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Analysis of Red Bull wing flex before Vettel hit Button

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Analysis of Red Bull wing flex before Vettel hit Button
Sep 1, 2010, 7:23 AM

There has been a clip on the internet for the last 48 hours showing the on board shot from Sebastian Vettel's car as he lost control and hit Jenson...

There has been a clip on the internet for the last 48 hours showing the on board shot from Sebastian Vettel's car as he lost control and hit Jenson Button.

The clip was originally on You Tube, but has been taken down on the request of FOM. This is to protect the rights of the broadcasters, like BBC, RTL and La Sexta, who also have the online rights in their countries.

As a result the clip is available on the BBC website today and maybe on your local broadcaters' site. Apologies for raising this if your local broadcaster doesn't have it, but the point here is very valid. UK readers can see it here BBC F1 website

Fans and insiders alike have been interested to see the amount of deflection in the wing, despite the heavier flex tests the FIA carried out last weekend.

It looks like the wing rolls when one side of it comes clear of the wake from Button's car. This isn't surprising - one side of the wing is probably only getting about 50% of the air that the side outside of Button's wake gets.

That difference in wing load one side to the other, combined with the deflection of the wing and the roll that creates will have made the car quite unstable, according to engineers I've discussed the video with. It is not necessarily the reason why Vettel lost control of the car, but it will not have made controlling the car any easier.

This has got me thinking - was this in any way also a contributing factor to the Webber accident in Valencia, Webber hitting Hamilton in Australia or the reason why Vettel crashed into Webber at Istanbul, all occasions when one of their cars has been moving out from the wake of another car? There may be nothing in it, but there are some similarities.

If that video clip has reached the FIA's Charlie Whiting, he may well be thinking that the FIA needs to think about introducing an assymetric wing load test in addition to the new tests introduced in Spa.

No doubt rival teams, led I would imagine by an aggrieved McLaren, will be lobbying the FIA on the grounds of safety, to understand whether this wing flex may have contributed to Sunday's accident.

Meanwhile all the teams are nervous about the new tests for flexible floor stays which come into force in Monza. Currently a load is placed on the centreline of the floor, but in Monza the FIA will place a load up to 100mm either side of the centreline. This means that many teams, not just Red Bull, will have to construct some compliance device to pass the test.

The concern then is the impact the floor takes from the kerbs in Monza, especially at the second chicane. It's quite conceivable that some of these compliance devices may get damaged. And in extreme cases that could lead to a broken chassis.

There will be some late nights for the mechanics in Monza.

Photo: Darren Heath
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Series Formula 1
Drivers Sebastian Vettel Shop Now
Teams Red Bull Racing Shop Now