T-wing loophole creates new tech battleground for 2018 F1 season

Formula 1 teams are set to engage in a new design battleground over low T-wings in 2018, as part of a push to regain downforce lost at the rear of cars

T-wing loophole creates new tech battleground for 2018 F1 season

A loophole in last year's technical regulations opened the door for teams to run high T-wings on the sharkfin engine covers in a bid to improve performance.

But their addition caused an outcry among fans and teams because of their appearance, and an outright ban was introduced for the 2018 season.

But with F1 teams aware of the benefits that the small wings delivered in terms of managing airflow and increasing downforce, it is almost certain that this concept will not have been ignored when teams come to finalising their 2018 challengers.

As teams claw to recover the loss of downforce caused by the high T-wing ban, plus the outlawing of monkey seats, it appears likely that T-wing development will open up in a new area of the car instead.

That is because the wording of the 2018 regulations that outlawed shark fins and high T-wings still leaves room for another area to be exploited.

Article 3.5.1 of F1's technical regulations outlawed high T-wings by making it clear that no bodywork could appear in a specified triangular area above the defined engine cover.

It states: "When viewed from the side, no bodywork forward of the rear wheel centre line may lie above a line parallel to the diagonal boundary defined in a) [a rule that defines the dimension of the engine cover] and intersecting the rear wheel centre line 650mm above the reference plane."

But there remains a small area below this triangle that is still available for teams to exploit - an area in which Williams ran elaborate T-wing concepts last year.

As well as developing a high T-wing like other teams, the FW40 featured a second element lower down to help manage airflow in this area.

As well as channelling air to the lower element of the rear wing, this airflow can also prove important in helping maximise the efficiency of the diffuser.

F1 teams are expecting big gains in downforce this year thanks to a much better understanding of the performance aspects of the new aero rules that were introduced last year.

McLaren technical director Tim Goss told Autosport: "You would expect there to be a step, and given the cars are relatively immature, you would expect it to be a bigger step than in previous seasons."

shares
comments
Why F1's safety priorities are misplaced
Previous article

Why F1's safety priorities are misplaced

Next article

Fans' verdicts on whether Grosjean can race in F1 when he's 40

Fans' verdicts on whether Grosjean can race in F1 when he's 40
How Perez has shown what many F1 drivers need from the 2022 season run-in Plus

How Perez has shown what many F1 drivers need from the 2022 season run-in

OPINION: Sergio Perez’s Singapore triumph arrested a big decline in his Formula 1 performances against Max Verstappen at Red Bull since his Monaco win. He now needs to maintain his form to the season’s end, while others are also seeking a change in fortunes

How the FIA should punish any breaches of the F1 cost cap Plus

How the FIA should punish any breaches of the F1 cost cap

OPINION: On Wednesday, the FIA will issue F1 teams with compliance certificates if they stuck to the 2021 budget cap. But amid rumours of overspending, the governing body must set a critical precedent. It needs to carefully pick between revisiting the bitterness of Abu Dhabi, a contradictory punishment and ensuring parity for the rest of the ground-effect era

Singapore Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022 Plus

Singapore Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022

A testing return to the Singapore Grand Prix in tricky conditions created plenty of hazards and mistakes for the Formula 1 drivers to fall into. That partly explains a number of low scores, including from a handful of high profile runners, allowing others to take a starring role under the floodlights

Formula 1
Oct 3, 2022
The two key contributors to Leclerc's defeat to Perez in F1's 2022 Singapore GP Plus

The two key contributors to Leclerc's defeat to Perez in F1's 2022 Singapore GP

In a marathon Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix, Sergio Perez’s victory was only assured hours after the race due to a stewards investigation. Throughout the contest the Red Bull driver impressively held off Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in changing conditions to see the Mexican pull out enough of an advantage to negate his post-race penalty

Formula 1
Oct 3, 2022
The time-honoured manufacturer model that can't apply to all F1 teams Plus

The time-honoured manufacturer model that can't apply to all F1 teams

What happens, asks MATT KEW, if the old adage of win on a Sunday, sell on a Monday is no longer true for F1 manufacturers?

Formula 1
Oct 2, 2022
Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie? Plus

Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie?

The Australian rising star is fast, consistent, confident, adaptable and has shown excellent racecraft, but there’s already a taint to his reputation. That hasn’t stopped him becoming the hottest property in this year’s F1 driver market and why McLaren moved fast to snap up the 21-year-old

Formula 1
Sep 30, 2022
The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver Plus

The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver

Formula 1's incoming engine rules shake-up has multiple targets. But it may also solve what has been a bone of contention since the hybrids arrived in 2014. The new plan will allow the series to pump up the volume

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2022
How de Vries made himself impossible to ignore for a belated F1 chance Plus

How de Vries made himself impossible to ignore for a belated F1 chance

Nyck de Vries appeared to have missed his opportunity to break into Formula 1 as he was passed over for more exciting talents who have now become frontrunners and title fighters. But after catching the eye outside of the F1 sphere, before his stunning impromptu grand prix debut in Italy, will it lead to a delayed full-time race seat?

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2022