Aston Martin F1 brought a controversial rear wing to the Hungarian Grand Prix, with a very specific interpretation of the rules on the outside and top. But the team had planned for it, and had been working on the part for a long time, so that it would be perfectly legal.
“We have spent months, since our initial interpretation and understanding, going back and forth with the FIA technical department” said Tom McCullough, the team’s director of performance.
“Once we went through several back-and-forths, and got to a point where they agreed we had met all the technical standards, we decided to go for it.”
“That’s why it took a while to get to the track, because it took several months from first contact to full FIA approval, and once you theoretically have approval, you have to design the part and manufacture it”.
“We send all the drawings before the weekend and the FIA has to make sure they’re still happy, which they’ve done. And then you can take it to the car.”
Almost no impact on the drag of the car
McCullough confirms that this new part doesn’t have too much of an effect on the AMR22’s drag, as the regulations ensure that the cars produce as little drag as possible in order to follow closely.
“So we made sure everything was fine, because that’s the intention of the rules. But we were able to show with simulations that it has no effect. The whole philosophy of the car is the dominant factor, that’s such a small feature of it .”
The other nine teams will work on the same principle, but McCullough believes the fact that Aston Martin started work a few months ago will make it difficult to copy this idea.
“The regulations are very restrictive. The vertical fin of the rear wing, the main plane and the area around the fin have a lot of rules to follow. Obviously what we’re trying to do is create downforce on the fin , we’re looking to find out what will allow our fin to perform better while still meeting it.”
“There are a lot of regulations that you have to meet. You have to satisfy a lot of things and not harm a lot of others. I think it’s going to be pretty interesting for people on the outside to understand that.”
“Even as a chief engineer, sometimes I get explained and then explained again for long minutes in a meeting, and I’m like, ‘Wow.’ It’s really nice to see technical innovation at a time when it’s pretty difficult to do”.
Krack expects copies at the end of the season
Unlike McCullough, Mike Krack wouldn’t be surprised to see copies of this concept pop up quickly. The Aston Martin F1 boss believes his team’s rivals will want to have the same solutions at high downforce circuits.
“The next races where a lot of downforce is important are Zandvoort and Singapore. I’m surprised we were the only ones running with this idea in Singapore” said Krack.
In Hungary, Christian Horner said this “for once”Red Bull could copy Aston Martin, referring to the ‘Red Bull green’ affair, when the AMR22 had received sidepods similar to the RB18.
Krack is not fazed by these remarks, which do not scandalize him, even if they did not appreciate them: “These comments were partly unfair, but that’s how it is in Formula 1.”