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Formula 1 Spanish GP

FIA has no plans to intervene in Formula 1’s latest flexi-wing intrigue

Formula 1’s latest flexi-wing antics have teams talking, but the FIA has no concerns about what is going on

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W15

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W15

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

The FIA sees no need to intervene in Formula 1's latest flexi-wing intrigue, Motorsport.com has learned, despite teams openly admitting they need to push the boundaries to be competitive.

A recent shift of front wing design direction from Mercedes, which has seen its front wing adopt a greater degree of flexibility to help deliver balance gains, has re-opened the debate about what teams can and cannot do.

It has even prompted speculation that some teams could be ready to lodge formal complaints about the antics of a number of squads who appear to be exploiting flexible front wings that comply with the rules – including McLaren and Red Bull.

But despite wings notably being seen to flex from onboard camera footage, it is understood that the FIA is comfortable with the designs that teams have employed and it is not planning to probe matters for now.

That means the current front wing flexibility tests, where loads are applied to the wings in the pits to ensure they do not bend too much, will stay at their current levels.

The FIA's acceptance that what teams are doing is okay comes against the backdrop of a growing reality from competitors that they have to engineer a degree of flexibility to help better manage aero balance with the ground effect cars.

Ferrari's performance engineer Jock Clear said that using the benefits of flexi-wings was as essential a design aspect as other key areas of the car.

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W15, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL38, Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL38, the rest of the field at the start

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W15, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL38, Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL38, the rest of the field at the start

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

"There's no question that you need to do it to be quick, if you see what I mean," he said. "Whatever's available to you within the rules is what we explore. So that doesn't look any different for a front wing or a rear wing or a floor or anything. It's just a development."

While much of the focus in recent days has revolved around what Mercedes has done, team boss Toto Wolff says everyone is now pushing things to the limit in the bid to move up the grid.

"Front wings play a big role today, it's clear," he said. "Aero elasticity plays a big role, but so do the floors. I think it's always the combination of these.

"You can have a front wing that flexes like a banana and passes the test, but the rest of the car just doesn't work properly in the interaction. I think everybody's trying to push the boundaries and within the regulations.

"I think what we've been able to do over the last three races is particularly on the right side, where we believe that we've made a big step and all of the aero bits that came since then. Maybe we've just been very much on the other end of where we should have been on wings and floors and all of that."

While there had been suggestions that Red Bull had contacted the FIA about the flexi-wing behaviour of Mercedes, this has been dismissed by its motorsport advisor Helmut Marko.

Speaking to Motorsport.com, Marko said: "We didn't complain, but we just noticed it. If the car is so much faster on the straights then you can see where it comes from. But it went through the scrutineering, so it was okay."

And with Red Bull having been on the receiving end of criticisms in the past about its own flexi-wing tactics, Marko thinks it is a normal part of the conversation in F1.

"It has always been a problem and nearly every team is affected by it at some stage," he explained.

"One time some teams will accuse others, and then the ones that are behind are blaming the others and say that they don't have it. This is a normal game as long as I am in Formula 1 and it has always been like this."

Additional reporting by Ronald Vording

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