Mercedes and Aston Martin’s technical innovations banned in F1 2023

The innovative concepts, which include a Mercedes front wing endplate and an Aston Martin rear wing, have been made illegal by changes to Formula 1’s technical regulations.

Both concepts raised eyebrows when they were introduced because, while fully complying with the wording of the rules and being considered legal by the FIA, they seemed to contradict the broad notion that car designs to increase performance did not make it difficult for cars to follow. each other.

Mercedes’ radical front wing end plate made its debut at the Miami Grand Prix and featured a unique design at the intersection between the inverted section and the end plate.

This was done to try to make up for some of the losses that were lost with the new regulations.

The flaps were pushed forward with too much force in the outer section, so the rear lower edge of the end plate was completely detached from the flaps.

Meanwhile, Aston Martin took the spotlight at the Hungarian Grand Prix when it introduced a rear spoiler design that appeared to breach one of the main intentions of the 2022 rules.

Its design featured a unique arrangement on the front of the endplate which allowed the mainplane to relate to it in a more conventional manner, thus increasing its span and the downforce that could be generated.

The new regulations hoped to bid farewell to the traditional endpanel and wing interaction of the past, with a curved transition between the elements.

This was designed to reduce the vortex force of the tip, thus reducing airflow turbulence and helping with the overall goal of making it easier for the cars to follow each other.

While the FIA ​​was happy with both concepts being allowed to be used this year, formal adjustments have been made to the technical regulations for 2023 to ensure that the gray areas that allowed them are sorted out.

“Obviously they were legal this year. The regulations on both the front and the rear have changed in different ways to stop those solutions,” said Nicholas Tombazis, FIA single-seater technical director.

This was done by changing the rules which are now stricter about back-sweeping fore-wing birds, as well as more specific about definitions of the tip of the hind-wing.

Performance advantage

Aston Martin AMR22 rear spoiler detail

Photography: George Biola

Although the Aston Martin idea is now banned, its performance director Tom McCullough said he was still proud of the fact his team had created something so audacious amid the restrictive 2022 rules.

“I think the nice thing about this year is the fact that we came up with something fresh and new,” he said when asked by for his thoughts on his ban.

“It was a very difficult interpretation of the rules that added performance to our car. It was a part that people couldn’t quickly copy because of how complicated it was getting around so many different regulations.

“So, in a way, we kind of had that advantage this year, because by the time we brought it to Budapest it was too late for people to react to understand it, and from the cost cap [perspective], they already made their wings high downforce. For me, I was really happy.

“A lot of people have been involved in this project for a long time, many months in the FIA’s brief period. But I understand that our job is always to make the most of the regulations, and if they change, we have to really adapt to that.”

appropriate operations

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13, Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR22

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13, Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR22

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Tombazis explained that although there is wording in the rules preventing teams from submitting designs detrimental to racing, the FIA ​​will always be subject to the appropriate regulatory processes to close out such possibilities.

That means discussing it with the teams, and going through the F1 Committee and the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council to make changes for subsequent seasons.

Article 3.2.1 of the F1 Technical Regulations states: “An important objective of the regulations in Article 3 is to enable cars to race closely, by ensuring that the loss of dynamic performance one car after another is minimized. In order to check what Whether or not this objective has been achieved, competitors may be required upon request to provide the FIA ​​with any relevant information.”

Asked if the changes for 2023 were driven by concerns about designs that hurt racing, Tombazis said: “Some of these things where we’ve changed the rules fall into that category.

But that article [3.2] It wasn’t meant to be: “Well, if you’re smart and have a solution, we’ll take him out of the car right away.” He only gave an explanation sometimes why we have to meddle with the regulations.

“But we still do it through governance. We don’t have the right to just say: We don’t like this, let’s ban it.”

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