x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Rivals claim Red Bull's wings give them the edge

The teams demand improvisation on tests that currently allow the wings to literally bend the rules by flexing at speed.

An official signals Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel where to stop at the end of the Hungarian Grand Prix.
An official signals Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel where to stop at the end of the Hungarian Grand Prix.

BUDAPEST // Formula One's governing body is likely to impose tougher tests on front wings in response to complaints about the ones used by Ferrari and championship leaders Red Bull. McLaren and Mercedes both urged the International Automobile Federation (FIA) to clarify the rules after Red Bull were utterly dominant in Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying at the weekend. The teams argue that photo and video evidence suggests the wings are literally bending the rules by flexing at speed while passing static tests. Red Bull brushed off the complaints, with team boss Christian Horner dismissing them as just the latest in a litany of gripes this season, but Mercedes principal Ross Brawn expected new tests to be introduced at the next race in Belgium. "I understand that there may be some changes in the way the tests are done, but obviously the cars involved pass the current tests," he told reporters at the Hungaroring. "The argument is that if they pass the current test, then the tests are not correct. "You can clearly see on the track that there is quite a dramatic difference between the cars, which is part of the game," added the former Ferrari technical director. "I've been there myself so what normally happens is that the FIA improve the tests and I think that is what is going to happen."

Horner said after his championship leading Australian driver Mark Webber won in Hungary, his fourth victory of the season, that the focus on front wings was just the latest obession by rivals whose own cars were off the pace. "This week it's the front wing, next week maybe it will be the rear," he said. "So far it's been active suspension, it's been the diffuser, other suspension components, so it's a compliment to the technical team. They are doing a fantastic job to produce a car as quick as we have seen." Webber agreed: "We're more than happy with what we have on the car and we're sleeping well at night," he said. "You should never penalise things that are ingenuous and people that are doing a good job, and that's sometimes the case." The next two races, once Formula One returns from a short summer break, are the last two in Europe and two of the fastest on the calendar - Belgium and Italy. * Reuters

Michael Schumacher has acknowledged that his impeding maneuver against former teammate Rubens Barrichello at the Hungarian Grand Prix was too hard and has apologized to the Brazilian driver. Schumacher said on his website that after reviewing the incident he has to agree with the stewards that the move was too hard. The seven-time champion says he had no intention of endangering the Williams driver and that he was "sorry" if Barrichello had that feeling. Schumacher was penalised 10 places on the grid for the next Formula One race. * AP