Wind tunnel clampdown

Astrict clampdown on wind tunnel usage was at the heart of a comprehensive package of cost-cutting measures for 2008 outlined by Max Mosley at the World Motor Sport Council in December. The details will be thrashed out at a meeting between Mosley and team bosses in Paris on January 11.

FIA president Mosley wants teams to use just one wind tunnel which would operate for only eight hours a day, five days a week. It has become common practice in recent years for teams to employ extra staff so that tunnels can run 24/7. Among those with two on-site tunnels at their disposal are Williams, BMW and Toyota. There will also be a ban on using full-size cars in tunnels, with a cap on the model size of 60 per cent.

In order to stop teams from diverting resources into replicating tunnel work with Computational Fluid Dynamics, there will be controls on both the equipment and personnel available for CFD. There will also be restrictions on practical aero testing in terms of straight-line running.

“We think this is all very realistic,” said Mosley. “It’s desperately necessary now to get some of the costs under control. People are talking about making 1:1 wind tunnels and getting super computers on super computers, and somehow we’ve got to get a grip on this or we’re going to lose teams.

“We’ve had quite a lot of dialogue. Ferrari support it, and so do some of the other teams.”

Although only the aerodynamic cutbacks have been explained in detail so far, the FIA says that it also intends to place wide-ranging restrictions on “rig testing, design and manufacturing, suspension and brakes, hydraulic systems, bodywork, weight distribution, circuit testing and the number of personnel at races.”