Wolff issues safety warning over planned wind tunnel ban
Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has warned of the implications of Formula 1's planned wind tunnel ban and the introduction of CFD.
Initial discussions between the teams, F1 and the FIA took place towards the end of October, with suggestions that in line with the current carbon-neutral target for 2030, the prohibition of wind tunnels would also occur at the same time.
From that moment on, computational fluid dynamics would be the primary method by which the teams would develop and test their cars before they hit the track.
Explaining the issues that would arise, Wolff said: "I think there was broad agreement [at the meeting] that over the long term this would happen but it’s such a massive regulatory change that also involves certain safety aspects.
"We must not forget that these cars are the fastest on the planet with the most downforce and we don’t want to experiment live with drivers in the car based on CFD."
Mercedes' current wind tunnel is one of the best in F1, and while its loss would naturally have an impact on the development of cars, Wolff feels that a 10-year pathway towards a ban would at least prove beneficial.
"Our tunnel is the same generation as a few others in the paddock," added Wolff. "We’ve worked on the tunnel over the last years, as has everybody else.
"People tend to say there is a silver bullet, that the tunnel is very good or the tyre analysis is very good, or the engine is very good but it’s always the combination of everything.
"Therefore, I think setting a target like 2030 for banning wind tunnels is a path that works for everybody and is going to help us make the sport more sustainable from the financial side."
Guenther Steiner, whose Haas team do not have their own wind tunnel, concurred with Wolff's assessment.
"I think everything is possible," said Steiner. "Technology gets better, is advancing in big steps, as we all know.
"I think we don’t need to decide now, but going in that direction would maybe be the right thing to do. It’s too early to come to a complete conclusion but, if it is like this, if everybody is the same, that this is what we are going do, I will support it."
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