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
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Plus

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Plus

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers Plus

Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory Plus

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Plus

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021
Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems Plus

Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton dominated the opening day of action for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, on the Istanbul circuit’s much improved track surface. But the Black Arrows squad’s position isn’t quite what it seems. Here’s why

Formula 1
Oct 8, 2021
The rise and fall of Lotus as an F1 superpower Plus

The rise and fall of Lotus as an F1 superpower

On 8 October 1961, Innes Ireland claimed victory at the United States Grand Prix to herald the true arrival of a new Formula 1 giant. While Team Lotus endured plenty of highs and lows until the team folded over three decades later, Colin Chapman's squad made F1 history and helped shape the championship

Formula 1
Oct 8, 2021