Max van Splunteren was this week’s guest of the GPblog podcast The Undercut to speak about Red Bull Racing‘s much talked about ‘flexi-wings’. The Porsche Supercup driver is impressed with the clever rear wing of the RB16B. The 24-year old is of the opinion that the FIA should not intervene in a protest from Mercedes.
“I think it’s a very interesting mechanism they’ve come up with. Of course they have come up with something that doesn’t bend below 1500 Newton and at top speed you have up to 4000 Newton of force on that wing. Then it starts to move a bit, I think that’s beautiful,” says Van Splunteren about the fact that Red Bull’s rear wing has passed all FIA tests, but at higher speeds, it would bend more than allowed.
Which technique does Red Bull use?
The Dutchman himself drives in the Porsche Supercup, the support race for Formula 1. With his team, he also has to guess how Red Bull managed to pull this off. “I’ve talked to the mechanics about it and they said that there is a certain kind of paint that if you put it under power, it becomes soft. You could also say that they used metal that if you put the exhaust on it, the thing will sag a bit if you drive full throttle or at high speed for a long time. I think it’s quite beautiful though.”
So where exactly is Mercedes’ frustration coming from? “They’ve come up with something that is linear up to the test value and at some point from a certain point the displacement becomes exponential. It goes lower and lower and lower. I find that beautiful,” says Van Splunteren.
It is not the first time that a loophole has been found which gives a team a competitive advantage in Formula 1. “With the double diffuser, they also found a loophole in the regulations. That was allowed then too, so I think they should allow this too. The best part is that it was probably made up by an intern because that was also the case with the double diffuser.” Thanks to the radical but awesome concept of the double diffuser, Brawn GP and Jenson Button won the world title in 2008. A year later, however, the FIA banned the concept.