Formula 1

FIA’s Crackdown on Flexible Bodywork: Williams F1’s Uphill Battle with TD018

Williams F1's Head of Vehicle Performance, Dave Robson, Discusses Challenges and Confidence Amidst FIA's Technical Directive TD018

In the ever-evolving world of Formula 1, innovation and creativity often push the boundaries of what is technically permissible. However, the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) is now clamping down on teams gaining an advantage through flexible bodywork trickery, as outlined in Technical Directive TD018. Williams F1, led by their Head of Vehicle Performance, Dave Robson, aims to steer clear of the impending scrutiny. Still, Robson’s recent remarks about the FW45’s floor have raised a few eyebrows within the F1 community.

It was recently brought to light that certain teams, whose identities remain shrouded in secrecy, have been reaping substantial gains from flexible bodywork designs. Despite the FIA’s rigorous load-bearing tests, these teams managed to exploit a loophole. According to Article 3.2.2 of the Technical Regulations, “all aerodynamic components or bodywork influencing the car’s aerodynamic performance must be rigidly secured and immobile with respect to their frame of reference.” In response to these developments, the FIA issued Technical Directive TD018, which will come into effect in Singapore. This directive meticulously delineates what will no longer be permitted, providing teams with clear guidelines on the legal parameters of their designs.

While the names of the teams employing flexible bodywork remain undisclosed, Dave Robson, the man overseeing Williams F1’s technical performance, exudes confidence that their car’s wings conform to the regulations. However, it appears there might be an issue with the floor of the FW45.

When queried about the potential impact of TD018 on the competitive grid, Robson offered insights to Planet F1:

“While we hope that the FIA’s Technical Directive could level the playing field by slowing down certain cars, we are not prepared to reveal the specific modifications required to ensure the compliance of the FW45’s floor.”

“I genuinely don’t know.

“I think the way the TDs are written, they’re clearly aimed at quite specific things that the FIA have seen so they must be affecting some people.

“I think on the whole we don’t think it affects us very much, little bit we need to do on our floors, but think the wing side of things is not a big deal.

“So yeah, hopefully, it will slow some people down.”

The Williams F1 team’s performance this season has been orchestrated primarily by Alex Albon, who has amassed an impressive 21 points. This achievement has catapulted the team into a commendable 7th place in the constructors’ championship, a testament to Albon’s prowess and the collective effort of the Williams outfit.

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