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Bell - floor clarification could be key at Sepang 02 Apr 2007

Bob Bell (GBR) Renault Technical Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 16 March 2007

Renault technical director Bob Bell has predicted that revised bodywork tests at this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix could have a major impact on the relative performance of the top teams.

Formula One racing’s governing body, the FIA, issued a rule clarification last week relating to deflection of the car’s floor. It followed speculation that some teams could be running sprung supporting devices, allowing the floor to pass the standard deflection test in scrutineering, but then move under higher loads at speed on the circuit.

Such bodywork movement could provide significant aerodynamic gains - and would hence be illegal under the regulations. As a result, from Sepang onwards the floor deflection test will be carried out with any such sprung devices removed - something Bell believes will hit some teams harder than others.

“It is quite possible that the hierarchy of relative performance will actually be dominated by how well teams have responded to the FIA's clarification of the bodywork regulations last week,” he commented.

“The new testing methods for the floor will, I am sure, have caused some difficulty for all the teams - and how well they respond to that change may well have a larger effect than any other performance developments.”

World champions Renault will be hoping to improve their form in this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix after finishing a distant fifth at round one in Australia.