I have not head this story before. By my definition, Chapman cheated, this gave the 72 a performance advantage. Chapman could be given credit for the "cheat" Red Bull and others have been accused of with the wing deflection games being played with since. In my opinion this episode shows that in 1972 Chapman was well on his way to the "Delorean school of ethics" and not just the pure racer that he was previously.
Emerson Fiitipaldi won the drivers championship that year and the type 72 won 4 grand prix by Austria. The book does not state which races were run with the bungee wing.
Interesting, I'd not heard that one before either, but does Michael Oliver's Lotus 72 book corroborate this? As the Great Man isn't here to explain, I'll attempt to do it for him, although I think he'd have been in some trouble if another team had protested, though it obviously passed the scrutineers. I'm sure Chapman would have seen it as clever exploitation of the regs, not actual 'cheating'. Others might have disagreed of course, especially those trying to keep up with Lotus, and I'd be surprised if he was the only team doing this kind of thing with rear wings at the time. As he would have explained, every
material distorts or compresses under load, though not always to a measurable degree, he would have had a logical and probably fairly convincing explanation for the presence of rubber in the rear wing structure, as those who knew him will testify, he could be very hard to argue against. He was also fascinated, though only in a strictly engineering sense as far as I know, by the properties of rubber in all its forms. In the early 70s, my department was struggling a little with the rubber seals we were using to develop the Company's VARI process, Vacuum Assisted Resin Injection, by which all Lotus car bodies and JCL Marine boat hulls were eventually to be moulded, and Chapman would come along to inspect progress almost every day he was in residence, he was wont to point out "Rubber doesn't compress, it only distorts", and we were to work around this fact, as Team clearly were with the 72. He came to work in Hazel's 450SL a couple of times to show us the rubber door seals which had impressed him, Mercedes used quite large solid rubber, fairly soft but with a hard surface, we were using hollow seals on our moulds, a larger version of what Lotus were using on all the road cars. He also sent me and colleague Albert Adams who'd been with Lotus since their Hornsey days, to inspect the seals around his front & rear doors at his home East Carleton Manor, palatial by the standards of the day, which he'd been similarly impressed by. As were we, on what he paid us, we couldn't even afford decent double glazing on our own modest residences back then.