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McLaren

McLaren want FIA intervention after 'extreme' wobbling of Ocon's wing

Lando Norris noticed Esteban Ocon's rear wing was flapping during the closing stages of the Canadian Grand Prix while chasing for P8.

Ocon Canada
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To news overview © XPBimages

McLaren were not happy with the "extreme" wobbling of Esteban Ocon's rear wing at the end of the Canadian Grand Prix, with the team set to seek an explanation from the FIA.

While chasing down Ocon for eighth position in the closing stages of the race, Lando Norris reported that the Frenchman's rear wing was flapping.

Team Principal Andrea Stella said the team looked at it and thought it was "extreme" and operating beyond its design capabilities.

"It was extreme," Stella told media, including RacingNews365.com.

"When Lando reported it and we started to look, there was something broken on that wing. It can't wobble like that, just out of its normal behaviour.

"It wouldn't be accepted by the FIA, it wouldn't be accepted by the team itself. I'm sure that wing is not operating within design."

Stella said it is the responsibility of the teams to ensure that their wing construction meets the requirements of the FIA, but concedes that it could be interpreted differently by each competitor.

"You need to know the construction of your car, then you need to wonder, 'Have I proven out my car, my component in this condition?' It's very likely, the answer is no," he added.

"I think here comes a sense of responsibility, which every team can interpret in a different way."

Alpine: We put the wing through stress tests in R&D

Alpine are confident that their rear wing design meets all the criteria, having ran it through Research and Development tests prior to it hitting the track.

"Hindsight is a wonderful thing. It didn't fail, it stayed on," Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer told media, including RacingNews365.com.

"We designed that wing and we manufacture it, so that failure mode was probably most familiar to us and we're happy that it wasn't going to come off.

"We test for that in R&D and we put it through those tests, just because of the way it's mounted. 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 that it wasn't."

Szafnauer confirmed the team consulted with the FIA when the issue was raised, but said they were confident about its structural integrity in the closing stages of the race.

"We talked about it and the FIA came to us as well and said, 'Looks like your rear wing is moving'. Then we looked at it and talked about it, but we're confident with a couple laps left that it was gonna be fine."

			© RN365/Michael Potts
	© RN365/Michael Potts

Stella: Conflict of interest with teams

The stewards have previously issued black and orange flags to drivers with damaged wings and loose parts, notably for Kevin Magnussen at the Singapore Grand Prix when his front wing endplate was damaged.

When this is issued, drivers must pit to repair the damages or risk a further penalty from the stewards. This is what happened to Alpine at the United States Grand Prix last year, when Fernando Alonso was initially given a 30-second post-race penalty after a protest from Haas over a flapping right mirror.

The penalty was later overturned as Haas did it outside of the 30-minute window post-race, because they were erroneously advised by Race Director Niels Wittich that it was an hour.

FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem later said he would review the use of black and orange flags which oblige teams to pit drivers to repair damage. Stella believes there is a conflict of interest when teams are in charge of whether they decide to pit the car.

"After the episode that happened last year in Austin with the mirror, the race direction leaves the duty of care to the teams," said Stella.

"It's a tricky one when teams are in competition and you have a conflict of interest in terms of the safety of everyone involved and maximising your result."

Stella confirmed that it will be discussed between teams at the next Sporting Advisory Committee meeting, which gives teams an opportunity to review rules and regulations.

He added: "This is a debate that we reserved and ensure that at the next Sporting Advisory Committee it will be raised again.

"As Lando said a couple of times, it is not nice when you follow a car with a wobbling rear wing, and this may hit you and nothing [penalty] happens."

F1 2023 Canadian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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