FIA working to resolve latest technical row
Posted By: James Allen  |  28 May 2012   |  2:57 pm GMT  |  79 comments

[Updated]Formula 1 avoided a controversy on Sunday night when a threatened protest against the floor of the Red Bull car of race winner Mark Webber and fourth place Sebastian Vettel did not materialise.

A possible protest was discussed by management figures from McLaren and Ferrari on a couple of occasions, with Martin Whitmarsh meeting Stefano Domenicali in the Ferrari motorhome and the two teams technical directors also discussing the matter in the window of opportunity in which protests can be lodged post race.

There was a lot of talk, but no action, with suggestions from some quarters that it was agreed by teams not to mar the Monaco weekend with controversy and instead to sort the matter out behind closed doors before the next race in Canada.

An FIA spokesman told Autosport, “Red Bull have not been asked to change anything yet. However, there is a difference of opinion over interpretation of a regulation, which we intend to clarify our position on during the next days.”

Many of the leading FIA and F1 team figures have remained in Monaco for two days of meetings on 2013 rules and budgets. As mentioned on this site on Friday, there is a move among most of the teams to establish a firm cost cutting structure for next season, with many teams facing serious funding difficulties.

The target is to get a majority vote of eight votes before the deadline of June 30th, in order for a cost control mechanism to be in place for next year. This would require Mercedes and McLaren to be part of it even if Red Bull and Ferrari along with their satellite teams Toro Rosso and Sauber decided to boycott it.

If this were to happen the teams who oppose it would still have to abide by the rules and subject themselves to the cost control plan, which would probably by FIA controlled. Some teams are still keen on a budget cap, but it’s hard to imagine things going that far at the moment.

Red Bull is the team that is most deaf to appeals from the others on cost control, a disruptive stance which led to them leaving FOTA, along with three other teams including Ferrari. This has caused some resentment among other teams and Sunday’s insinuations of illegality from their rivals may not be unconnected to this.

But it does seem that there has been genuine doubt about the legality of the hole in the floor ahead of the rear wheels on the Red Bull since it first appeared in Bahrain two races ago. It is a very simple looking hole in the floor with a small duct which helps to channel exhaust gas down to the diffuser and this helps the rear end stability of the car. Since it was introduced, Vettel has won a race and scored 45 of his 73 points, while Webber has also won a race and scored 37 of his 73 points.

The FIA Technical Working Group will meet this week and is the appropriate place for this to be discussed. FIA’s Charlie Whiting has said he’s happy with the interpretation of the rules on the floor, but the indications are that he’s happy to discuss it with the other teams in time for a firm ruling before Canada.

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The main picture for this article is, by far, the most attractive angle that one can find of these hideous 2012 cars. Kudos to whoever you sourced your media from.


Does the size of the hole matter, if, as the rules state, when viewed directly from below, that no part of the car is visible.

Then all solutions are fine, and nothing illegal, if that ruling is applied. Impervious does not apply, if fully enclosed slots/holes are allowed as an exception to the impervious rule.

Brisbane Bill, please look at the small size of the MotoGP grid compared to 10-15 years ago, the manufacturers leaving for World Super Bikes, as they have continually changed engine regulations since 2007, with Suzuki and Kawasaki walking away from the top class. It is not the best top class comparison for controlling the spec of the racing.


I think the reference to MotoGP was related to the future plans to bring more competition with 1000cc production derived ‘CRT’ bikes, and cut the ability of the big teams to romp ahead of the privateers.

Moto2 and Moto3 are already streets more entertaining than the top class (and F1, sad to say). I’d much rather see the top racers duking it out on roughly equal machinery than see one guy on vastly superior machinery romping out in front, and personally hope that the new MotoGP CRT formula is successful.

I’d love to see real cost-control in F1. Give every team the same budget, and let the best real engineering team win (i.e. not just the biggest team with the biggest bank account).


One would think that Adrian Newey has been around long enough to know whether a certain design is against the rules. And, if such a design IS against regulations he would surely know whether the team are going to have a realistic chance at getting away with it.

There is obviously a grey area in which it is allowed. Otherwise, why would you do it, risking wins being stripped off of you and being branded cheaters. It is not worth it for any gain let alone such a small one at that.


Yeah obviously you have to read the rules in context of the part of the car they are talking about. However its clear many teams have a question on it. I don’t believe it should be available for qualification after its written as they pay people a lot of money to check this I would think ?? I don’t have problem with many regulations in this regard- so long as they consistent but that’s definitely not the case. It would seem Red Bulls investment in f1 has bought them many friends. The direction of F1 is definitely more commercial ATM and that’s whats bringing it down Imstead of it being Technical and relevant I think. ie makes no sense for road cars to have abs & not f1. Same for active suspension, etc.


Its all very interesting and makes for good reading about the politics, but I sympathise with those who feel the whole thing is over regulated.

The following is offered as a tongue in cheek solution to the never ending round of protests

and regulations

If the FIA is not going to make strong descisions, maybe delete their protest system and let the teams sue each other in the civil courts. Now that would make the lawyers another fortune

I often wonder what would happen if you gave them all a box in which to fit the car, shipped it, and whatever came out they raced. No other regulations, wheels and tyres supplied by FIA.

4wd, electronic suspension, movable aero….and all this could be relevent to road cars, especially if some feel hybrid offers an advantage.

Alternatively, give them a floor design, the box, delete the wings and see what happens.

If this is about engineering, then massively revise the rules every two years, and only let them know the day after the last race of the season.

Still, it will never happen, and we will end up back in the stewards room for more finger pointing. Seriously this season has been so close that the rules are correct, and so even minor advantages are now important.

Also of note and off topic (apologies)the drivers are more important this season



My problem with 3.12.5 is if you have “uniform and solid”- then you cannot have a slot full stop or a hole for that matter . I will go further and say that “Impervious” to me suggests that if you poured water it would not penetrate the surface but clearly it can. Obviously if they are referring to the floor only and not the diffuser below that would neutralise the impervious part but still not uniform and solid meaning all solutions are not legal.


Red Bull and Charlie obviously have different dictionaries to those that the rest of the English Speaking world uses. A hole in a “uniform, solid and Impervious” surface stop sit from being Solid, Uniform and Impervious.


Personally I can’t see for the life of me why people make such a big deal out of something so small and insignificent! I thought F1 was a series for inovation and developement and engineering/design skill/advancement of technology, etc. Surely you have to encourage teams to be inovative rather than kick them in the arse, unless of course you’re racing Formula Ford!

And while we’re about it, I see more problems with the stewards’ being inconsistant/blind/stupid/inexperienced etc., etc.

I mean, if 1 litre of fuel puts McLaren to the back of the grid, (which would have the same effect as a hole as opposed to a slot would have, I.E. ZERO) yet an example of road rage only gives a small grid penalty (which should incur extreme penalty) and inacurate interperation of circumstances, EG Schumaker/Senna, It certainly does NOT inspire confidence in the desisions the powers that be are capable of making!

Basically it seems like they’re all a pack of school girls! (And I don’t mean to degrade school girls but they do do some strange things!) (But at least they’ve got an excuse)!


Robert in San Diego

Poor Old Colin Chapman must be turning in his grave.


Surely another thing that I have noticed, a trend that started last year, was the introduction of these little winglets on some of the cars. I thought that those types of devices were banned at the end of 2008. I am looking at McLaren and Ferrari here, McLaren starting last year with the little winglet across their “U-Pod” and then this year as well, along with Ferarri with their 2 or 3 little winglets just below the mirror.

Luke Clements

Couldn’t agree more Richard. They are like a government, the clowns running the sport, continuously changing and micro managing the rules and regs. Never giving a thought to the unintended consequences that come from every stupid rule they make. Just like governments they have become huge stiflers of innovation. Just off the top of my head…F-duct, exhaust blown diffusers, double diffusers, Renaults damper system from a few years ago, RBR front wing, now the bloody floor boards. How many thousands of pages that must be understood and complied with just to produce an F1 car? It’s sad for true freedom and innovation lovers that the sport is continuously moving down the “socialist” road.

Brisbane Bill

In relation to the cost constraint issue also mentioned in the article, this is not going to be easy to address. F1 “grew up” to become something that major sponsors wanted to be part of and threw money into it. So it become a technology race where (usually) those with the biggest budget won. This is still true but the effects of the GFC are now only really hitting home as major sponsorship deals are coming to an end and there is no longer the bottomless pit of sponsors queueing up to spend their money.

Obviously, the likes of Red Bull and Ferrari want to maintain the status quo as they are using F1 to promote their products directly and have huge amounts of cash available to do this. Teams that rely on outside funding are feeling the pinch.

It strikes me that, for the good of the sport, there needs to be some means of retaining parity across teams in terms of performance so that the spectacle remains interesting. If it only becomes a race between Red Bull and Ferrari then sponsors will retreat even further and the whole show becomes devalued.

So if the FIA are to introduce measures that they can control it has to be in the form of “standardising” design elements of the car. Many formulae around the world are doing this. F1 has already begun with a single tyre supplier and ECU. But others go further, with standardised chasis, aerodynamics and suspension parts, relying on a team’s ability to tune what they have for a given race track as the differentiator. But that is the conundrum for F1. Many see it as the engineering pinnacle and should be uninhibited in that regard. But you could argue that this form of engineering is already more advanced than is practically necessary in the modern age.

MotoGP have realised this and is now pursuing the standardised route to increase grid size and provide closer competition and, ultimately, a better sporting spectacle. As an example, my sister (a reasonably interested motorsports follower) has watched every MotoGP race this year but, for the first time, has not watched one single F1 race (despite me telling her what a vintage season she is missing out on). I think the time has come for F1 to accept what needs to be done for the good of the sport, lengthen its life, and broaden its appeal rather than cost itself into extinction. Not sure Bernie cares about that because, after all – given his age and wealth, what does he care that F1 might become extinct in 5 years?


MotoGP keep changing the regs every year or 2, and have lost major manufacturers as a result. Ever since 2007, I think it has been lucky for an engine size to last 2 seasons. Very costly to keep developing a new sized engine. When it was constantly 500cc the fields were huge, now they have thinned out quite a lot


What parts are standardised in MotoGP? They have a control tyre and that’s about it. F1 is much more tightly regulated than MotoGP.


I would have to concur with your last sentiment about Bernie. He hasn’t cared about Formula 1 RACING since selling the Brabham team. Since then he has cared only for Formula 1 BU$$INE$$.


Since before, actually.

He deliberately and consciously sacrificed Brabham’s on track and financial performance for the benefit of the circus as a whole.

I’m not just talking about taking pay drivers (that drove the -team’s- bottom line. I’m thinking more of his commitment of Brabham to Pirelli, without which they’d have withdrawn.

If you want to know why Bernie’s been so supportive of Flav for so long, you might look at which other contender team ran Pirelli around that time, and how come.


James how can something that has been on the car for 2 races before Monaco suddenly become illegal in the eyes of other teams? How can the FIA be taken seriously if they accept protests in this case? In football they do not suddenly say to a team “sorry that tackle your player made 2 games ago was a foul looking back it.”

Reminds me of that time in 03 when Michelin were told that their tyres, ones that they had used since the start of the year were now illegal with only 3 races to go! What a joke! If it is illegal it must be protested as soon as it comes on the car and with good reason. Not a couple race down the line.


In that scenario Andrew, the teams could do anything they want with the car so long as they can keep it hidden from the other teams/FIA for 1 race! An illegal car does not become legal because you’ve got away with it before!



Some teams check stuff out w/ the FIA upfront (& sometimes get told “OK”, spend the money and then the FIA change their mind at the last minute…); other teams, and Adrian Newey in particular, say to the FIA , “here’s the car, we say it’s OK, prove it isn’t. Oh, only you don’t get to put it in a wind tunnel or see our CFD results.”

In principle, until that practice is outlawed, there has to be the possibility of retrospective action.


Ok then we wait 5 months, watch much arguing and debate between the teams, FIA and anyone else until they reach a conclusion. If it deemed illegal we then get another debate about whether Red Bull should get to keep their points scored over the last 5 months.


Apparently Mercedes raised this for clarification after the Bahrain Grand Prix. It was Ferrari and McLaren who weren’t happy with the clarification and they can raise a protest only against a result within a certain time frame after a race. Protests apparently go to the stewards not Charlie Whiting, though the stewards can pass it to the FIA if it’s a strictly technical question.


the problem is Charlie Whiting, I dont like that it is left to one person to decide how the rules are interpreted.


I strikes me that F1 has become a trifle over-regulated!


“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.”

RBR has holes infront of rear wheels. big enough that through from holes one can easily see the asphalt looking from above.


I guess if you were -directly- below, and looked -vertically- upwards, you’d just see sky…


Yeah, but if you waited 5 hours you’d also see BBC 😀


actually you will see a part of sky and a part which is like an airduct cap which also is a part of the car if you look from below directly.

anyhow the real point apart from word games, aim of the hole is against the new rules.


how on earth FIA can let such a hole, imo it is completely against what has written on the book.

the aim of the hole is to send exhaust gases to the diffuser.


Can it be that Red Bull does have an open gap, just like Sauber, but Red Bull have made the two surfaces “connect”, or touch each other (so you could theoretically bend them apart). So physically there is no true “hole” in the floor, it is one continuous structure.

Maybe that is why FIA accepted Red Bulls explanation already in Bahrain and why it is indeed legal?


That’s a really interesting idea, that there’s no bond between the surfaces, but no gap either.

OTOH, the Gary Anderson view seems to be that you can have all the holes you want, as long as the floor is made from non-porous material.

James, do you have a view on this? If as I assume the “slot” designs were only used to get round this reg, it’s frankly pretty poor that the rules are so ambiguous that there are two entirely separate levels of confusion…


Mercedes DDRS was also cleared by the FIA but IIRC Red Bull had quite a fuss about it did it not? The funny thing is Red Bull comes out and says “they don’t like it because we did a better job”.


The only image of the ‘controversial’ Red Bull hole/slot I can find is the rather crap graphic on the official F1 website – so it’s difficult to judge what all the fuss is about. I suspect light-hearted gamesmanship to be the culprit. Perhaps the protesters should draw lots – loser has to rename their team Absolut Bull? (sponsorship opportunity?)



The surface is continuous – if you traced a finger over it, all parts could be reached without having to lift your digit. Imperviousness generally refers to the quality of a material, not to its profile or any cut-outs/apertures it might contain.

Red Bull’s are legal with regard to Article 3.12.5, far as I’m concerned.



Even if action is taken on the Red Bull floor, can we assume that all the results to date will be allowed to stand?

And technically, it’s been reported elsewhere that other teams have similar holes, but that their holes are connected to the edge of the floor with slots (which may however be too narrow to slide a piece of paper into). This apparently makes them legal. So, does Red Bull really get any significant benefit simply from omitting these tiny slits? Can you estimate the gain in lap time from that?

Without a better technical understanding of what’s at stake, and as someone who thought RB’s flexiwing cars should have been black flagged, I can’t see that this is a very big deal.


Now I remember last year’s opening race when Sauber’s results were annulled because their rear wing didn’t comply with the tests and hence applicable regulations. That little violation didn’t lead to any advantage and was the result of a production mistake. Seems a bit unfair that Red Bull’s results are allowed to stand since the team violated the rules knowingly (if a violation will be found) and gained performance advantage due to the violation…


There’s a big difference here, the radius of the wing is firmly set and everybody knows it. Here we are talking about the interpretation of the rules wording, a practice that by definition will leave grey areas.

With the former all teams know they cant go beyond a certain point for any reason, with the latter the teams have to ask around to find out what constitutes legal and what doesnt with the added complication that Charlie Whitings decisions arent necasseraly worth the paper they are printed on.



The problem is that the rules arent always worded in a clear cut way. The teams have to contact Charlie to ask whether what they are doing is legal, but they have to do it in a roundabout way because the question and asnwer gets forwarded to all teams so nobody wants to tell their competitors what they are doing.

This leaves in the position where Charlie say’s something is fine but we still get protest threats.

Production mistakes are pretty clear cut as it tends to be about measuring parts. They’re unintentinal, but they’e clearly outside of the rules all the same.


Haha I like how you worded the worth of Charlie’s decisions. I was tempted to agree with you, but in the end, it’s not a matter of interpretation – it’s a matter of whether a team violated the rules regardless of whether through a peculiar interpretation or production mistake. It’s just Sauber’s case was more obvious than Red Bull’s. The thing is that the rules must be the same for all the teams including their interpretation (Red Bull) and practical realization (Sauber).


Red bull gained no advantage other than Schuey had a 5 grid spot pentalty which gifted the race on a platter who every qualified 2nd. Webber could have won on moped as long as he made the first corner leading.


Good point. Go back further, one example being Ferrari’s flexible floor in Aust 2007. Deemed illegal but result(s) stood.

James Clayton

The Mass Damper Systems of 2006


But in the same time, RBR say they have a letter from Charlie saying those holes are in line with the rules.

If they do have a letter from Charlie, that means their results must stand, because either Charlie deemed those holes legal, or he made a mistake when assuring RBR that it was legal, if in fact now they look at it again and decide it’s not.


I see your point, but although Charlie’s opinion is authoritative, I don’t think it is binding in the form of a letter – that’s why the teams are allowed to protest the results affected by illegal solutions. But probably it’s a compromised solution that the teams have developed throughout the years that having just Charlie’s endorsing opinion is enough to exonerate a violating team.


That’s actually a very good point.


Yes, that has been the practice


“agreed by teams not to mar the Monaco weekend with controversy”

Sorry to say that failing to resolve this RBR car legality quickly and decisively is exactly what will mar Monaco and F1.

There’s really got to be a better way. Charlie gives a ruling that is provisional, and depends on whether someone will “protest”. Then another ruling is made.

What nonsense.


You hit it on the head, the FIA as a governing body raises question marks when it comes to actual governing. They have made good strides into driver safety but as an honest establishment they are far from it. Different rules apply diferently with no proper interpretation…sounds like one guy I know…Bernie! To put it mildly reputation has no place into the sport, always twists and turns and making up the rules as they go along. Anyone who comes up against their decision loses or gets fined into sumission.



Gareth Foches

Charlie Whiting & RBR need to show their definition of “a hole” and “impervious”. The gile and disingenuity in this sport is sometimes mindboggling.


Gile and disingenuity. I think wile and ingenuity is more likely, and in that case, yes, their cleverness is truly mind boggling. Make first line jet fighters seem simple.


If the hole appeared in Bahrain, then why didn’t the teams protest at that time? And why do they want to do a protest after a race instead of before a race?

Also, according to Christian Horner, it has been approved by the people in FIA. So why the fuss?


I believe there’s a set time period were protests can be lodged and they are after the race, I dont know about at any other time during the weekend. As for why not at Bahrain, my guess would be that the teams have spent the time arguing amongst themselves about the pro’s and con’s of all this before coming up with some sort of decision.

Horner actually said that Charlie Whiting approaved it, but in the past his word has been almost worthless on technical and sporting matters (with the notable recent exception of Mercedes double DRS).


>So why the fuss?<

Because on a literal reading of the rules, it breaks the ones governing the floor. Note that the other teams have been pretty decent about not protesting the Red Bull win – they just want clarification, and rightly so.

If the rules are being interpreted in a way which the teams genuinely don't understand, why would they not ask for an explanation ?

I don't understand why the FIA say it's legal, and I'd would like to know too.


In the diagram on the F1 site it says they are arguing over whether or not these ‘holes’ violate the “impervious” requirement as opposed to “slots” that do not.

Frankly this is not my understanding of the word “impervious”.

It appears to me that *both the Sauber “slot” and the RB “hole” would violate the “solid and continuous” part of the rule.

FIA are going to have to produce a spec floor!


How can Sauber’s be violating the rule? The floor has to have some kind of edge, and the rules don’t restrict what shape the edge is (to my knowledge, anyway).

The BBC coverage said that the disagreement was over what “impervious” means exactly: eg is a sieve impervious? If you poured water through it then it’d fall through the holes but not through the material itself.


The Sauber has a slot eminating from the edge of the floor which is legal, a U shape when viewd from above. The Red Bull has a whole cut in the floor which is not achieved as part of the floors edge and therefore the floor is not impervious.


I had the same problem when I went on holiday abroad but found a way to watch it,which part of the world are you in?

Commentary was in a foreign laugauge but it didnt matter much. Couldnt ask for more.


Yep I heard it on the BBC as the Technical Analyst discussed the possibilities of what in actually means…The regs are open to interpretation and engineers will push the boundaries and manipulate the wording to gain design advantage. It would be much better to make it clear cut..allow or ban…not sit in the middle. But to be honest I don’t think it will be possible as this sport host some of the best engineering marvels.


Just search for it on youtube! It may be wrong but I guess they have rights issues to worry about. Luckily for us we have video sharing sites.


Unfortunately, the BBC don’t even provide streaming video outside the UK, so nobody else can watch that.

It seems like the wrong way to go with non-broadcast content.


My understanding of the “impervious” requirement is that Sauber are complient. The floor is a single solid and continuous shape, which has a bit missing out of the side of it. There’s no regulation that states that it must be flat* and straight.

* with the obvious exception of the reference plane


According to the FIA both are ‘compliant’ but it doesn’t look that way to me.

These ppl must append an entire Engineering Dictionary to the rules each year just for this kind of discussion.


My dictionary defines impervious as “not allowing entrance or passage” and continuous as “marked by uninterrupted extension in space, time or sequence.” So how can a hole in the floor be impervious or continuous? I suppose next they’ll argue that x-rays will pass through it…This is lunacy!


Listen to Gary’s comments about when he to the FIA as a designer in the past about their interpretation of “impervious”.

“By their definition, a sieve is impervious”

He’s right. If what he is saying is true, what the FIA are describing is “non-porous”.


Red Bull in recent seasons have got away with various devices to ensure their success with FIA’s complacency or complicity, like their over-flexible wing parts and very dubious engine/exhaust mappings, so no surprise that they’re at it again. McLaren’s problem is that under Whitmarsh they neither rock the boat with protests or try to bend the rules either, a losing combination. Whitmarsh needs to stop trying to be PR rep for the entire sport and act more aggressively and divisively, like Red Bull, or Ferrari and Mercedes when they want.


Red Bull has never had an illegal car. What you call dubious is merely knife edge interpretation of the regs. All the teams do it, just not always in a visible way. The regs are not yet completely black and white in all areas so there is room to intrepret. If the FIA says an interpretation is legal its legal. No matter how fine a line is, the line remains.


Yeah, like Charlie said Lotus’ braking system was legal, then back-pedalled later, presumably when the other teams led him to the appropriate paragraph of the rules. Mr Whiting doesn’t exactly have a stellar record on rules interpretation this year.

This one appears cut and dried. I can’t see how this hole can be within the scope of rule 3.12.5.


Well the teams forced his hand as one of the teams just submitted the idea again but listed as purely for areodynamic gain so he had to ban it.

It was just legal wrangeling really.


You’ve hit the nail on the head there.


Agreed, Ron wouldn’t let bend over like he does.


James, Any idea what the protest is about? even if we don’t know what red bull are up to, is anyone saying what regulation they are allegedly breaching?


It’s Article 3.12.5 of the sport’s technical regulations which states that, “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.”

Andrew Woodruff

Ok, so if that is the case, and the RB8 floor has two holes in it, what possible argument does Red Bull have for its legality?


Surely the performance difference between Red Bull’s solution and Ferrari’s ‘open’ hole can’t be all that great in the scheme of things? It wouldn’t appear to be anything like potential gains from past ‘differences of opinions’ over rule interpretations, such as flexi-wings and double diffusers…

James, regardless of what happens, is it fair to say that Red Bull won’t be too concerned about this one, now that the threat of a post race protest has passed?

Stuart Harrison

It’s disingenuous to suggest that just because it doesn’t offer a significant performance gain, there shouldn’t be questions about its legality. If the FIA let this one go and then, later in the season, another team came up with a similar idea and did produce a large performance gain, where would the FIA be? The horse has already bolted.

You either apply the rule – net effect is that Red Bull lose out on a small amount of performance (or switch to the Ferrari/Sauber style solution) – or you don’t. The former seems the saner approach for all concerned!


Indeed, the problem with this sort of thing is its a toe dipped in the water just like the early iterations of pod wings in the mid to late part of the last decade. If it gets passed by the FIA it will open the floodgates for ridiculously expensive slotted floor development for ever diminishing returns. By the end of the year there will be some bizarre looking interpretations on the top team’s cars that clearly extract the urine and become performance differentiators simply because the rest of the grid haven’t got the resources to chase these anal areas of development. Its pointless allowing the teams to spend millions on a part of the car that most fans don’t understand or care about. They’d be better off opening up the development potential in other areas that the fans can relate to such as engines or the more obvious aero parts like wings. The floor of the F1 car constitutes something of a black art and it alienates fans when they hear teams bickering about a stupid bit of carbon fibre that mysteriously produces a 10th of second of perfomance that you can’t even see without spy shot photography.

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