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F1: RedBull Scores With Holes In Floors – Article 3.12.5

by on May 28, 2012

 Before the Monaco Grand Prix, there were fears that some of Red Bull Racing’s rivals might protest an apparent breach of article 3.12.5 of the sports technical regulations. 

The article in question found on page 14 of 77 of the 2012 F1 Technical Regulations published by the FIA on December 7th, 2011, states the following:

 3.12.5

All parts lying on the reference and step planes, in addition to the transition between the two planes, must produce uniform, solid, hard, continuous, rigid (no degree of freedom in relation to the body/chassis unit), impervious surfaces under all circumstances.  Forward of a line 450mm forward of the rear face of the cockpit entry template, fully enclosed holes are permitted in the surfaces lying on the reference and step planes provided no part of the car is visible through them when viewed from directly below. This does not apply to any parts of rear view mirrors which are visible, provided each of these areas does not exceed 12000mm² when projected to a horizontal plane above the car, or to any parts of the panels referred to in Article 15.4.7.

Basically, there are holes in the floor where many teams don’t believe there should be.  Despite Red Bull’s Mark Webber walking away this past weekend with a victory on the tight streets of the Principality, rivals have decided not to throw their arms up and protest the solution.

It should be noted that Red Bull is not the only team that has similar holes/slots, however their interpretation of this rule is not quite the same.  To add to those items that should be noted, The FIA had previously handed the team down a blessing on this interpretation as far back as Bahrain.  These holes offer, at minimum, the illusion of an aerodynamic benefit in terms of downforce, therefore rival teams have asked for a clarification from the FIA on this design instead of protesting.  I understand that the FIA may address this concern before the Canadian GP in less than two weeks with some sort of clarification.

Never one to question Adrian Newey’s ability to be clever, I suspect many are looking at copying the solution if they haven’t already done so.  The benefit of these holes is not yet quantified however, given the fact that RedBull has won two races thus far will certainly peak interest…especially given the fact that in this sport, even fractions of a second make the difference.

Author: Ernie Black

Twitter: @Goggs_on_F1

BLOG: http://thef1poet.wordpress.com

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