Disappearing Skid Blocks ?

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Last year the FIA made some changes to their regulations regarding the aerodynamics of the Formula One racing cars. The idea behind this was to make the cars lose roughly 30% of downforce reducing the dirty air allowing for easier overtaking to happen.

Part of the new legislation was the stiffening of the floor boards allowing for a maximum of 2mm flexibility. Notably Mercedes have been struggling with the stiffness as the porpoising effect is result of the overall stiffness of the floorboard. This makes the car go up and down when at high speed and the questions have been asked how have other teams managed to solve this problem.

The FIA stepped in 3 weeks ago to further investigate this problem and they are not their to solve it in any way but make sure teams are compliant with the regulations. What has become more apparent over this last weekend is that there are more than 2 teams who are not compliant with one admitting changes have to be made and the other denying any wrong doing.

The original thought was teams had the correct stiffness in areas that were checked and in other areas had a flexible floor. It now has been revealed that teams had skid blocks in place creating the stiffness and those would disappear into the car at certain speeds allowing the flexible floor to gain an advantage. Part of the floor actually disappears inside the car when the floor hits the ground making sure the 9mm thickness is maintained at all times. Very clever but totally illegal as this is a flexi floor with more than a 2mm variance in flexing.

Ferrari have said that they need to make some changes to their floor to be compliant by the next race whilst Red Bull have been adamant they are in the clear. We obviously know that this is not the truth and expect both cars to be less dominant at the French Grand prix in 2 weeks time. red Bull have been the one team who have managed to maintain their straight line speed and that is purely down to downforce which we now know is due to having a flexible floor and disappearing skid blocks.

This should bring back the debate regarding porpoising again as now all the teams will have the same problems. Both Ferrari and Red bull said it was no longer an issue 2 weeks ago and that issue will be clearly visible next time around. When two or 3 teams have so much improvement in performance and the others don't then something is not adding up. The teams with question marks are the top 2 Red Bull and Ferrari along with the much improved Haas. We should see the other teams now at least have a chance
of competing now that this has been cleared up.
What this has done is bring Mercedes back into the championship with 50% of the races already completed. The Mercedes team has been complying with regulations and has been asking the right questions. Why has it taken so long for the FIA to see what is blatantly happening as this is breaking the rules.

Formula One Teams are at the top of their game regarding technology and development so pushing the boundaries is always part of the plan but have to stay legal according to regulations. By adding a skid pan that disappears into the floor at top speed allowing the floor to flex more lowering the car down even further creating the extra downforce this is cheating.


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When every point equates to roughly $1 million each cheating has definitely paid this time around. I don't think the second half of the season will see teams end in this order as suddenly it is a level playing field again.

11 races and only now things are being investigated and corrected, but give credit to Ferrari for admitting they were in breach of the regulations. Christian Horner from Red Bull doesn't want the changes to happen as for obvious reasons it will affect the cars performance. If the car bounces too much then the car has to be raised which results in the loss of downforce which is exactly what has happened to Mercedes. You don't become a bad team overnight and why this highlights how desperate some teams have become to gain an advantage whether legal or illegal.

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Hi boss,
Interesting analysis here. Well good riddance for the Mercedes team who have been "asking the right questions".
Now we can look forward to a more competitive circuit with no more disappearing skid blocks. Kudos to Ferrari too for admitting a need for change.

Cheers

Ferrari admitted not to change, but to breaking the rules which we know Red Bull are also doing.

Please can this portion be explained?

"Ferrari have said that they need to make some changes to their floor to be compliant by the next race whilst Red Bull have been adamant they are in the clear"

Ferrari have openly admitted to breaking the rules whilst red Bull says they haven't yet they would never admit to it even though everyone knows they have. Red Bull will be fixing their floor and will just keep quiet even though their speed will drop because of the change and why everyone will know they cheated.