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#1 Whitelightning

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 00:04

I think this topic deserves its own thread.

From The French GP onwards the FIA will be carrying out new tests on the plank and floor and also monitoring wear and bouncing.

After comments made from Toto Wolff about being shocked that teams have been exploiting the stiffness of the planks and floor other teams also were shocked to hear this. Apparently it’s something that the FIA noted but is only coming to light after a meeting with teams. Toto was furious and asked the FIA for clarification on exactly what was found and for changes to come in asap.

During investigations on the planks and floors, the technical commissioners discovered that some teams deliberately play with the stiffness of the planks. When the FIA threatened that the middle part of the ground would be uniformly stiff in the future, RB & Ferrari opposed.

Their competitors suspect that the floor flexes in certain places for both teams, thus increasing the tunnel effect under the car. This means there’s enough air between the chassis and the base plate so that the floor can move which can generate significantly more downforce and would possibly be an explanation as to why the Ferrari & Red Bull are are so much better than the rest – even though they’re externally different cars.

The 2mm tolerance of the floors will be rigorously enforced and the stiffness around the floor hole must now be uniform for a radial distance of 15mm outside the periphery – with a variance not exceeding 10 percent either way.

The FIA added: “Competitors will be required to demonstrate compliance with these provisions by way of a detailed inspection of both the CAD and the physical installation, as well as Finite Element analysis.”

While it is not 100% certain which teams were potentially playing around with flexi floors, Andrew Shovlin reckoned that the change could help move Mercedes nearer to the front: “When it came to light, we realised there's opportunities that we've perhaps not been taking or exploiting.”

So it won't affect us in how we run our car. It may well be it affects our competitors, and, by virtue of that, we move a little bit closer.”

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#2 ANF

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 00:20

More on this here: https://www.motorspo...cedes/10332153/



#3 AncientLurker

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 00:59

This is a big cheat. Flexing the plank to increase downforce AND keep it off the ground and avoid not only the bouncing, but wear for post race scrutineering. Should have put the cars in parc ferme after silverstone and DQed anyone running a floor that flexes more than the 2mm. Keep them until you can design a test if you need to.

If a 0.2mm wing gap is too much tolerance then 4mm is an easy DQ.

Edited by AncientLurker, 04 July 2022 - 01:08.


#4 RekF1

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 01:11

This is a big cheat. Flexing the plank to increase downforce AND keep it off the ground and avoid not only the bouncing, but wear for post race scrutineering. Should have put the cars in parc ferme after silver stone and DQed anyone running a floor that flexes more than the 2mm. Keep them until you can design a test if you need to.
If a 0.2mm wing ago is too much tolerance then 4mm is an easy DQ.

is that 4mm more than other teams, or just 4mm? I'm not sure what the parameters are but I'd be surprised if the floor remains within them if a driver rides a curb for instance.

Okay, just read the link provided. Which I should have done before.

Edited by RekF1, 04 July 2022 - 01:16.


#5 Gintonious

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 05:07

Very clever way around it. Toto is probably more annoyed that they didn’t think of it too.

#6 renzmann

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 06:25

I've said it in the Red Bull thread: I think it's a trick, not cheating. The 2 mm only aply to certain areas of the plank. The rules aren't specific elsewhere, so I'd be disappointed if teams hadn't milked that loophole.

 

From what I know now, I reckon this is an idea similar to Merc using the crash structure as a wing-like element in their sidepod design. Certainly not meant to be that way, but clever.



#7 Squeed

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 06:39

If this is the primary element that’s creating the separation in Red Bull’s and Ferrari’s dominance in 1 lap pace, the season is about to get much spicier. 


Edited by Squeed, 04 July 2022 - 06:56.


#8 BleuMurmure

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 06:44

If Wolff was shocked by this then the brain drain at Brackley must have been huge since last year.



#9 New Britain

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 06:53

I've said it in the Red Bull thread: I think it's a trick, not cheating. The 2 mm only aply to certain areas of the plank. The rules aren't specific elsewhere, so I'd be disappointed if teams hadn't milked that loophole.

 

From what I know now, I reckon this is an idea similar to Merc using the crash structure as a wing-like element in their sidepod design. Certainly not meant to be that way, but clever.

Maybe but, as they have for many years, the technical regs still stipulate:

 

'3.2.2...all aerodynamic components or bodywork influencing the car’s aerodynamic performance must be rigidly secured and immobile....'

 

and this comes under 'General Principles and Legality Checking'.



#10 Pimpwerx

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 06:54

It's not a cheat IMO. Aero load tests get circumvented all the time. I don't think we call it cheating when the FW and RW flex a certain amount, or when we see the floor edges clearly dragging on the asphalt. So, I don't think this is cheating. It's different from the fuel flow thing. That seemed much more dishonest than this. This seems like teams just exploiting inadequate load tests, as they've done for decades now.



#11 Whitelightning

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 06:58

Redbull and Ferrari have been clever, like last year with the flexi rear wing and then Mercedes with their rear wing which apparently gave them good straight line speed.

I’m not sure how much this will effect those teams who have been doing it.

#12 Squeed

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 07:01

Redbull and Ferrari have been clever, like last year with the flexi rear wing and then Mercedes with their rear wing which apparently gave them good straight line speed.

I’m not sure how much this will effect those teams who have been doing it.

 

I expect it’s made a big difference on bumpy circuits. 



#13 jst

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 07:28

Redbull and Ferrari have been clever, like last year with the flexi rear wing and then Mercedes with their rear wing which apparently gave them good straight line speed.

 

Mercs was rear suspension, that would stall the diffuser at high speed, reducing drag. Merc can't use that suspension this year



#14 Ferrim

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 07:38

If Wolff was shocked by this then the brain drain at Brackley must have been huge since last year.


*pretends to be shocked*

#15 mjjTT

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 07:43

I just hope that the FIA doesn't become MIA like last year.



#16 Zoe

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 07:46

 or when we see the floor edges clearly dragging on the asphalt. 

 

I was wondering about that. The Mercedes looked like the floor edges are really soooo close to the track surface that I was juts waiting for sparks to fly. OTOH any smart trick designer wouldn't put titanium skid blocks there in order to not obviously reveal the trick!



#17 Ali_G

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 08:00

It's not a cheat IMO. Aero load tests get circumvented all the time. I don't think we call it cheating when the FW and RW flex a certain amount, or when we see the floor edges clearly dragging on the asphalt. So, I don't think this is cheating. It's different from the fuel flow thing. That seemed much more dishonest than this. This seems like teams just exploiting inadequate load tests, as they've done for decades now.


I’ve pointed this out many times.

1. The rules state that aero devices cannot flex at all. This is impossible given the reality of material science.
2. Stewards set allowable tolerances as part of scrutineering.
3. Last year, those tolerances were changed mid season.

#18 Ali_G

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 08:01

I was wondering about that. The Mercedes looked like the floor edges are really soooo close to the track surface that I was juts waiting for sparks to fly. OTOH any smart trick designer wouldn't put titanium skid blocks there in order to not obviously reveal the trick!


I posted this yesterday. The flexing on the Merc floor is incredible. Why are no other teams complaining about this. It’s effectively providing Mercedes with a seal along the floor edge.



#19 ColeTrickle44

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 08:04

It actually annoys me that they have 2 races to sort it. That’s free points.

Nonsense just like last year

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#20 ColeTrickle44

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 08:05

I posted this yesterday. The flexing on the Merc floor is incredible. Why are no other teams complaining about this. It’s effectively providing Mercedes with a seal along the floor edge.

Because it’s allowed. The other teams will have to run this low as well when the illegal bits are fixed.

Also, this is why Mercedes’ doesn’t work on bumpy tracks.

Flexing the floor in the middle along the plank is the feature which allows RBR and Ferrari to run the car higher, softer and more consistently than Mercedes’. Have had had to run the car stiff and ultra low to try and get close.

Edited by ColeTrickle44, 04 July 2022 - 08:09.


#21 Ali_G

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 08:17

Because it’s allowed. The other teams will have to run this low as well when the illegal bits are fixed.

Also, this is why Mercedes’ doesn’t work on bumpy tracks.

Flexing the floor in the middle along the plank is the feature which allows RBR and Ferrari to run the car higher, softer and more consistently than Mercedes’. Have had had to run the car stiff and ultra low to try and get close.


How on earth is such level of flex allowed under the rules. Could you point out the specific exemption to the movable and flexible aero devices reg?

#22 Clatter

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 08:18

I posted this yesterday. The flexing on the Merc floor is incredible. Why are no other teams complaining about this. It’s effectively providing Mercedes with a seal along the floor edge.


Think what it would be like without the stays. Some teams really took the mickey with their floors and they were given a get out of jail free card.

#23 Ali_G

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 08:21

Think what it would be like without the stays. Some teams really took the mickey with their floors and they were given a get out of jail free card.


There’s still the question of the second stay in Canada and how Mercedes appeared to know about its allowability ahead of the race.

#24 New Britain

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 08:24

I’ve pointed this out many times.

1. The rules state that aero devices cannot flex at all. This is impossible given the reality of material science.
2. Stewards set allowable tolerances as part of scrutineering.
3. Last year, those tolerances were changed mid season.

Everyone knows that it is impossible to make bodywork that cannot flex at all. The point is that some bodywork is designed to flex considerably more than is necessary, and that is what the FIA should be disallowing. This was eloquently explained by Paddy Lowe in a WMSC hearing back in July 2007.

The specific tests that the FIA employs are in addition to the overarching rule 3.2.2; they do not supersede it.



#25 pUs

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 08:29

Will certainly be interesting to see how this affects the pecking order. It might make Mercedes close the gap somwehat, but still not sure it's some sort of magic bullet - if it was, I would have expected RB to run its car as low as Mercedes. But it just doesn't seem to be designed that way.



#26 Broekschaap

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 08:35

If the porpoising is a safety problem and such a flexi floor prevents it wouldn't it be more logical to just allow it?


Edited by Broekschaap, 04 July 2022 - 08:36.


#27 ColeTrickle44

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 08:38

How on earth is such level of flex allowed under the rules. Could you point out the specific exemption to the movable and flexible aero devices reg?


Well I suspect what you are seeing is the Mercedes’ slammed to the floor from the outset and not flexing. I’m sure that are is very easy and visible to measure deflection and make sure it is within the rules - however if it’s flexing too much I’m sure the FIA will introduce measures to stop it. Maybe they force the teams to run additional stays 🫣

#28 ColeTrickle44

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 08:40

If the porpoising is a safety problem and such a flexi floor prevents it wouldn't it be more logical to just allow it?


You would have to design who concept around it. Locking in. An unfair advantage.

Much better to allow teams to run suspension components they’ve all run in previous years

#29 mjjTT

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 08:41

If the porpoising is a safety problem and such a flexi floor prevents it wouldn't it be more logical to just allow it?

A flexing floor doesn't seem to work for Mercedes.



#30 Ali_G

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 08:46

Well I suspect what you are seeing is the Mercedes’ slammed to the floor from the outset and not flexing. I’m sure that are is very easy and visible to measure deflection and make sure it is within the rules - however if it’s flexing too much I’m sure the FIA will introduce measures to stop it. Maybe they force the teams to run additional stays 🫣


That video clearly demonstrates the floor flexing downward.

Back 10 years ago, it was Red Bull being accused of a flexing floor with the leading edges bending down under load in order to provide a better seal for the underfloor area.

I agree with others on here. Stays should never have been allowed. Floor rigidity can be wholly achieved by strengthening the floor, even if that puts cars over the minimum weight limit.

#31 Casey

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 08:53

Mercedes floor egde on the track looks like a game of flappy birds

and i'm sure we all saw the front wing going down by some insane margin at the straights with the onboard cam .



#32 ColeTrickle44

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 08:53

That video clearly demonstrates the floor flexing downward.

Back 10 years ago, it was Red Bull being accused of a flexing floor with the leading edges bending down under load in order to provide a better seal for the underfloor area.

I agree with others on here. Stays should never have been allowed. Floor rigidity can be wholly achieved by strengthening the floor, even if that puts cars over the minimum weight limit.


Pretty sure the external edges of the floor are allowed to flex up to 8mm and they are all running at the limit. Much more visible on the Mercedes’ as it has to run much lower.

The deflection in this area will be regaularly tested especially this season given the requests to run stays to stiffen it ..

If it’s flexing to much then I’m sure teams will complain and it will be addressed. We may see similar from RBR and Ferrari when removing the trick of flexing the centre of the floor is removed they will be forced to run lower to generate the same downforce

#33 Casey

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 08:56

Pretty sure the external edges of the floor are allowed to flex up to 8mm and they are all running at the limit. Much more visible on the Mercedes’ as it has to run much lower.

The deflection in this area will be regaularly tested especially this season given the requests to run stays to stiffen it ..

If it’s flexing to much then I’m sure teams will complain and it will be addressed. We may see similar from RBR and Ferrari when removing the trick of flexing the centre of the floor is removed they will be forced to run lower to generate the same downforce

 

Cool , I didn't know that :up:

 

I'm sure you can show it in the rules then .



#34 ColeTrickle44

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 08:59

Cool , I didn't know that :up:

I'm sure you can show it in the rules then .


I read it on here 🤷‍♂️. I’m sure if there is a problem the other teams will protest. It’s not exactly hidden is it!

#35 mjjTT

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 09:10

What happens with the team budget? Team makes a part that is within regulation. FIA changes the regulation within the season. So team has to design and make a new part.

A bit what happend with RB's rear wing last year. Complied with the regulations. And the FIA changed the rules mid season.



#36 Paa

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 09:44

- RB & Ferrari floors are flexing. 

- But, they comply with the requested load limits and measurement so within acceptable range.

- Yeah, but the "general principle"!!!!

 

- What about Merc? Edge of floor seems to flex a lot.

- Yeah, they visibly flex a lot, but they are within the allowed tolerance limit.

- General principle?? Where are you?


Edited by Paa, 04 July 2022 - 09:45.


#37 xstatic345

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 09:46

Cool , I didn't know that :up:

I'm sure you can show it in the rules then .


3.15.6 Outboard Floor Flexibility

a) Bodywork may deflect no more than 8mm vertically when a [0, 0, -500]N load is applied to it at [XR=-450, ±450, 155]. The load will be applied using a 50mm diameter ram and an adaptor of the same size. Teams must supply the latter when such a test is deemed necessary.

b) Bodywork may deflect no more than 3mm vertically when a [0, 0, -100]N load is
applied to it at [XR=-450, ±600, 60]. The load will be applied using a 50mm diameter
ram and an adaptor of the same size. Teams must supply the latter when such a test
is deemed necessary.

I assume the first point is the outer edge of the floor and the second is further inboard. The key for identifying the locations from the coordinates is at the beginning of the technical regulations but no time for that right now.

#38 smitten

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 09:48

What happens with the team budget? Team makes a part that is within regulation. FIA changes the regulation within the season. So team has to design and make a new part.

A bit what happend with RB's rear wing last year. Complied with the regulations. And the FIA changed the rules mid season.

The regulation is not changing, just the test.  If the team has built a compliant floor then all is well.  If they have built a non-compliant floor then the budget hit is their own problem, surely?

 

We've seen tests on allegedly flexible parts being increased in previous years so a team knowingly triyng to flaunt the rules could reasonable expect the test to be tightened.



#39 Paa

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 09:53

The regulation is not changing, just the test.  If the team has built a compliant floor then all is well.  If they have built a non-compliant floor then the budget hit is their own problem, surely?

 

We've seen tests on allegedly flexible parts being increased in previous years so a team knowingly triyng to flaunt the rules could reasonable expect the test to be tightened.

 

The tests are the regulation.

"Bodywork shouldn't flex" is incomprehensible in engineering terms. It doesn't mean anything.

The specified tests gives any meaning of it. X amount of flex, under Y force at Z dimension. --> this specifies what is allowed and what is not. This is the regulation. And they are changing this.



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#40 mjjTT

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 09:54

The regulation is not changing, just the test.  If the team has built a compliant floor then all is well.  If they have built a non-compliant floor then the budget hit is their own problem, surely?

 

We've seen tests on allegedly flexible parts being increased in previous years so a team knowingly triyng to flaunt the rules could reasonable expect the test to be tightened.

But aren't test parameters part of the regulations? You design a part that complies with the regulations. In this case how much a floor is allowed to flex at certain points.

 

edit: I see that PAA already answered.


Edited by mjjTT, 04 July 2022 - 09:55.


#41 P123

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 10:00

I posted this yesterday. The flexing on the Merc floor is incredible. Why are no other teams complaining about this. It’s effectively providing Mercedes with a seal along the floor edge.

 

An on and off seal for 0.25s at a time...  surely not desirable!  But if not passing the tests then up to the teams to strengthen the floors.



#42 smitten

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 10:02

The tests are the regulation.

"Bodywork shouldn't flex" is incomprehensible in engineering terms. It doesn't mean anything.

The specified tests gives any meaning of it. X amount of flex, under Y force at Z dimension. --> this specifies what is allowed and what is not. This is the regulation. And they are changing this.

 

 

But aren't test parameters part of the regulations? You design a part that complies with the regulations. In this case how much a floor is allowed to flex at certain points.

 

edit: I see that PAA already answered.

I get the point, but it depends how the specific reg is worded, I think. 

 

If a part must be 'fixed', and we all know that is impossible, then the FIA devise a reasonable test.    If the test is shown to be too lenient (for whatever reason) then the FIA can enhance the test.



#43 timmy bolt

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 10:14

It's always been the case that a test to ensure adherence with the regulation can be changed mid season if it is deemed the regulation is being circumvented by an inadequate test.

Ultimately Ferrari and RB know what the regulation is but identified the test was inadequate. I wouldn't call this cheating btw. This has been happening for a long time. As has changing the tests when identified.

#44 smitten

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 10:18

It's always been the case that a test to ensure adherence with the regulation can be changed mid season if it is deemed the regulation is being circumvented by an inadequate test.

Ultimately Ferrari and RB know what the regulation is but identified the test was inadequate. I wouldn't call this cheating btw. This has been happening for a long time. As has changing the tests when identified.

 

I think it could be cheating if the team has designed it deliberately to pass the test but exceed the allowed levels of flex in other circumstances for performance reasons.  But then we're back to the old chestnuts of intent and spirit of the rules.
 



#45 ColeTrickle44

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 10:21

What happens with the team budget? Team makes a part that is within regulation. FIA changes the regulation within the season. So team has to design and make a new part.
A bit what happend with RB's rear wing last year. Complied with the regulations. And the FIA changed the rules mid season.


The FIA said before the season started they'd police this area if teams were pushing it. The budget implications are on the teams who’ve exploited this area. They’ve had over a third of a season of an advantage

#46 ColeTrickle44

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 10:23

https://www.autospor...-abuse/8248871/

#47 Gareth

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 10:29

Standard stuff when it comes to exploiting flex, IMO.

 

You can't call it cheating if a rival team does it - if they meet the tolerance tests in place at the time, they are fine and it's legal for them to go racing.

 

You can't call it unfair if your team has exploited it and the FIA acts to bring in new tolerance tests mid-season to take away your exploit - this is all part of the rules and a known risk of exploiting flex in your designs.

 

That's the game. Has been for years.



#48 shure

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 10:38

Interesting admission from that article:

 

 

"With the new regulation, it is inevitable that there may be some areas which were not properly predicted in terms of flexibility, and that may have to be enhanced as we go along.

loosely translated, we didn't do our homework properly.

 

If they intended no flex anywhere then I get why they'd be miffed, although ultimately it's up to them to write rules properly.  I can see why they'd want to crack down if that's the case and it is their prerogative to do so, although I'm not really a fan of moving goalposts.  Although moving forward it does seem to be an area which might help with the porpoising issue.  Is there a reason why they wouldn't want flexible floors at all?  I get the general rigid bodywork regulation, but as shown above they already make allowances in some areas, so what is the main objection to the principle of it?



#49 Whitelightning

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 10:48

Mercedes floor egde on the track looks like a game of flappy birds
and i'm sure we all saw the front wing going down by some insane margin at the straights with the onboard cam .


Redbulls front wing does this more than anyone, it’s perfectly legal within the current tests.

#50 Zoe

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 11:00

  But then we're back to the old chestnuts of intent and spirit of the rules.
 

 

That has been going on since a loooong time indeed. Just one ancient example: Mandated high cockpit sides anyone? Compare the Ferrari and the Mclaren from that year.

 

Or more recently the flexing front wing at RedBull. Following the rule to the letter. DAS, F-Duct, there are countless examples.