‘F-duct fever’ returns to F1 in 2012

A new case of F-duct fever appears to have broken out in F1. The issue seemed dead at the end of 2010: the FIA banned the driver-activated systems that stalled the rear wing to boost top speed, replacing it with ‘DRS’. But towards the end of last year, Mercedes began testing an F-duct style innovation in the front-wing, which because it is entirely passive is legal.

The system is on the W03 car, and Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport reports that McLaren’s final Barcelona test specification of its 2012 car, the MP4-27, featured a similar system.

Now, there are rumours Mercedes, McLaren as well as Red Bull and Lotus have designed new F-duct style systems – also for the rear wing.

Asked if this would explain Red Bull’s mysterious letterbox-style slit on the stepped front nose, designer Adrian Newey answered: “I can’t say anything.”

“Some teams have some doubts about the legality of the supposed systems,” journalist Michael Schmidt said. “We have heard that one has made an official request to the FIA about what is and is not allowed in this area.”


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