Ferrari fix floor area after flexing controversy

Sebastian Vettel - SF70-H - Austrian GP 2017. Credit: Scuderia Ferrari

Ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix weekend, Scuderia Ferrari have made adjustments to reinforce the floor area of the SF70-H, amidst suggestions that certain elements of their car have been flexing.

Video emerged from the Bahrain race weekend and subsequent in-season test, showing the Ferrari floor area (though not across the full length), as well as the rear wing and diffuser, bending under high speed, and speculation as to the legality of this, has never gone away.

It is likely the floor has been designed in this way to improve the car’s performance in high-speed corners and to reduce drag, but many believe in doing so they are contravening the rules.

The FIA measures the stiffness of the floor at two points, under a weight of 100 kg. The two measure points are the front of the floor and on the edges just before the rear wheels, and critics believe that Ferrari managed to outsmart the FIA by having a floor made up of several parts, meaning the tests were not carried out against the correct measurement, or possibly not on the sections that bend.

Despite the accusations that something shady could be going on at Ferrari, the Italian squad have passed all scrutineering and deny any wrong-doing on their part. They did however make changes in China (the race following Bahrain) adding a lip to the upper surface of the floor, in order to make the section more rigid.

They have again made some modifications this weekend in Austria, closing off one of the slots in this same area, and adding in a more stabilising metal insert. This could just be an update specific to the Spielberg track, but sceptics are more convinced it is to stave off any further unwanted criticism regarding underhand tactics.