The FIA has given the front wing designs of Red Bull Racing and Ferrari the all-clear in post German Grand Prix inspections, following a flexi-parts row in the build-up to the race.
Photographs taken of the two cars over the course of the Hockenheim event appeared to indicate that their front wings were flexing in such a way that the endplates were able to run much lower to the ground, which would give the two teams a downforce advantage in high-speed corners.
AUTOSPORT reports that the FIA was alerted to the situation by rival outfits, and the front wing designs were monitored over the weekend – including a full inspection of the wing in post-race scrutineering. It is believed there was also dialogue between the teams at the center of the controversy and the FIA for them to give explanations as to why the wings appeared to be running closer to the ground than their rivals.
The FIA was happy that the explanations – which included the fact that photographs were not guaranteed to have been taken from the same angle, that the cars may not have been running the same amounts of fuel, or had different rear ride heights that would affect the front wing design – did not indicate anything suspicious. A statement issued by the FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer after the German Grand Prix confirmed that the Red Bull Racing and Ferrari cars were inspected and found to be within the rules.
Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali, who discussed the wing matter with McLaren in the build-up to the race, said on Sunday night that the situation did not worry him.
"I've seen some pictures of the wing, but you could see that they were taken from very different angles," he said. "So, I don't have anything to say on that. I feel that is part of the pressure that is part of the game."
Earlier in the day, Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner said he had no doubts that the wings on his car were legal.
"Obviously, the car has to comply with all the tests that the FIA prescribe, which are fairly comprehensive," Horner said. "We are happy that our car complies in every area. Using photographs is always dangerous. If the teams feel that there is a problem with it, normally the gentlemanly thing to do is to raise it with the team or, if they feel that there is a dramatic problem, obviously they have a right to protest. But we are happy that our car complies with the regulations.
"Using photographic evidence is only ever subjective: Has the camera moved? What is the fuel weight in the car? Has the driver braked heavier? Are the tires pressures lower? There are so many variables that can influence what a picture looks like."
Rival teams who were suspicious of the Red Bull Racing and Ferrari design will now have to decide whether they now also need to find ways to lower their front wings in a bid to find a performance boost.