Red Bull’s closest rivals at the start of this season, Aston Martin dropped to fourth at the track with a report suggesting the FIA’s rubber-wing intervention in Azerbaijan may have played a role.
Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso has come out of the blocks this season with the Spaniard recording a hat-trick of P3s to start his campaign, while the Silverstone outfit are also showing good pace in qualifying.
But as the season progressed, with rivals and Aston Martin bringing upgrades to the track, the AMR23 fell behind Mercedes and recently McLaren.
Report claims images showed “significant yaw at high speed on straights”
This, it has been suggested, could have something to do with the FIA stepping up its testing of flexi-wings.
According to Motorsport.com, “a lot of speed can be found if a team can design a front wing that is strong enough to withstand garage testing, but can flex controllably at speed.”
An ongoing battle to keep the FIA on top of it, “the FIA has reportedly stepped up its analysis of the designs and expressed some displeasure with the construction of several front wings, which were said to be more deflected than they would have liked.”
Although all the teams’ front wings “passed” the FIA’s tests and there are “no indications that the teams were running illegal cars”, the wings that bend at speed contravene Article 3.2.2 of the technical regulations.
This states: “All aerodynamic components or bodywork that affect the aerodynamic performance of the car must be rigidly secured and stationary relative to their frame of reference. Furthermore, these components must produce a uniform, solid, hard, continuous, impervious surface under all conditions.’
One of the teams was said to be Aston Martin in Baku.
The report claims images from Alonso’s car in the early races show “significant yaw at high speed on the straights” with the FIA stepping in around the time of the Azerbaijan GP.
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Focus on building the front wing
Motorsport’s governing body focused on the flexi-wing saga which mainly concerned the construction of the front wing in order to eliminate “smart solutions” and “informally informed” some teams that they would have to make changes.
Whether this was behind Aston Martin’s performance drop at the Spanish Grand Prix cannot be said as the team has not said, however, Motorsport.com adds that “sources with knowledge of the situation have revealed that Aston Martin is one of these groups”.
At that time Aston Martin introduced a new front end, one with one less wishbone.
Fernando Alonso blames Pirelli for Aston Martin’s racing
However, it should be noted that when Alonso was asked about the team’s drop in pace, he blamed the revised Pirelli tires introduced at the British Grand Prix weekend.
“It’s a coincidence that when the new Pirelli tires came to Silverstone, there are some teams that were struggling more and some teams that are very happy with the car now,” said the Spaniard.
“It’s not just us, I think Red Bull have clearly been hit with these tyres, they’ve been one-two in every qualifying, one-two in every race and now they’re not even on pole position.”
Although Alonso remains third in the Drivers’ Championship, the two-time World Champion is just one point ahead of Lewis Hamilton, with Ferrari chasing Aston Martin for third.
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