Guest Author - Christine Blachford
If you’ve been reading some of the Formula 1 news of late, you may have heard about the flexible floor row that has been rumbling on since the start of the season. The problem seems to have come to a conclusion now, with a definitive answer, so I thought now would be a good time to see what the complaints have been about.
At the beginning of the season, some specific teams pointed fingers at other teams [namely Ferrari and BMW] who may or may not have been cheating. The main problem was that the under tray of the cars seemed to have an extra bit of technology that could have been construed as cheating.
F1 cars want to go as fast as possible and to do that they need as much downforce as they can manage. A flexible floor aids this by moving positions at high speeds and pushing the car into the track. There are certain limitations on the amount of movement the car’s floor can have and there are specific FIA tests that make sure the teams are sticking to the rules.
The finger was being pointed at a couple of teams for having a way around the FIA’s tests. A spring was in place to keep the flexible floor from bending too much when the car was being put through its paces, but once it was out on the track, the spring would not be in action anymore and the car could do whatever it was designed to do.
The claims were investigated and the FIA decided that they should amend the tests slightly to eliminate any possibility of cheating. It seemed to solve the problem and didn’t really hinder anyone – Ferrari continued to be fast.
Since then, the FIA have come out again and quadrupled the amount of stress they put on the car during these tests. It seems a little bit out of the blue this time, with no other teams involved, pointing fingers and calling foul. The severity of these tests will now affect all of the teams rather than just a couple, and even if it doesn’t affect speeds too much, it will certainly give the engineers something to scratch their heads about.
It seems that there is always something for the FIA to be looking into. Teams are always stretching the rules to the limit, and if they weren’t, they wouldn’t be doing their jobs properly.