Why is F1 still pursuing its ‘go faster’ rear wings?

Posted on January 20, 2011


The introduction of moveable rear wings this season is likely to be flashpoint for a number of reasons.

No-one knows quite how the new rear wings will work. Credit: Mclaren

First and foremost because the very introduction will remain controversial: I’ve never been a fan because it risks making the racing artificial.

Giving a driver the ability to suddenly go much faster when trailing a car down the straight may well mean they can go sailing past. But is that really the overtaking we want to see as world champions go wheel to wheel?

Second, there’s a real risk it could be dangerous. As we saw last year when Mark Webber crashed in horrifying style in Valencia, there is already a big difference in top speed between the front and back of the grid. If there’s a misjudgement by either driver, it’s an accident waiting to happen.

And third it might not work anyway. The rules for the race, allowing use of the wing only on specific points of the circuit when within one second of the leading car, are complicated and restrictive. This is mainly for the safety risks already mentioned but what’s the point of spending all this time and money on a system which doesn’t work?

Some of the cars will have KERS back for 2011 with tweaks such that it will have genuine application this time. A standard unit for all cars would have been better in my mind but still, this is more useful kit for racing than the wing changes.

The teams and the FIA are saying repeatedly they are willing to tweak and change the wing rules to ensure it improves the show. We’ll have to wait and see but I’m far from convinced.

The lack of overtaking in Formula One is a problem from a presentation perspective but giving the drivers lots of extra ‘go faster’ buttons to push doesn’t strike me as the answer.

Posted in: Formula One, News