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Formula 1 folding wing: technology annoyance at McLaren and Red Bull

The secret of the folding wings
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I always the wings again. Do you remember the endless discussions last year? Red Bull drove for two years with a front wing that bent in a controlled manner at full speed. If the contact pressure rose above a certain level, the ends of the wings lowered to the road.

This created a kind of tunnel under the wing that prevented air from flowing in from the side. The air under the center of the car was thus directed more efficiently towards the underbody and diffuser. Several other teams have tried to copy the Red Bull concept, but none have been anywhere near successful. At Ferrari, for example, unwanted natural vibrations occurred. The wing was packed again.

Development of flexible wings continues

Over the winter, the FIA ​​tightened the criteria for the load tests. With that the flutter wings had had their day. Now even Red Bull technical director Adrian Newey admitted the existence of the flexible wings. He cited their ban as one of the reasons why the Red Bull RB8 is no longer as successful as its predecessor.

According to insiders, Red Bull went to great lengths with the wings. There should have been a wing type for practically every route, tailored to the type of route and the downforce. The trick is said to have been hidden in the carbon structures that first had to twist before they were able to bend in the desired direction.

But the secret was apparently not just in the wings themselves, but also in the stilts on which the wings are hung. When it became clear that the FIA ​​was serious about the new stress tests, some teams had to construct new noses.

McLaren wing folds back

But what engineers once learned don't forget them again. Further research was carried out in secret in this area. McLaren apparently found the crucial loophole. According to observers, the entire wing rotates around the horizontal axis with the appropriate contact pressure. The new spoiler is one of the secrets of the superiority of chrome-colored cars since the Hungarian GP.

As auto motor und sport reports in its current issue (issue 22/2012), Red Bull has now followed suit in Singapore. The wing could have been a reason for the silver-blue superiority. Other teams had no chance of winning.

Apparently Ferrari didbut discovered the trick and brought it to the attention of the FIA ​​inspectors. There were then several discussions between the FIA ​​delegates and McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh. On closer inspection, it was found that the two pylons of the nose hold the main leaf of the wing with only one screw each at the front edge. The entire wing can rotate around the transverse axis around this.

Folding wing brings better flow to the diffuser

Because the 50 centimeters in the center of the wing are shaped the same on all cars twisting the wing does two things. The buoyancy required by the regulations in this section is reduced. And the subfloor is flowed much more efficiently. That in turn brings significantly more downforce in the rear.

Red Bull was the first to recognize the McLaren secret and retrofitted it immediately. The twist is said to be even more extreme than the McLaren. That is why Red Bull has also introduced a new, slightly longer nose in Singapore. The nose and the middle section of the wing had to be matched to the changed flow when twisted.

It will be interesting to see how the technical inspectors react to the new problem. She may be doing torsion tests in Suzuka. If the wing can be twisted, the spook is forbidden. Otherwise, a new arms race would begin that would only cost a lot of money.

In the photo gallery we show you once again with pictures what the new generation of wings from Red Bull and McLaren looks like.


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