Mark Webber has added his voice to calls for a rethink about the movable rear wing rules in Formula 1, saying he does not understand why its use is unrestricted in practice and qualifying.
After discussions between the Grand Prix Drivers' Association and F1 race director Charlie Whiting at the recent Barcelona test to discuss the regulations, a number of drivers have voiced concern about the situation. Sebastian Vettel hinted that, as a last resort, drivers could even strike if they felt their safety was being compromised.
Webber admitted on Wednesday that the situation has baffled him. Although drivers need to try out the wing in practice and qualifying to sort out gear ratios for its use in the grand prix itself, Webber says that could be achieved just as well by limiting its use to the FIA-mandated zone where it can only be used in the race.
"I don't quite understand why we have to use the wing all through qualifying," Webber said at a Red Bull media event in Melbourne. "For qualifying, it is an added distraction and loading which we don't really need. It is not helping the show – it is another session where you want to do the ultimate lap time but everyone has the same tools to get that lap time, so why overload the driver? There is no real gain for doing it."
Webber thinks that use of the rear wing in qualifying could also introduce more risk than the F-duct posed last season, when drivers were having to take hands off the steering wheel to use it through some corners.
"Yes, I think so," he said when asked if it was worse than the F-duct. "We only had one thing. We like to be challenged at this level, and all the drivers like that, but when everyone has got it, what is the advantage of complicating it? And also, going around Singapore, for example trying to use the button....
"If you look at Eau Rouge at Spa – that is why I am saying for qualifying – why not just have it at the same points we have it for the race? On the straight. Everyone does it, it is easy. If you take Eau Rouge, Copse, or Becketts – it is not improving the situation for us.
"We know the teams are pushing us completely to the limit and it is not nice to open the door up for them. It was for racing, so I don't see why we need to be trying to get through Eau Rouge with an open rear wing. We tried that with the F-duct, it was a little on the edge and Charlie wasn't too happy with that..."