McLaren: Moveable wing will work
|By Jonathan Noble and Matt Beer||Thursday, January 13th 2011, 18:24 GMT|
McLaren engineering director Paddy Lowe is confident that the FIA will get a full grip of the moveable rear wing rules in 2011 to ensure the concept works well for the sport.
Although there has been some concern expressed that the new wing idea will fail - either by not improving overtaking or making passing too easy so it is no longer exciting – Lowe is more upbeat about the plans.
Speaking on a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in, Lowe said he believed the rear wing design would work better than the failed front wing concept.
"Yes, I certainly do - it has a lot more leverage," he said. "On the front wing adjustment, that was introduced along with the OWG (Overtaking Working Group) regulations in 2009, and it was really only intended as a mild adjustment in order for the driver to trim the balance of the car when in the wake and attempting to overtake another car.
"I was a member of the OWG and we actually put it in there as an insurance policy as we were all a bit worried that we'd got it wrong and the car would be very unbalanced in the wake and possibly have oversteer.
"As it turned out, nobody really used the front wing for that purpose at all. So we all agreed last year that we would get rid of it in the interests of simplicity and cost saving. It will add a bit more of a challenge in the race in terms of balance because now we will have to make any front wing adjustments in the pit stops."
Although teams have a lot of work to do pre-season to tweak the rear wing regulations, and the FIA has to sort sporting rules out for their implementation, Lowe was confident it would not take too long to get the tweaks right.
"The one control that the FIA have is that at each race circuit they can set the deployment point on the straight at which you're allowed to press the button - for instance you might be allowed to press it for the last 300 metres of the straight to the braking point," he said.
"The FIA have it in their power to limit the situation so that the authority of the system is making sense, and that may take one or two races to settle down. But they can lengthen or shorten that amount of straight on a race by race basis. So I think that will give some ability to make the thing work in the way that we intended."
Fernando Alonso is equally upbeat that the concept should work – since so much research has been conducted into it – but thinks there are some concerns to be had about the number of buttons that drivers will be required to push in 2011 thanks to the wings and the return of KERS.
"They are all ideas from the Technical Working Group, from people that have been working for the show, for the results, for the overtaking for a long time," said Alonso during Ferrari's media Wrooom event in Italy.
"I think they came out with this solution, which is unknown for everybody at the moment, because we never test something like that, so I think it will work.
"If after big research of new solutions they came out with this, it is because of simulations, and all the work they do, this is [from] some positive results. So I am confident that it will work, the only difficulty, as you said, will be buttons on the steering wheel and a very short time you have to make some decisions, to react to buttons and still drive the car.
"So in some of the cases in wet races, poor visibility, things like that, we need to check. For sure, innovations, new things in Formula 1, are always welcome. This is one of those – if everything remains as last year, we know our difficulties, our problems. As I said, all the changes are meant to improve the Formula 1 sport, the Formula 1 show, so I think at the moment, without trying, we need to be very open and very positive."