As expected the FIA has clamped down on the controversial Red Bull floor by clarifying its position and stating that the holes in front of the RB8’s rear wheels are not permitted.
The ruling, given via the traditional route of a Technical Directive sent to all the teams, applies from Canada onwards. It does not affect past results, which is normal when such clarifications occur.
Other teams had expressed their opposition to RBR’s interpretation of the rules applying to ‘surfaces lying on the step plane’, and the FIA came to its conclusion after reviewing that input – along with Red Bull’s opinion.
Ferrari and McLaren had considered a protest in Monaco but chose not to make one after the race, on the basis that they assumed that the FIA would come to such a conclusion.
Red Bull’s view was that in effect there was a grey area in the rules which did not specify that holes were banned in that particular place. However, the FIA now says “we disagree with this view and consider it implicit that fully enclosed holes may not be located there.”
Although the consensus was that the RBR holes did not necessarily provide a significant performance advantage the concern was that it could have led to developments that had a greater impact.
This writer has seen a copy of TD/013-12, the text of which reads as follows: “Following on from a number of discussions in Monaco, during which it became clear that certain misunderstandings existed, we feel it would be helpful to make our position clear with respect to the presence of a fully enclosed hole in any surface lying on the step plane.
“It has been argued that, as it is not explicitly stated that fully enclosed holes cannot be located in a surface lying on the step plane rearward of a line 450mm forward of the rear face of the cockpit template, then they may be located in such areas. We disagree with this view and consider it implicit that fully enclosed holes may not be located there.
“If they were permitted the opening part of the second paragraph of Article 3.12.5 (which was added to the regulations at the same time as Articles 3.12.9 and 3.12.10 for 2011) would be superfluous.
“Furthermore, locating a fully enclosed hole partly or wholly within the 50mm band which is exempt from the requirements of Article 3.12.10 along the outer edges of the surfaces lying on the step plane does not exempt it from the requirements of Article 3.12.5, those parts lying outboard of Y650 are still parts of the surfaces lying on the step plane.”