Sunday, June 23, 2024

Stella Wanting FIA Answers over Lack of Action of Ocon’s Wobbling Rear Wing in Canada

Andrea Stella has called upon the FIA to explain why the race stewards at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve deemed that Esteban Ocon’s BWT Alpine F1 Team car was being driven safely, despite the rear wing on the A523 shaking wildly for much of the day.

Lando Norris, who was following Ocon for much of the second half of the Canadian Grand Prix, was heard saying that the wing appeared ‘dangerous’ over the radio, but the Frenchman was allowed to continue to finish eighth without the stewards showing him the black and orange flag.

Stella, the Team Principal of the McLaren F1 Team, says the FIA has previously given duty of care back to the teams, but he insists talks need to take place with the Sporting Advisory Committee about what happened in Montréal.

“The race direction now leaves the duty of care to the teams,” Stella is quoted as saying by “It’s the team’s call to say ‘we should retire the car’ or ‘we should leave the car out’. 

“It’s a tricky one because teams, when they are in a competition, you have a conflict of interest in terms of safety of everyone involved and maximising your result.

“I think this is a debate that will deserve more time and I’m sure that the next Sporting Advisory Committee it will be raised again. Because Lando said a couple of times that it is not nice when you follow a car with a wobbling rear wing and this may hit you, and kind of nothing happens.

“We will certainly make a question as to what was their thinking in terms of how safe the situation was today.”

Otmar Szafnauer, the Team Principal of Alpine, insists they were confident that the wing was not going to fail, so it was an obvious decision to leave Ocon on track to fight for points.

“It didn’t fail, so it stayed on,” said Szafnauer. “We designed that wing and we manufacture it. So that failure mode was probably most familiar to us. And we were happy that it wasn’t going to come off.

“We test for that in R&D, so we put it through those tests, just because of the way it’s mounted, and we, therefore, see those types of modes and understand if it’s going to come off or not.

“So we’re happy that with all the testing that we do, it wasn’t.”