Renault has rubbished talk that there could be a legality row over its blown rear wing, because it has no doubts that the aggressive concept fully complies with Formula 1 rules.
The French car manufacturer has raised eyebrows with the design of its RS18, and the way that its exhaust is angled to direct gases at its rear wing – which has been shielded in special heat-proof material.
Although there have been suggestions that rival outfits have begun to question whether the Renault concept goes against the spirit of the rules, its technical director Nick Chester asserts the car is totally legal.
“I haven’t heard anything at the moment,” he said when asked about rumours that rival teams had been questioning the design.
“You can put your exhaust in a bodywork box, and we have just got it towards the top of the bodywork box. So so far, no concerns about that.”
In a bid to limit the practice of teams using exhaust gases to blow wings at the rear of the car this year, changes were made to the regulations.
Monkey seats were banned and F1 teams had to locate their exhausts within a predefined area. They were also allowed to only angle the exhaust up to five degrees from horizontal – something Renault has done.
While there is no regulation that bans teams explicitly from blowing bodywork with exhausts, something that has been done for years, Renault has taken the idea further than others this year.
Furthermore, the heat proofing on the rear wing shows that it is deliberately using exhaust gases for aerodynamic gain.
However, Chester was clear that it was impossible for teams to not have gases blowing over their rear wings because of where the rules place the exhausts.
“Everybody has to have an exhaust and all exhausts are going to blow the rear wing to a degree,” he said.
“The whole reason we came up with the bodywork box for the exhaust was to limit how far you could go. If you run to the top of the bodywork box, I don’t see it as too big a problem.”
Back in 2011, F1 faced controversy over blown floors – with the FIA stepping in and outlawing the practice amid claims that using exhausts to blow gases off throttle was illegal.
The governing body’s stance was that as the engine was moving to help produce gas flow to aid aerodynamic performance, that was a breach of the long-standing rule that outlaws moveable aerodynamic devices.
Article 3.8 of F1’s technical regulations states: “Any specific part of the car influencing its aerodynamic performance: a) Must comply with the rules relating to bodywork. b) Must be rigidly secured to the entirely sprung part of the car (rigidly secured means not having any degree of freedom).”
Chester said that the benefit of the blown wing now was minimal compared to how things were when the diffuser war was under way.
“It’s not so much really,” he said. “You have a turbo there and you have to recover energy through your MGU-H, otherwise your battery is going to be flat. You are quite limited for what you can do.
“But it is like everything else. If there is a small gain there, we will have a small gain because it is available.”