Due to modifications in F1’s technical rules, Mercedes’ extreme front wing endplate and Aston Martin‘s rear wing are now prohibited. Both ideas throughout the season caused controversy when they were first presented.
They seem to go against the general idea that vehicles are designed to boost performance. It should not make it harder for cars to follow each other. Even if they are in compliance with the language of the regulations and so recognized as lawful by the FIA.
At the Miami Grand Prix in 2022, Mercedes front wing endplate made its debut. It had a distinctive pattern where the flapped part met the endplate.
This was done in an effort to at least partially make up for the outwash that the new restrictions caused to be lost. The rear lower border of the endplate was totally separated from the flaps. As a result of the flaps being swept forward extremely violently in the outer area.
The FIA authorized the usage of the Mercedes idea this season. But official revisions to the 2023 F1 technical rules have been made. It is to guarantee that these murky areas are cleared up. The FIA’s single-seater technical director Nikolas Tombazis explained the modifications to the technical rules to the media as follows:
“This year, they were both undoubtedly legal. To prevent such fixes, the rules have been altered in various ways on both the front and the back.”
The FIA’s justification for prohibiting the Mercedes concept
Nikolas Tombazis made it apparent that the technical rules’ fundamental nature was one of the reasons why the FIA decided to clear up those murky areas.
The rules state that any performance improvement must not make it harder for the vehicles to follow one another, and the Mercedes invention fell short of that requirement in several respects. He stated:
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“Enabling vehicles to race closely by ensuring that the aerodynamic performance loss of a car following another car is maintained to a minimum is one of the key goals of the Regulations in Article 3. Competitors may be asked to provide the FIA with any relevant information upon request in order to confirm if this target has been met. Some of these items fall under that category because we amended the regulations.”
He continued: “However, it was not the intention of that item (3.2) to say. ‘Okay, if you’re clever and you have a solution. We’re going to remove it off the automobile right now.’ It only provided an explanation of why we sometimes need to interfere with rules. But we still carried it through via governance. We are not allowed to just declare, “We don’t like this, let’s prohibit it.”
The FIA also outlawed the Aston Martin innovation on its back wing, which faced the same fate.