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Flexible Floors – The Plot Thickens

I see that BMW are also under suspicion of having a flexible floor on the F1.07. Which makes it harder to believe the dismissive “Oh, Ferrari always gets accused of cheating when they’re fast” statement from the red brigade. Let’s wait and see what the FIA have to say on the matter, shall we?

BMW F1.07

BMW F1.07

It is interesting that it is BMW who are accused along with Ferrari; they were also suspects in the flexi-wing saga of last year and I begin to wonder if they have a mole in the Ferrari camp who passes along all the latest tweaks. Industrial espionage in F1 – who would have guessed it?

But mention of moles reminds me that I have been meaning for some time to point at a rather entertaining occasional column on GrandPrix dot com. It is called simply The Mole and is well worth a read, especially if you’re British (some of the humor is very English).

To return to The Amazing Moving Floor Scandal, however, it strikes me that the idea might be related to Ferrari’s much-questioned longer wheelbase this year. All the other teams have gone for shorter wheelbases (although I seem to remember reading somewhere that Honda are another exception – hmmm, could that be an explanation of their poor performance so far?). It is just possible that Ferrari discovered that the flexi-floor worked really well with a long wheelbase and so went against standard theory on the Bridgestone tires. Which would argue against BMW adopting the system since they have a short wheelbase – except that they could have found that it still gives them a measurable performance advantage.

All conjecture, of course, and I am no engineer – I just like to look at possible motives behind all these upsets in F1. And, as long as I’m doing that, we could consider what would happen if the FIA decide that the floors are illegal and must be changed. That could really mess with Ferrari’s performance, as we saw with the Renault handicapped by the banning of mass dampers in 1976 – design your car around a certain tweak and you’re in big trouble if it is suddenly made illegal.

But I suppose the fuss will die down and be forgotten in due course. And, whatever Ferrari and BMW are doing, you can bet that everyone else will be by the end of the season.

4 Responses to “Flexible Floors – The Plot Thickens”

  1. “And, whatever Ferrari and BMW are doing, you can bet that everyone else will be by the end of the season.”

    Or no one will be doing, as in the ’06 damper example.

    Which raises the question:

    Since the dampers were illegal, why were the points Renault accumulated last year while using this particular technology not taken away?

    A step further. Why was Renault not penalized for using illegal components?

    I have no particular bias against any team, but I do have a problem with the FIA and their plastic regulations, which are every bit as flexible as the wings of ‘06 and possibly the floors of ‘07 too.

  2. I agree totally about the “flexibility” of the FIA, David. The problem with penalizing Renault after the dampers were declared illegal was that all of the teams had used them at one time or another – so the FIA would have had take everyone’s points away, including Ferrari’s as they had been using the system just as much as Renault had.

    It was a political decision intended to prevent Renault running away with the championship – and it nearly worked.

  3. To be a constructor in Formula 1 must be very frustrating. You spend an entire offseason trying to find that one little invention that is not clearly ‘banned’ by the FIA that will give you the smallest of advantages only to find out that they are changing to rules mid season. It isn’t Ferrari’s fault that they found a grey area in the rules and used it to their advantage.

    I’m sure had Alonso won the race then you wouldn’t hear Mclaren complaining. Im also sure that if the FIA doesn’t ban this then they will be running a similar floor.

    If your not winning then your whining .

  4. True, Dan. But I must admit I take my hat off to the engineers and designers – they continue to work their way around the regulations with one brilliant idea after another. Can you imagine the light dawning in colleague’s faces when one of them said, “What happens if we let the floor move downwards…?”

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