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
Why unseen Hungary heroics could be the making of F1's most overlooked driver Plus

Why unseen Hungary heroics could be the making of F1's most overlooked driver

The chaotic start to the Hungarian GP set the scene for F1's less heralded drivers to make a name for themselves. Esteban Ocon did just that to win in fine style, but further down the order one driver was making his first visit to the points and - while the circumstances were fortunate - took full advantage of the chance presented to him

Hungarian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Hungarian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

This was race that showcased the best and worst of Formula 1, producing a first time winner and a memorable comeback to a podium finish. Avoiding trouble at the start and astute strategy calls were key to success, but where some drivers took full advantage, others made key errors that cost them dearly

Formula 1
Aug 2, 2021
The “heart-breaking” call that led to Ocon’s Hungarian GP triumph Plus

The “heart-breaking” call that led to Ocon’s Hungarian GP triumph

Set to restart the red-flagged Hungarian Grand Prix in second, Esteban Ocon had some doubts when he peeled into the pits to swap his intermediate tyres for slicks. But this "heart-breaking" call was vindicated in spectacular fashion as the Alpine driver staved off race-long pressure from Sebastian Vettel for a memorable maiden Formula 1 victory

Formula 1
Aug 2, 2021
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Plus

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021
Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track' Plus

Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track'

Mercedes ended Friday practice at the Hungaroring with a clear gap to Red Bull thanks to Valtteri Bottas’s pace in topping FP2. But there are other reasons why the Black Arrows squad feels satisfied with its progress so far at a track many Formula 1 observers reckon favours Red Bull overall

Formula 1
Jul 30, 2021
How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks Plus

How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks

OPINION: Red Bull was justified to be upset that Lewis Hamilton survived his British GP clash with Max Verstappen and went on to win. But its attempts to lobby the FIA to reconsider the severity of Hamilton's in-race penalty were always likely to backfire, and have only succeeded in creating a PR disaster that will distract from its on-track efforts

Formula 1
Jul 30, 2021
The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach Plus

The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach

OPINION: It wasn't just the Verstappen/Hamilton clash that had the Red Bull and Mercedes bosses at loggerheads at Silverstone, with the nature of Formula 1's 2025 engines also subject for disagreement. But hopes to have loud, emotive engines that are also environmentally friendly don't have to be opposed

Formula 1
Jul 29, 2021
The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break Plus

The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break

OPINION: Formula 1 is about to break up for summer 2021, with the title battles finely poised. But it’s not just the latest round of Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton that will be worth watching this weekend in Hungary, as plenty of drivers are eying big results to change the stories of their seasons so far

Formula 1
Jul 28, 2021