Alfa Romeo slam 'unfair' cost of rear wing change, downplay Baku advantage

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Alfa Romeo has played down how influential Flexi-wings will be at this weekend's Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Much of the focus off the track will be on whether Mercedes follow through with a threat to protest the Red Bull car, after voicing anger at the FIA's decision to introduce new rear wing load tests from the next race at Paul Ricard, not in Baku.

However, this stronger flex test has also impacted Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and others, who have rear wings that are designed to bend at high speed on the straights to reduce drag.

And though Baku has the longest flat-out section of any circuit, Alfa chief Fred Vasseur claims any gain in top speed will be limited.

"We have to be serious with the wings, that it won't be a game-changer at all," he said via


"In Azerbaijan, you have two different parts of the track. You have the city, and the philosophy of this part of the track is quite close to Monaco, then you have the 2.2-kilometre straight.

"This will be probably a bit more difficult, but it is like it is."

Vasseur then criticised the governing body for imposing a new rear wing flex test from the French GP, though it is entitled to do so, citing the financial impact for those teams who have to make changes.

"I'm not writing the rules, the FIA did it, then we designed the car with the rules published," he said.

"We have to go to the limit on every single area, this is the philosophy of the F1, and this is the philosophy of every single team, that in terms of weight, for the design and on every single topic we have to go to the limit.

"And suddenly, I don't know the reason – perhaps just because that one team [Mercedes] started to complain one week ago – we had a new technical directive.

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"I think it's a shame to come so late with the clarification because I think all the teams asked for clarification much earlier. We have also to consider the fact, that we are all collectively doing a big effort to reduce the cost," Vasseur added.

"I'm not speaking about the performance penalty because honestly, we did a back-to-back a couple of times and it's not a big drama, and it won't change the approach.

"But at the end, it will change my approach because that I will have to spend a big part of my development budget on this and this is unfair for me."

Red Bull has put the cost of redesigning the rear wing at $500,000, a hefty amount given teams are limited to just $145m under the budget cap.