Evidence F1 rule makers are inadequate

The much-hated (to most F1 fans) shark fin and T-wing are no longer allowed starting next season.

Talks in Paris on Tuesday between the leading teams, FIA-Director Jean Todt and Liberty Media top dog Chase Carey resulted in new regulations concerning aerodynamic parts on F1 cars. The regulations have been modified so that the shark fin and T-wing will disappear.

The shark fin and T wing appeared with the introduction of new technical regulations starting this year. Most teams (re) adopted the shark fin, others, and notably Mercedes, also featured  a T-wing, an “extra” wing in front of the rear wing.

Shark fins aren’t new, and were used by teams between 2008 and 2010, as they stabilise the airflow passing to the rear wing. The new (and broader) front wings are causing more turbulence. This combined with this season’s greater aerodynamic liberties, brought the shark fin back. Back in 2010 shark fins were outlawed as by-product of outlawing McLaren’s F-duct.

Many were unhappy about the introduction of the T wing, which was seen as an unwelcome loophole in the regulations.

Readers will remember RedBull’s Christian Horner expressing his dislike: “I think they should be banned under the grounds of safety and costs, and that’s not just because we don’t have one.”

The issue was made worse when the T wing fell of Valtteri Bottas’ car in Bahrein, damaging the floor of Verstappen’s RedBull.

Policy makers grabbed their chance on Tuesday and made arrangements to limit possibilities to exploit such aerodynamic loopholes in the future.

The proposal must still be approved by the world motorsport council, but this seems a formality.

It must be pointed out that the advent of T wings shows a wholesale inadequacy of how the regulation process is formulated prior to a season. The regs underwent a last minute change before winter testing. Instead of updating the latest set, the rule makers took an earlier draft closer to 2016 aero thus exposing the loophole. A simple admin error perhaps?

When you consider an F1 team employs nearly 1000 people and a significant portion to look at rules, really the FIA need to keep up.

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4 responses to “Evidence F1 rule makers are inadequate

  1. Who are these fans who are so influential? Can’t say I’m bothered be shark fins or t-wings or wider tyres or DRS or whatever from an aesthetic point. What excites me is the innovation, the creative genius, the bleeding edge that the risk takers in the design department decided was worth the punt. The problem is the amount of money that Mercedes and Ferrari and all have invested in the circus is protected by the rules to prevent the modern day “Colin Chapman” from inventing; a new, totally ground breaking, solution that embarrasses them. The deck is stacked against the Tyrrells & Manors of this world.

    • The shark fins are kind of cool IMHO; the T-wings though look both silly and unsafe. As one commentator said, they look like they’re there to blow bubbles. Very expensive bubbles…

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