Informal discussions after Imola

Michael Schumacher, San Marino GP 2006

Michael Schumacher, San Marino GP 2006 

 © The Cahier Archive

Some of the teams competing at Imola were rather surprised to see the speed of the Ferrari 248 at the recent San Marino Grand Prix and there are reports that at least one has written to the FIA, on an informal basis, claiming that the rear wing of the Ferrari is flexing rather too much, creating less drag at very high speed, and thus allowing the car to travel faster through the air than its rivals.

There is little doubt that the Ferrari is going very fast in a straight line with recorded speeds at Imola seeing the Ferrari seven kilometres per hour faster than the other cars. There is also claimed to be video evidence that suggests that the rear wing sinks down when the car reaches a certain speed. This is claimed to have the effect of a turbo so that the car can accelerate beyond what is physically possible given the aerodynamic limits established in the rules.

Presumably this problem is one that can easily be sorted out as audio recordings of the engines of the cars at various points on the circuit can be used to determine the revs that are being used and thus by working out the gearing engineers can create a speed map for each of the cars. These will indicate the maximum speeds possible at all points on the track and so if these speeds have been exceeded, it will be clear whether or not something is happening. If one team is allowed to use such a system, it is logical to assume that the others will be allowed to do the same, so we would expect a solution one way or another within a matter of days.

This problem was already discussed by engineers in unofficial meetings with FIA officials in Malaysia and it was thought that an agreement had been found but it seems that some engineers now feel that this was not the case and that another solution is needed.

Hopefully all of this jiggery-pokery will remain in the shadows as F1 can do without technical scandals this year.

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