Le Mans – The FIA Trend Continues

Formula 1 has now apparently been only the first of the FIA series to create issues. We have seen WTCC, F1, and issues in the WRC in terms of scheduling. With that being said, it should be no surprise to anyone that the greatest endurance race in the world has been brought into the controversy. Peugeot has filed an official complaint to the FIA over body work on the Audi R15. Above is a front end picture of the piece in question on the TDI, it is a front flap on the bottom of the car that connects two wings together and has been mentioned as another piece that adds downforce to the front of the car which is against the technical regulations.

audi-r15-tdi-lmp1-nose-closeThis story actually stems all the way back to the 12 Hours of Sebring when Peugeot protested the same body work after they ended up on the losing side of one of the tightest races between the two teams. As with all FIA decisions, it was put on the back burner and left to simmer and we are now moments away from the 77th Running of Le Mans and a car may have to be completely redesigned to meet the technical regulations. With a mere two days and two practice sessions down, we know it will not happen. Article 3.6.2 states No element aerodynamic may not be added on the body with the exception of: – two elements aerodynamic maximum (flaps) on the front and in the front projection of the wings before provided that: • Do not impede the visibility of pilot; • Do not mask the headlamps; • Do not be more than 600 mm above the surface of reference; • to be approved by the manufacturer and the ACO (approval of the car). – A “Gurney” to the rear of the body.

The rule has been pasted into the article and it is now up to you to determine if that front “spoiler” is legal or not. We will be watching this situation very closely as it develops, but at this moment we cannot look forward to a decision that makes since due to the fact that it is not typical FIA doctrine to offer such. I would not look for a ruling until after the event is over and that way the FIA could then dictate the results as they see fit. Further more, if I am the FIA, I am going to be very careful with how I handle this situation unlike the F1 situation. Alienating the best team in the series and the one that puts butts in seats is not in their best interest. Granted the part may end up just like the double decker diffuser, time will tell.