There’s a belief that Ferrari are pushing beyond the limits of regulations when it comes to aero design and wind tunnel usage.
The suspicion is that Ferrari have used their ‘relationship’ with Haas to develop the aerodynamics of the SF15-T over and beyond the 60 hours a week limit allowed under current F1 regulations.
TJ13 smelled a rat when in January at a NSACAR media event, Haas chose to announce his F1 team Haas announced he would be using the Ferrari wind tunnel rather than his own state of the art facility in the USA.
Having been the first to release this story, TJ13 updated readers in last weeks Daily News and Comment section on Saturday.
The Haas owned Windshear complex in North Carolina was only the third full scale wind tunnel to be built in the world and has had many customers from NASCAR, IndyCar, Commercial Auto builders and even in previous times, Formula One teams.
At the same NASCAR media event, the explanation was given that under the regulations, a Formula One team cans only use one nominated wind tunnel.
Yet Haas is not bound by the current competitor regulations on wind tunnel time and CFD usage, because Haas F1 is not a competitor until 2016.
One reason Haas could be using the wind tunnel in Maranello is because Italian based Dallara are building the Haas F1 chassis and there is some sense in using a wind tunnel more local to them than one in the United States of America.
However, Haas had indicated much of the engineering and design work would be carried out from Haas F1 base in the states, this now appears to have changed.
The ‘only one wind tunnel allowed’ explanation for this doesn’t fly, because as previously explained Haas is not yet restricted to only one wind tunnel.
Ferrari rocked up in Barcelona with a car said by some to be 90% new from an aerodynamic perspective. Given wind tunnel restrictions, this was a huge number of changes to have passed through the Ferrari facility in the time available.
Of course the FIA have sent their man down to check out what has been going on and a Ferrari spokesperson commented following the visit.
“As is allowed under the existing regulations, we are allowing Haas to use the wind tunnel in Maranello. But we do not have a shared wind tunnel programme. In aerodynamic terms we are two completely separate entities.
The use of the wind tunnel is separate; there are separate models and parts and also the personnel are completely different.
We do not share staff.
We were visited by Mr Budkowski on behalf of the FIA. They have confirmed that everything is in order and we are well within the regulations.”
Wind tunnel sharing is quite within Formula One regulations, but restricted.
The big question is what will the other teams do in response. Will Mercedes be able to recruit a ‘new’ team and use their wind tunnel freedom the year before they become a competitor in the sport?
Questions have been raised recently over the apparent lack of construction meant to be occurring up in Charlotte.
In fact, will Haas F1 actually turn up next year, or find some reason to defer their entry for one more year – or never.