Alpine: Flexi-wing push motivated by weight saving

The push for flexi-wings in Formula 1 was motivated more by saving weight than any straightline speed advantage, says Alpine executive director Marcin Budkowski.

Alpine: Flexi-wing push motivated by weight saving

With new tougher pull back tests being introduced from the French Grand Prix later this month, F1 teams will have a final chance to run with their previous flexible designs for this weekend’s race in Baku.

However, there remains the threat of a protest for those that do, and it is not impossible that the FIA could take unilateral action itself if it feels that teams are pushing the limits too much.

Alpine is one of many outfits that will have to make modifications to its rear wing for the French Grand Prix, and it says the push by teams in this area was not simply about the wings flexing back to reduce drag on the straights.

“The deflections of wings are mostly linked to weight saving really,” he said. “I mean we are all fighting the weight limit and especially at the rear of the car.

“There is an incentive not only to have the car as light as possible and put as much ballast at the bottom as possible for centre of gravity, but also to run more ballast at the front of the car, and the front being in the front of the floor, for weight distribution purposes.

“The worst place on a car to have weight is in the rear wing because it’s high up and it’s at the back of the car. So it’s one of the areas we’re pushing the hardest for weight saving. And when you save weight you make a car that is a bit lighter and a bit less resistant to load.”

While Aston Martin suggested recently that flexi-wings could be worth as much as half a second per lap of performance, other teams are not so convinced.

Red Bull Racing RB16B rear wing detail

Red Bull Racing RB16B rear wing detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner reckons that the wings only deliver a gain of around one tenth of a second.

“It's marginal because you compromise other aspects,” he said. “I think in a simulated world, you're talking between half a tenth and three quarters of a tenth of a second here. So it's extremely marginal.

“I've heard numbers of half a second being quoted, but I think you can see here that our wings arguably are flexing less than a Mercedes rear wing. So it certainly wasn't half a second of lap time delta.

“I think it's all been a little bit overhyped in the media. Like all these things there is never a silver bullet. And I think that you need to have a car working well, you need everything: engine, chassis; vehicle dynamics, and aerodynamics all working in harmony. And it's never one single factor.”

Read Also:

Budkowski concurred that the shift to stiffer wings for Paul Ricard would not serve to shake up the F1 order.

“We’ll adapt to it,” he said. “It will cost a bit of performance, it will cost us some weight for sure, and the centre of gravity, weight distribution. And potentially maybe a bit of aero performance if there was some drag-saving related to it. But that would be very small at the end of the day.”

shares
comments

Related video

F1 Azerbaijan GP Live Commentary and Updates - FP3 & Qualifying

Previous article

F1 Azerbaijan GP Live Commentary and Updates - FP3 & Qualifying

Next article

F1 Azerbaijan GP: Gasly tops FP3 as Verstappen causes red flag

F1 Azerbaijan GP: Gasly tops FP3 as Verstappen causes red flag
Load comments
How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working Plus

How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working

After its worst campaign in 40 years, the famous Italian team had to bounce back in 2021 – and it appears to be delivering. Although it concedes the pole positions in Monaco and Baku paint a somewhat misleading picture of its competitiveness, the team is heading into the 2022 rules revamp on much stronger footing to go for wins again

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Plus

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

Formula 1
Jun 17, 2021
The figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again in F1 2021 Plus

The figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again in F1 2021

OPINION: An interloper squad got amongst the title contenders during Formula 1’s street-circuit mini-break, where Red Bull left with the points lead in both championships. But, as the campaign heads back to purpose-built venues once again, how the drivers of the two top teams compare in one crucial area will be a major factor in deciding which squad stays in or retakes the top spot

Formula 1
Jun 16, 2021
Why Alfa's boss is ready for the task of securing a stronger F1 future Plus

Why Alfa's boss is ready for the task of securing a stronger F1 future

Two tenth places in recent races have lifted Alfa Romeo to the head of Formula 1's 'Class C' battle in 2021, but longer-term the Swiss-based squad has far loftier ambitions. With the new 2022 rules set to level out the playing field, team boss Frederic Vasseur has good reason to be optimistic, as he explained to Autosport in an exclusive interview

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
How Barnard’s revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction Plus

How Barnard’s revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction

The MP4/1 was pioneering by choice, but a McLaren by chance. STUART CODLING relates the tangled (carbonfibre) weaves which led to the creation of one of motor racing’s defining cars

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool Plus

Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool

Windtunnel work forms the bedrock of aerodynamic development in Formula 1. But as PAT SYMONDS explains, advances in virtual research are signalling the end of these expensive and complicated relics

Formula 1
Jun 13, 2021
Why polarising Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour Plus

Why polarising Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour

The newspapers, naturally, lingered over Max Mosley’s tainted family history and niche sexual practices. But this is to trivialise the legacy of a big beast of motor racing politics. STUART CODLING weighs the life of a man whose work for safety on both road and track has saved hundreds of thousands of lives, but whose penchant for cruelty remains problematic and polarising

Formula 1
Jun 12, 2021
Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture Plus

Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture

Sergio Perez has spent most of his career labouring in Formula 1’s midfield, wondering whether he’d ever get another shot at the big time. Red Bull has handed him that chance and, although life at the top is tough, the Baku winner is doing all the right things to get on terms with Max Verstappen, says BEN ANDERSON

Formula 1
Jun 11, 2021