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
Load comments
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Plus

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Plus

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1’s elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he’s recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton Plus

How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton

OPINION: The Italian GP clash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen followed a running theme in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight. Their close-quarters battles have often resulted in contact - and although Hamilton has shown a willingness to back off, Verstappen must learn to temper his aggression

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Two drivers produced maximum-score performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left several others ruing what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash Plus

Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash

The clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was the major flashpoint the 2021 Italian Grand Prix will be remembered for. Yet by this point, race leader Daniel Ricciardo had already done the hard work that would put him in position to end his and McLaren's lengthy win droughts, on a memorable afternoon in Monza

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021