Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Latest In The F-Duct Saga

FIA have Monday re-released an "edited version" of the technical briefing that Charlie Whiting gave to reporters in Australia last month. This comes after continued questioning by Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner about the legality of the Mercedes DRS-activated F-Ducts. A final ruling is expected now in China, although this comes after a final ruling was expected in Malaysian and seemed to be given.

Here are the details of the FIA re-release below regarding the F-Ducts.

Passive F‐ducts

Opinion on DRS‐activated F‐Duct systems

Charlie Whiting: We think they’re going to be legal from what we’ve seen so far.  

Why some teams are querying this

Charlie Whiting: Some teams are questioning it on the basis that they thought F‐Ducts were banned. F‐Ducts are not banned. At the end of 2010 everyone was using driver operated F‐Ducts. The regulations that were changed specifically banned the use of driver movement to influence the aerodynamic performance of the car. This got rid of that generation of F‐Ducts.

 Engineers, being unable to unlearn things, wanted to get the things back via different means. They talked about allowing the opening and closing of a duct by having interaction with suspension. We said no, you can’t do that, because it goes to the primary purpose of the suspension system. 

There was a discussion in the TWG (Technical Working Group) at the beginning of the last year to
make sure this was clear. It seems that a couple of teams went away from that meeting with the impression that F‐Ducts were therefore banned in general. 

What some teams are doing now is allowing air to pass into a duct when the DRS is operated. It’s completely passive, there are no moving parts and it doesn’t interact with any suspension or steering systems. Therefore, I can’t see any rule that prohibits it. 

Pressing the DRS button and the issue of ‘driver movement’

Charlie Whiting: This is specifically allowed.

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