Opinion: Why F1 needs clearer standards

Perhaps just as important, there needs to be more clear communication about why certain moves are or aren’t penalised. Obviously, no two incidents are the same, so explaining stewards’ decisions properly would help to quell talk about inconsistent penalties and make F1 easier to follow. 

The key, though, is that even when there are penalties given, they shouldn’t distract from the action on the track. 

How it works: wing flex in Formula 1

Flexing rear and front wings have been a cause of contention in Formula 1 for decades, and this year they’ve been back on the agenda, with Red Bull and Mercedes-AMG insinuating that the other is bending the rules to reduce aerodynamic drag on straights. 

It’s stated in the technical regulations that aerodynamic parts must “remain immobile in relation to the sprung part of the car”, and the FIA has load and deflection tests so as to strictly police tolerances. These were made more stringent this year after complaints emerged about Red Bull, and then at Interlagos Max Verstappen copped a €50,000 fine for fiddling with the rear wing of Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes in parc fermé. The reason? Red Bull suspects that Mercedes is falling foul of the flex rules. 

It’s an old trick that won’t be going away any time soon. But until a car fails the FIA tests, they’re all legal…


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