The McLaren technical director James Key assumes that the teams will try to develop flexi-wings in the upcoming Formula 1 season.

Flexible rear wings were one of the most controversial topics in F1 last year. Mercedes and Red Bull Racing blamed each other for gaining an unfair advantage thanks to such wings at different periods of the 2021 season. It forced the FIA to introduce additional tests to control whether the wings complied with the rules.

The new F1 cars will have totally different front and rear wings. However, Key thinks that the teams may still come up with a new flexi-wing concept. At the same time, he states that it is unlikely to happen because of stricter rules.

“I think the sensitivity of the aero-elastics has changed and I think that is well understood from the regulations that have been discussed at length, how to better manage components which can flex,” he said.

“Some of the tests are more stringent – rear wing tests, for example, will be a little bit tougher – and some of the things that happened [in 2021] with these areas have carried through to 2022 and I think there is a lot of attention being paid to that.

“The front wing in 2022 is a massive thing but it still has a very stringent set of guidelines on stiffness, so I think there will always be a few tricks to play but I don’t think there is going to be something easy to exploit. 

“You’ve got a couple of different components on the car which can have a certain level of stiffness, which you could exploit legally, so there are various new tools to play with in 2022.

“It will probably become some form of issue I am sure, but it is not something the teams or the FIA are ignoring. It is a fairly clear area where we are very careful to regulate correctly for next year.”

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