The FIA has moved to ensure that no teams are using trick designs to get around flexing wing restrictions in Formula 1.
Following suggestions that McLaren and Red Bull Racing could have been using a concept that allowed their front wings to pass deflection tests but rotate backward on their axis at high speed for a straight-line speed boost, the governing body has revised its procedures for the Japanese GP. Sources have confirmed that for the Suzuka weekend, the FIA has moved where a test load is applied to the wing.
Before this weekend, a 100N (approximately 225lb) load test was applied to an area of the front wing 800 mm forward of the front wheel centerline, and 795mm from the car centerline. The wings are allowed to deflect just 20mm.
Aware of the possibility that some teams could be using designs that passed the old tests but still rotated at high speed, the FIA tweaked its testing so that the area being tested is now in an area 150mm further out. This new test should ensure that any attempt by teams to utilise the rotating wing principle would be exposed.
Sources suggest that all teams passed the tests that were conducted at Suzuka. However, it is unclear whether or not modifications had been made from previous designs that some teams had been running, as the teams were pre-warned about the new tests.
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh had said on Wednesday that he did not expect there would be any problems for his team with the new tests.
"I think the regulations require the wings to be rigid, but of course no wing or aerodynamic surface is infinitely rigid," he explained. "From time to time questions and disputes arise between teams, who feel that other teams are too flexible or whatever. I don't envisage any particular problems for McLaren in that regard, and consequently I don't think that it is anything that will harm us."