Questions rise over legality of Red Bull ‘rubber’ front wing

Nov.8 (GMM) The seemingly never-ending saga about ‘bendy’ Formula One cars is back in the media spotlight, and as ever championship leader Red Bull is right in the middle.

Multiple videos depicting the front nose of the world champions’ 2012 RB8 car have emerged in the wake of last weekend’s Abu Dhabi grand prix, showing the extreme tip of the front nose section to apparently be made of some sort of ‘rubbery’ material.

“Is this legal?” wondered a report by Italian magazine Autosprint, with Tuttosport adding: “Should it (the nose) not be a rigid part?”

Auto Motor und Sport journalist Tobias Gruner, however, thinks the controversy is a “false alarm”, because the front 150mm of the nose extremities are “always made a little softer” for the purposes of the FIA’s mandatory crash tests.

But Gruner also acknowledged that engineers from rival teams are similarly analysing the images, with “at least one team” thought to have already contacted the governing body.

As ever, right at the heart of the latest technical controversy is Red Bull’s designer Adrian Newey, who was recently labelled a “genius” by McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton.

“His cars are veritable works of art,” agreed British broadcaster Damon Hill, who in 1996 won the championship at the wheel of a Newey-penned Williams.

“I don’t want to go too far, but he is the Michelangelo of Formula One,” he added.

Subbed by AJN.

  • Kimi4WDC

    Getting my pop corn!

  • Raikko

    Anyway possible Ferrari! ANYWAY!

  • Javakar

    Hahahah italians such a bas loosers they know they cant compete with rebbull anymore

  • Disgusted with 2012

    So, no actual FIA action, no team protest, no official anything… just some zealot at some Italian magazine combing videos to find something to help the Great Feraahhhreee and the Great Fernahndoe win the championship they are so entitled to. Could the “at least one team” to bring this to the attention of officials be the Great Feraahhreee? The nose passed FIA crash testing, including revisions made at any time over the season, the wing passes flex testing under the latest revised enhanced procedures established mid season. Seems there is a need for a new nose test allright – the one that tests whose nose is bent out of shape over the Great Feraahhreee being beaten once more by that upstart fizzy drink maker.

  • Mike

    There wouldn’t be such smalltalk if Ferrari was of Newey’s design. Since Byrne’s departure Ferrari is just an average car.

  • Wayne in USA

    Rules are rules and it seems Red Bull is on the wrong side of them (say may say that is cheating – certainly not Red Bull zealots).

  • Disgusted with 2012

    Yes, the wing and nose on Vettels car was obviously broken, thus the need for replacement after taking two hits, one directly down the middle, the other at a twisting angle, which immediately resulted in a box call to have it replaced. The dude pulling the wing off noticed the movement and moved his hand to support it, obviously because it felt wrong when he lifted it normally. Note that the new one did not seem to twist when installed. As far as the slo motion vid of Mark’s car – without having any other to compare with, its impossible to determine of it looks any different than any other car, so drawing any conclusions from it is impossible, no matter how much everyone wants RBR to be ended.

  • F1 Neutral


    Exactly right about Rory Byrne, the unsung hero of Ferrari who only ever attended one race per season.

    As good of a designer as Newey. Ferrari were average at best before he arrived and are average at best now.

    Lucky they have Alonso, who, like Schumacher in 96 and 97 is worth quite a few seconds per race in terms of dry or wet weather craft.

  • quattro


    It is very obvious were you sympathies (and obviously) interest lays. People tend to have wild imagination. Some did imagine RB had strange illegal holes in the floor. RB raced that floor…a few times. Some other strange people…imagined hearing some unusual sounds dues to special RB engine maps…maps that actually were raced a few time. Both were later deemed illegal or not within the spirit of rules. What happened to the points that RB, Vettel & Webber gained while racing these ILLEGAL stuff? Well, they still have them…competing with the shiny clean points of Alonso for the drivers title. There you go.
    And what happened to that “smart” hand operated ride height adjusting system? I guess either it was a rumour OR all teams know RB did use it for so long (years?), that they agreed to keep silence in order to not damage the reputation of the sport too much by protesting now…

  • Disgusted with 2012

    Looking back at F1 history, I see no support of the theory that teams , the FIA, stewards, or F1 organizers keep silent to known violations: 2011 – Sauber disqualified in AUS for tech infringement. Schumacher disqualified of all 1997 standing for one race incident. McLaren excluded from 2007 for possession of some paper files, the 2008 mess with Renault including exclusions, and bans, 2005 BAR banned from two races for a fuel tank mod, 1985 Prost disqualified after winning for being light, 2009 Hamilton disqualified from Melbourn… etc… Violations of all types are frequently punished, when it is deemed so by the governing body, not hysterical fans reacting to what they think they see, with zero data to support. If RBR are found in violation, they should and will be punished. Otherwise, it is reasonable to assume that those in the know, know more than those who imagine they know more than they actually do.

  • Robert

    Too funny. I cannot stand how bad Italian’s cry and whine about every little thing when they are losing. And I am half Italian!
    The wing was broken. This is why it twisted. They are designed that way. And for Webbers wing movement over the kerbs, look at Ferrari at those same kerbs. Their cascade wings flex just as much if not more than the Red Bull! Ferrari always expect special priviledges. If they are losing, someone else must be cheating! God forbid someone knows how to build an F1 car better than them!

  • Steve Maximus

    Carbon fiber cracks when it breaks, it does not flex. Clearly they are cheating. This is amazing. Singapore they brought in a much longer front nose and since Singapore they have won every race (or would have without the fuel screwup). Obvious cheats. Larnce Armstrong style. They are very good at cheating. They give out the same “Prove it” statements that Armstrong gave out. “I passed all the tests.” He said. But he still cheated.

  • Steve Maximus

    @ Mike @ F1 Neutral. My brother worked with Rory Burne at Ferrari and YES he was the unsung hero of F1. 100% right.

  • Bruno

    Rules are rules!
    But if you you can bend them…

  • Carl

    Andrew Benson via twit: “Whiting says Red Bull nose “is no more flexible than any other car’s in that area””. So “Rubber Nose” is a non issue. Funny how people will jump to conclusions to explain why their favorite team / driver are less competitive.

  • Antonio Signore

    Oh well…maybe it was just a bad dream that an English mechanic copied the project data of the ferrari car that arrived than to a copy-shop in the island…

    Accusing Ferrari of being a sore loser is a little too much..if there is a car that keeps trying year after year sometimes with good fortune and sometimes with less is ours…

    No matter the illegal holes (later removed), no matter the illegal mapping (later removed), we are supposed to be the sore losers..