Flexi-wings won't be "a game-changer at all" in Baku F1 race

Frederic Vasseur believes teams running Formula 1's disputed 'flexi-wings' will not enjoy a huge performance gain in Baku, saying it "won't be a game-changer at all".

Flexi-wings won't be "a game-changer at all" in Baku F1 race

Following comments from Lewis Hamilton about Red Bull's "bendy wing" over the Spanish Grand Prix weekend, a saga emerged surrounding the flexibility of the rear wings run by a number of teams. 

The FIA wrote to teams announcing it would be clamping down on rear wing designs from the French Grand Prix onwards, sparking a variety of responses up and down the paddock.

Mercedes and McLaren both questioned why the more stringent tests were not being introduced sooner, with Toto Wolff warning there could be a "very messy" protest situation at next weekend's Azerbaijan Grand Prix if the FIA did not give clarity sooner. 

Alfa Romeo team principal Vasseur was particularly unhappy about the ruling, calling it a "joke" after diverting resources to take advantage of the rules as they were initially written.

Suggestions were made that the flexi-wings could be particularly effective at the Baku City Circuit, which has both a slow-speed section and one of the longest straights on the F1 calendar.

But Vasseur denied this would be the case, believing there would not be a huge performance benefit in Baku.

"We have to be serious with the wings, that it won't be a game changer at all," Vasseur said.

"I think with Ferrari, we showed that on this kind of layout [in Monaco] we are performing. Perhaps that it will be the same in Azerbaijan.

"In Azerbaijan you have two different part of the track. You have the city, and the philosophy of this part of the track is quite close to Monaco. And then you have the 2.5 kilometres or something like this of straights.

The Baku City Circuit pit straight

The Baku City Circuit pit straight

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

"This will be probably a bit more difficult, but it is like it is."

Vasseur expanded on his position on the flexi-wing saga in an exclusive interview with Autosport's sister publication Motorsport.com Italy, saying it may change his approach moving forward after investing time and money in the design concept.

"I'm not writing the rules, the FIA did it, then we designed the car with the rules published," Vasseur said.

"We have to go to the limit on every single area. This is the philosophy of the F1. And this is the philosophy of every single team, and that [is like that] in terms of weight, for the design and on every single topic we have to go to the limit.

"And suddenly, I don't know the reason – perhaps just because that one team started to complain one week ago – we had a new technical directive.

"I think it's a shame to come so late with the clarification, because I think all the teams asked for clarification much earlier. And we have also to consider the fact, that we are all collectively doing big effort to reduce the cost.

"We had tons of discussion to know if we have to reduce the personnel on track by one or two people and so on and so on and so on. And then they come [up] with this kind of TD, and we'll have to redesign the wings, and to produce new wings.

"I'm not speaking about the performance penalty, because honestly, we did a back-to-back a couple of times and it's not a big drama, and it won't change the approach.

"But at the end, it will change my approach, because that I will have to spend a big part of my development budget on this. And this is unfair for me."

shares
comments

Related video

Ocon to leave talks with Alpine over new F1 contract to management

Previous article

Ocon to leave talks with Alpine over new F1 contract to management

Next article

Dutch GP targeting 105k capacity crowd for September F1 race

Dutch GP targeting 105k capacity crowd for September F1 race
Load comments
The new age of sponsorship facilitated by F1’s relevancy push Plus

The new age of sponsorship facilitated by F1’s relevancy push

The age of the high-profile title sponsor is over, says JONATHAN NOBLE, but Formula 1’s commitment to technological innovation is attracting high-tech partners

How Britain’s lost Ferrari star epitomised a bygone F1 era Plus

How Britain’s lost Ferrari star epitomised a bygone F1 era

The 1956 Italian Grand Prix was over for Juan Manuel Fangio, along with his hopes of winning the world championship – until his Ferrari team-mate (and title rival) voluntarily surrendered his own car so Fangio could continue. NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls Peter Collins, a remarkable sportsman

Formula 1
Jun 19, 2021
The 'surprise' Mercedes time that puts F1's victory fight back on a knife-edge in France Plus

The 'surprise' Mercedes time that puts F1's victory fight back on a knife-edge in France

Red Bull led the way after the first two practice sessions for the 2021 French Grand Prix, but only just ahead of Mercedes. There was all the usual practice skulduggery complicating the performance picture, but one aspect seen at the world champion squad gave it a ‘surprise’ lift, as it looks to leave its street-circuit struggles firmly in the past

Formula 1
Jun 18, 2021
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

Formula 1
Jun 18, 2021
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