship moments – both good and bad – for Ferrari, Sebastian Vettel now pins his hopes on one of the most dramatic ends to a season in Formula One history, starting with Suzuka, a venue at which they last tasted success back in 2004.
Clearly, along with trying to find some extra pace, Ferrari need some extenuating circumstances in order to claw themselves back into the championship fight; Mercedes have won all hybrid era races and locked out the front row from 2014-2016. They would’ve locked out the front row last year, but a gearbox penalty for Valtteri Bottas ended their run….
Lewis Hamilton says he doesn’t understand the inconsistencies surrounding rules over making two moves while defending position.
“The same rules are not always applied to the same things,” Hamilton said. “As far as I am aware, when I drive down the straight I’m not allowed to move twice – but there are drivers that do move twice and nothing happens to them.
“Maybe there are some drivers that moved twice and then something does happen to them. I was really surprised when I watched the replay because it was a clear two moves.
“But when you are doing 200mph things happen so fast. I thought we were going to crash. I thought at that moment the win might be going and I might be going up in the air.
“I was really surprised that when I pulled out of it I managed to keep the car in one piece and we made it to the second corner and it actually ended up being awesome racing.”