The FIA appears to have waded back into the ‘F-duct’ debate, indicating that the Mercedes-style solution is fully legal.
We reported on Monday that the saga looked set to continue into China next weekend, with some teams – notably Red Bull and Lotus – questioning the legality of the aerodynamic innovation. It had emerged that Lotus technical director James Allison has come up with another argument against the technology that will be posed to the FIA’s Charlie Whiting ahead of scrutineering in Shanghai next week. Christian Horner insists Red Bull and Lotus’ concerns are shared by others.
“Believe me it’s not just Red Bull, I think there’s half the paddock that’s been looking at this,” he told British television Sky Sport’s The F1 Show.
The Red Bull team boss revealed that Whiting left Malaysia wanting “to have a think about it”.
So, the latest development is the re-release via the FIA website of an “edited version” of the technical briefing that Whiting gave to reporters in Australia last month. It is believed the complaining teams’ main objection to the Mercedes system is that it arguably uses ‘driver movement’ – the pressing of the DRS button – to be activated.
Under the heading “Pressing the DRS button and the issue of ‘driver movement'”, the media briefing quotes Whiting as stating simply: “This is specifically allowed (in the rules).”
Mercedes’ Ross Brawn is quoted by the BBC: “We call it the DRS, because that’s all it is. The purpose of the DRS is to improve overtaking and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Whiting’s stance in China, however, may not be the end of it.
“Then the teams are faced with alternatives,” Horner explained. “Either accept it and get on it and maybe look at your own solution if that fits your car. You’ve got the opportunity to protest if we were to feel – or any other team were to feel – that we didn’t agree with Charlie’s interpretation.”