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Is F-duct a swear word again?

2012-03-16 07:14

CAN YOU TELL THE DIFFERENCE? The Mercedes F1 team has apparently circumvented the now-banned F-duct on its cars and now everybody wants, well, whatever the designers have done. Image: AFP

Tim Collings

MELBOURNE, Australia - Red Bull chief Christian Horner believes other Formula 1 teams will have to copy Mercedes' new rear-wing design since it's been cleared by officials.

Thus starts the year’s first technical controversy with first practice here in Melbourne barely over...

Horner said Mercedes had found a "creative solution" to rules banning the so-called F-ducts which divert airflow to reduce drag and other teams would have no choice but to follow suit.


Horner continued: "If a team has found a creative solution to circumnavigate a rule then ultimately it is down to the International Automobile Federation - other teams will have to follow and there is cost involved in that."

The innovative rear-wing device is part of a design meant to boost straight-line speed, especially when the car's drag reduction system is engaged.

IAF technical head Charlie Whiting said on Thursday that motorsport’s ruling body had no problem with the design of the Mercedes rear wing. Mercedes boss Ross Brown denied the new design was "contentious"; his team was "completely comfortable" that it was within the rules.

"Yes, we have a system. We don't believe there is anything contentious about it," he said, “but as to whether we are the first, or not the first, to have such a system I don't know. What the system is, I am not going to explain!"


Brawn expected similar designs would appear on rival cars if other teams believed it would give them an edge.

"We will see over the next few months how it develops but, if teams feel our idea is attractive, then it will proliferate on other cars. We don't see it anywhere else, or they've concluded it is not worth having, but I am not going to say what it is."

Brawn, turning to legalise, said there was no official definition of an F-duct therefore it could not be banned.

"It is not a debate. What is an F-duct? People talk about an F-duct but I don't know what an F-duct is. If you ask the IAF what an F-duct is they don't know.

“So we are completely comfortable with what we are doing and, we believe, so is the IAF.”

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