SportF1Will Ferrari and Red Bull lose performance from Spa?

Will Ferrari and Red Bull lose performance from Spa?

All kinds of things have been heard about the possibility of flexing the wooden skids under F1 cars to prevent wear (the regulations allow 1mm wear vs. 10mm thickness) and to allow cars to adopt a smaller ground clearance in search of increased downforce, which would allow a significant increase in performance.

From Great Britain there has been talk of polyurethane foam capable of being compressed into adaptable shapes, and others speak more of real springs mounted under the skates, capable of absorbing the roughness of the asphalt without wearing out the board. If this is so, it is strange that the FIA technical stewards have not intervened by declaring certain designs illegal, prohibiting their use to those who had used concepts totally outside the technical rules.

El patín de madera

The wooden skate

The feeling is that so much sophistication has been reached that it is difficult to find, and it is logical to wonder if we will see important changes in the values of the single-seaters from the Belgian GP, when the application of the latest rewrite of the Technical Directive TD39-2022.

The FIA has set itself two goals: first, to reduce the risk of porpoising with an algorithm that will control the vertical movements of the chassis with an accelerometer located on the bodywork, near the center of gravity. It is a sensor that until now was used to determine the forces that act on a pilot during an accident and that will now be more sensitive and will have to indicate who will exceed the aerodynamic oscillation metric (AOM).

In that case, it will be necessary to lift the car off the ground to avoid the rebound phenomenon and to be within the values established by the FIA. The telemetry channel, which was reserved for the Federation’s technicians, will be open and visible to all the teams starting with Paul Ricard, so that the technicians can evaluate the behavior of their car and make the pertinent corrections in time for the next appointment in Spa-Francorchamps.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13, in battaglia con Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18

But the great objective is to stop the flexing of the sinkers, with the clear intention of stopping Ferrari and Red Bull so that the third-leading team, Mercedes , returns to competition. Toto Wolff showed total bewilderment and astonishment when the FIA, in the F1 Commission, made official some of the data they had collected, hiding that it was precisely Mercedes that had inspired those regulatory changes that really have nothing to do with safety. .

Therefore, a great expectation has been created for Belgium, as if we could be facing a new beginning: it is legitimate to think that Ferrari and Red Bull will have to give something to the stricter controls, but how much performance will they lose? and, above all, will Mercedes be able to get back into the fight to win at least one grand prix, after finishing the previous races an average of half a minute behind the winner?

The question has no answer for now, but already in Paul Ricard we will see adjustments that could indicate what the direction of the near future will be. But according to the information that we have been able to gather, there are already those who are working on making the materials more flexible to reintroduce certain normative concepts to the limit in a different way.

And, after all, that is the essence of Formula 1: push with each idea, each component that makes up the car towards the interpretation of all the gray areas of the regulation. The challenge, therefore, has only just begun…

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