As reported in Bild, Hammy told journalists in the days following this season’s opener at Melbourne, “Did you see Vettel’s front wing. It bends down to the ground and gives him about half a second. Either we [have the FIA] close this loophole or we copy it.”
Interestingly, he didn’t have much to say about the flexibility of Mark Webber’s front wing. Of course, Webber only finished fifth in Sunday’s race, so as far as Hammy was concerned, any infringement of the rules would have been irrelevant.
Sebastian Vettel, of course, left Hamilton in his dust at Melbourne, and the McLaren diva makes no secret of the fact that he thinks he’s the best of the best currently on the grid. Ergo, if Vettel is eating Hammy’s lunch, there must be some black art at work.
Of course, it’s not enough to say that the Red Bull simply has more pace than the McLaren. Apparently, that would be an affront to the engineering staff at Woking. No, clearly the brain trust at Milton Keynes have found a way to skirt the rules and do so under the FIA scrutineers’ very noses.
What’s the fuss about a bit of wing flex? A case of ground effects in miniature. IF the wing can narrow the gap to the track, i.e. reduce the amount of air passing beneath the wing as opposed to over it, it becomes more effective at delivering downforce.
But haven’t we been down this road before? Yes, of course. McLaren raised concerns with the FIA last year on this very issue, more than once. And each time the Red Bull was tested, it passed.
The fact is, Red Bull’s Adrian Newey is currently the preeminent designer on the grid. He’s proven this time and time again. The advantage the Red Bulls have always had over the competition is downforce. Somehow, Newey has always been able to extract more downforce from his cars than his rivals seem to be able to do.
Is that genius or cheating? I suppose it’s a matter of perspective — and who’s racking up the points.