Mercedes testing ‘front wing F-duct’

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: Speculation over how Mercedes’ “front wing F-duct” works.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Scarbs F1 via Twitter

“I think it works differently to that shown [in Auto Motor und Sport] it’s all about managing the balance of downforce at speed.”

Mercedes experiments with F-duct wing (Autosport)

“This airflow is fed to the diffuser, boosting the downforce generated at the rear of the car. This has also improved the way that the Mercedes uses its rear tyres.”

Dealing with Tragedy (Maurice Hamilton)

“It was clear that a number of correspondents were tweeting simply because it was the thing to be seen to be doing. I’m not talking about race fans looking for an outlet for their genuine sorrow and shock. I’m referring to those whose profile in the sport seemed to demand – in their minds, anyway – some sort of statement of grief even though they knew next to nothing about Wheldon and wouldn’t know an IndyCar if they tripped over one while checking out their mentions on Twitter.”

Sebastian Vettel says Dan Wheldon’s death highlights need for safety (The Guardian)

“The bottom line is what we do might not be the safest so there is always some risk but we are ready to take that into account because we love racing and we love motor sports and it is dangerous.”

Interview with Sebastian Vettel (Renault Sport F1)

“It meant a lot to win at Monza as it was where I got my first Grand Prix win, but also for the whole team. In particular over the past two years we were struggling a bit, we weren’t quick enough on the straights, so to come back this year and win – for Renault it was the first time they have won there since 1995 was great.”

F1 in Korea (Joe Saward)

“Hopes of an increase in spectators from 160,000 to 200,000 over the weekend did not become a reality, despite the fact that ticket prices were dropped by 30%.”

Korea searches for star in F1 (The Korea Herald)

“The country’s only big racing export, Mun Sung-hak, has also struggled to gain traction in his debut season in Formula Two. The England-based driver has found it difficult to compete financially without the same kind of sponsorships that are often available to talented young European drivers.”

F1 Fanatic via Twitter

“Fabio Leimer and Esteban Gutierrez will drive for Sauber in the young driver test at Abu Dhabi.”

Follow F1 news as it breaks using the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app.

Comment of the day

Electrolite wants more continuity among F1 teams when it comes to names:

I don’t want Formula 1 to be a rich men’s playground where investors can stick their noses in and out as and when they feel like it.

I want everyone running the teams to be in it for the long run, at least a few years to become established and such commitment I’m sure would deliver better results with his kind of prevention in place. It messes the people who work for the teams around, messes the fans around, and in the case of BMW with Williams/Sauber, for example, really screws over teams with heritage, an identity

From the forums

Site updates

Following a request from a reader, data on how many places each driver has lost and gained on the first lap over the course of the year has been added to the statistics pages:

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to DanThorn and shaggymike!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Ayrton Senna won his third world championship 20 years ago today.

Title rival Nigel Mansell spun into retirement in the early stages of the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.

Senna handed victory to team mate Gerhard Berger at the end of the final lap, and Mansell’s team mate Riccardo Patrese finished third.

Here are the closing stages of the race including Senna handing the win to Berger:

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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115 comments on “Mercedes testing ‘front wing F-duct’”

  1. “This airflow is fed to the diffuser, boosting the downforce generated at the rear of the car. This has also improved the way that the Mercedes uses its rear tyres.”

    I’m predicting Ferrari, Red Bull or McLaren will protest it by the end of the week.

    1. they can protest all they want but i don’t think it will go anywhere. there are no moving parts and i assume the holes are legit. the different modes are engaged passively, similar to the side slots on the rear wings. i would not be surprised to hear the performance is severely compromised by running in the wake of another car.

    2. I’m predicting all 3 will start copying it by the end of the week to see if its a feasible option for next year

      1. And if it isn’t (for them), then they’ll try and get it banned.

        1. +1. Some things never change…

        2. And if it is a viable option, and the teams all get it to work, the FIA will ban it for 2013.

        3. @Prisoner-Monkeys Now that’s more like it.

          1. Hilarious, such an accurate summary of events to come, I look forward to see how all this unfolds over the coming weeks! I see Brawn is on about further tightening the rules for periscope exhaust aswell, Scarbs said on Twitter “i can see what more they can do with other than sticking upwards” Or words to that effect anyway. Maybe Brawn has a trick up his sleeve here also and wants to clarify the regs so nobody else has time to develop that area!?

        4. I think that all teams will be testing the effects of it in their CFD centres right now to see if it helps them.
          At the same time they will be looking at how to actually make it work.
          In a couple of weeks they will all know where they are (helps them/doesn’t, be able to fine tune/not be able to do so), and go towards making one of these work and at the same time prepare documents asking for clarification of the solution to get Charlie to either ban it or confirm its OK.

          Off course @geemac is right about the FIA banning it for the next year if teams actually go along and use it.

          1. But as last years troubles at Mercedes to try and get a passive F-duct working show, and as Whitmarsh alludes to, getting it to work reliably is not easy.

            Will be interesting to see what comes of it, and how messy the final ban will be :)

    3. The have no case. The system is legal, and Whitmarsh knows about it

      1. Do you honestly think that will stop them, @raymondu999?

        Only half of winning in Formula 1 involves beating the competition on the track. The other half is in beating them in the rules – finding ways to get their innovations banned whilst preserving your own upgrades. Why else do you think they’re arguing over the RRA? Teams like Ferrari have seen Red Bull’s advantage, and are trying to get their position within FOTA marginalised so that when the time comes to settle on sporting regulations for 2012 and beyond, Red Bull have no ability to influence the design of cars, and therefore have to play catch-up rather than starting with the advantage.

        For all their posturing about “improving the show” (come to think of it, we haven’t heard the party line for a while now), the individual teams don’t actually care about “the show” that much. They’ll be happy to see lots of exciting racing up and down the grid, so long as they are safe out the front. So while half the design team will work on their own version of Mercedes’ front wing, the other half will comb the rules, looking for a technicality to trip Mercedes up in the event that they can’t get the wing to work. It’s frustrating and far too political, but at the same time, if can be fascinating if you accept that it is a part of the sport that will never go away. The teams all want an advantage, and only half of that is design innovation. The other half is playing the rule book.

        1. when on earth did I say they wouldn’t protest? Please stop jumping to false conclusions PM. You write a lot of good stuff, but It wouldn’t hurt to slow down and actually read what the comment actually meant.

          What I meant is though the teams will protest, the Merc f-duct is indeed legal and FIA can’t deem it illegal, after deeming f ducts and ddd legal.

          On another note, I’m not quite sure whe the link is between FOTA and the sporting regs that you allude to in your comment

          1. when on earth did I say they wouldn’t protest?

            If they a) have no case, b) have made FOTA aware of the parts, and c) know the parts are perfectly legal – as you pointed out – then it stands to reason that d) they will not protest.

          2. Nobody told FOTA anything. They worked it out for themselves.

            The DDD were (to the letter) legal. So were f ducts. And the other teams knew that. Didn’t stop them protesting.

            I just said they have no case as this is perfectly legal. Doesn’t mean they won’t protest

          3. They protested on that meaningful but eternaly ignored part of the regs known as the “Spirit of the Regulations.”
            Which after all is a fair cop, DDD’s sort of defeated the purpose of the new rules, stalling things has been ban’d for very good reasons for a long time as were the flexi wing protests. Wing faliure is scary.

            Still if the front wing duct gets ban’d it’ll be because it’s a stalling device exploiting a loophole not yet closed. Not because the FIA are insidious, F-Ducts DDD’s and EBD’s all ban’d between seasons.

          4. They protested on that meaningful but eternaly ignored part of the regs known as the “Spirit of the Regulations.”

            Translation: “we think it’s unfair and therefore illegal because we weren’t clever enough to think of it ourselves”.

          5. Ah the “Spirit of the Regulations”! If I was an FIA regulation drafter I’d insert the following into the interpretation clause:

            “These regulations are to be interpreted in the spirit of Colin Chapman, Gordon Murray and Adrian Newey, that is, in as wide and inventive manner as possible, always recognising that the sport of Formula 1 (TM, £10 to be sent to Bernie Ecclestone, Esquire for the privilege of using the term) should always be a technological showcase of all that is good and pure about the automobile. These regulations shall not be interpreted by slavishly and mindlessly adhering to every word herein, and by having a hissy fit when someone else thinks of something you didn’t.”

    4. RB’s front wing is creating the same effect without F-duct mumble jumble. Consequently, all others should go back to ‘the drawing boards’ and CFD tools to achieve the same. Sauber is closest to that, Ferrari is trying hard to make it work, Mercedes went into that direction but didn’t evolve much.
      It will be interesting to watch how things, sorry, wings develope…
      RB is eons ahead…

      1. What effect are you talking of, exactly?

        1. The front wing is managing airflow beneath the side pods increasing the effect of diffuser as well. Flexing of the wing intensifies the effect.
          I must admit: There is a genius at RB technology center!

          1. All front wings have a job of feeding the diffuser, so I’m not sure what you’re talking of exactly in that sense. Nowadays a lot of teams not only use the wing directly to produce downforce at the surface, but it is also treated as an extraction augmenter to the venturi created by ground effect.

            The wing flexing would intensify the venturi effect in that it actually engages ground effect; but I don’t quite see how that in particular would assist in terms of feeding the diffuser.

            The ducting that is being proposed for the front wing is not as just the wing feeding the underfloor. It’s about converting the stagnation point of the nose tip to a duct; and redirecting the appropriate mass flow in such a way that it feeds the diffuser.

    5. I don’t understand why Mercedes chose to show the whole world their new gimmick. They could have waited to test it the winter so rivals couldn’t copy it without compromising the rest of the car (imagine what could have happen if Honda chose to test the DD in 2008). I wouldn’t be surprised if Ferrari featured it in Abu Dhabi as part of their “new aggresive design”.

      1. Because they think it is worth something now. Or because they like the concept, but want to invest some testing time to find out if it works and make the necessary adjustments for 2012 ahead of time.

  2. It’s good to know that Mercedes still have their eyes on the prize.

    At the same time, this is another time where you’ve got to ask, where are Ferrari? Why can’t they come up with inventions like this? I genuinely can’t remember when the last bit of Ferrari ingenuity (that worked) was.

    Unless I’m missing anything obvious, I can only think of the horns that sat underneath the tv camera on the F2006. It really has been that bleak.

    1. I’m pretty sure McLaren and BMW Sauber did the ‘devil horns’ under the camera mounting first.

      Ferrari’s attitude of late seems to be “let’s see what everyone else comes up with, and when we know it works, we’ll make out own version of it”. I mean, when their 2010 and 2011 cars were launched, they were both been made up of the ‘best’ bits of other cars.

        1. The did the wheel cover things didn’t they a few years back didn’t they? And their suspension this year was supposed to be pretty nifty.. But yeah I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel here

          1. Add a ‘y’ to the first word and just ignore the first ‘didnt they’ in that sentence

          2. I thought Ferrari made the outboard wing mirrors?

          3. Yup, the dustbin lids on the wheels and outboard mirrors were Ferrari innovations. So was the “sprung T-tray”.

          4. @geemac, now be carfull with those words there (sprung T-tray)! They might still upset some for what it lead to (spygate) ;-)

          5. @BasCB , that’s why it got it’s own sentence… ;)

    2. My hope is that after saying year on year for ages now that they’re going for an “aggressive” and “radical” approach they now mean it. They sure can’t continue down the conservative development path they’ve been on the last few seasons.
      They said the wing Alonso was running in Korea was the first part to come out of their new design philosophy. Hopefully they’ll have plenty more to come!

      1. What about the nose channel on the F2008?

        1. i liked that one

          1. I still maintain the F2008 was the most beautiful car of the decade.

          2. More than the F2002? You’re mad, mad I tell you!

          3. The F2007 was the best looking Ferrari of the decade, and the McLaren MP4-20 was the best looking cart of the decade. End of.

          4. @GeeMac @Icthyes @Scribe The F2008 was actually gorgeous in my opinion. If it didn’t have so many aerodynamic appendages it would have been even nicer. But my favourite Ferrari of the decade is the F2001 or the F2002. They’re both lovely. My favourite looking F1 car of the decade is the MP4-17. Or maybe the Sauber C30. Or the Benetton B201.

          5. The 2008 cars were the most hideous abominations ever to run in F1. I’m glad tjhey got rid of all those flaps and other junk on the cars.

          6. @Patrickl @GeeMac
            The F2008 was the most unique car on the grid, while it had a fair amount of ugly crap like everyone else it somehow took the swishes and flicks and made them flow beautifully. The whole front assembely was a sight to behold, the wide nose the flowing front wing.

            I say this as an ardent McLaren fan and usually very eager to kick Ferrari in their self obssessed “tradition”.

          7. Well perhaps the F2008 was the least ugly car of that season. That really doesn’t say much.

        2. @Scribe I’m quite with you about the F2008 but think the BMW Sauber F1.08 edges it a little bit

          1. @Scribe @NFS I always preferred the look of the BMW F1.06 to the BMW F1.08…it was just a lot cleaner car.

            Can I change my car of the decade nomination…the BAR 007.

      2. They said the wing Alonso was running in Korea was the first part to come out of their new design philosophy.

        in fact, @Colossal Squid, that wing was heavily ‘inspirited’ in Red Bull’s. I suppose that this “inspiration” came from Mark Webber’s Rb7 crashed and rescued at Parabolica.

        James Allen said that this “new wing wasn’t intended to transform the performance of the 2011 car, but to understand how the front end of the rival RB7 works and influences the aerodynamic balance of the car.”

        Considering this approach, Ferrari seems away long of a new and own design filosofy. They´re still lost…

    3. surely the hole in the nose from the F2008 was the last one. Then back in 2006, there’s the carbon rims and the hideously looking sidepod mounted mirrors (since almost everyone adopted it later, I guess it worked).

      Oh, and the flexi floor and flexi wings in 2006 and 2007.

    4. Ferrari has innovated in contentious areas plenty of times.

      The wing above the airbox in the early 2000s, controversial at the time but then everybody had one soon enough.

      Flexing rear wings in 2002 as I recall, spotted by Williams on TV footage at Imola and subsequently warned to stiffen them up.

      Flexing bridge wing, spotted on the forward TV camera footage, subsequently told to sort it out.

      Kimi Raikonen won his first race for Ferrari with a flexing bib splitter. FIA discovered it and made them modify the design for the next race.

      This year, dual rate anti roll bars, still on the car and working beautifully. Keeps the car soft and compliant in slow corners for good mechanical grip then stiffens up in the quick stuff for stability at high speed, totally passive and legal system. Very clever!!

    5. Reading this reminded me of a story I read about Ron Tauranac – Brabham’s designer from the team’s early years in the 1960s.

      In the mid-1960s, Lotus started a trend of having inboard front dampers (i.e. mounting them inside the monocoque, as they are now) to clean up the airflow through the front suspension. Tauranac failed to follow suit with Brabham and was criticised for being too conservative for failing to even contemplate the idea. What the critics didn’t know, however, was that Tauranac had looked at the inboard damper solution in the windtunnel (a rarity then) and found it made very little difference. Certainly not enough to make it worth living with the downsides of the change, i.e. making it more difficult for mechanics to adjust the suspension, restricting footspace in the pedalbox, etc. Tauranac didn’t shout about his conclusions because he didn’t want to give away an advantage to his competitors.

      Which just goes to show that there may be perfectly solid reasons for a seemingly “conservative” approach, even if apparent innovation adds an extra bit of interest for the dedicated fan. Just look at Renault’s side exit exhaust, which hasn’t exactly set the world alight although it did manage to set a couple of R28s going…

    6. The hole through the nose on the F2008 seemed to work fairly effectively.

      1. Otherwise no one would have bothered to have it banned :)

  3. Does anyone know what is Joe Saward’s problem in life? I recently started reading his blog and have been harboring a strong dislike for him ever since.

    Just read this article: and his replies to commenters:
    “Dave Townrow,
    Is there any subject that one can write about that you do not wish to argue about?”
    I am curious that you feel qualified to comment on F1′s attitude about India, and that you are also an expert on the international impact of F1 races.”

    Even rabid fanboys are more polite than this!!

    1. My tactic was to stop reading his rarley insigtful, self promoting, often wrong, slightly turgid blog. Except when Keith puts an article in the round up.

      1. I second that approach!

    2. I’ve always found the blog quite informative. It’s just a bit odd that he gets sucked into trolling competitions with commentators.

    3. @sumedh – Saward is … well, unreliable. And he can’t take criticism. He’s not very good at hiding his agendas, either.

      Late last year, he committed the cardinal sin of presenting his opinion as fact. He’s one of Tonio Liuzzi’s most avid supporters, and he was very upset when Vijay Mallya released Liuzzi from his contract a year early. He then ran a series of articles about how Liuzzi potentially had a legal case against Force India to retain his seat, though he reported it in such a way that made it look like Liuzzi was certain to file against Mallya and would likely win. Even Saward’s most dedicated followers criticised him for it.

      Ever since then, Saward had harboured a deep personal dislike of Vijay Mallya, which culminated recently when Mallya and business partner Michel Mol sold a 42.5% stake to the Sahara Group. Saward had previously run an article about how a sale of Force India was imminent, which Mallya subsequently denied. When the deal with the Sahara Group was announced, Saward attacked Mallya for lying and breaking promises. Mallya was actually only getting a new business partner in the Sahara Group, and through his arrangement with the Mol family, he still controls the team. Basically, Saward attacked Mallya for saying something Mallya had never actually said. All of this came on a string of predictions of imminent team sales, that were denied within hours – Saward first claimed that Red Bull would sell Toro Rosso to an Emirati oil group, which they denied. He then claimed that Gerard Lopez and his investors would band together and buy Group Lotus, which was once again denied. He was also talking about a “Chinese investor in the paddock looking to buy a team” which never came into fruition. Despite sticking to his sources, Saward went into the predictions of a Force India sale with a strike rate of zero for three. He needed the be right on talk of a Force India sale because he was running low on credibility.

      Then there’s the issue of censorship. Saward has a tendency to delay posts to his blog that he finds to be highly-critical. he’ll often wait for support in favour of him to build before letting the critical posts be added to an article. This makes him look better, and often means the critical posts get lost in the sea of supporting ones. I’m pretty sure I’m banned over there. And when it all gets too much – like when he misled readers over Liuzzi, or when he attacked Mallya – he threatened to take the blog offline for a few days and see what people thought then, as if we’re all supposed to bow down before him and accept everything he tells us without question. I particualrly liked his rebuttal to his critics, which was basically a story of “you don’t like me, so therefore, I must be right”.

      In short, Joe Saward has an audience and an opinion and an unshakeable belief that he is right, even when he is consistently proven wrong. He also tends to write more about travelling to and from a race rather than the actual race itself.

      1. @prisoner-monkeys aren’t you describing your own online behaviour rather than Sawards’ here? :-o

        I do agree, that he often seems to get too harsh with the comments, but on the other hand, did you ever ask Keith how many horribly bad comments he has to filter out? I guess Saward gets quite a lot of them as well, just as every blog does. It does show a open minded attetude that he keeps trying to answer those.
        But it must be hard to keep answering to abusive and repetitive arguments for arguments sake and stay perfectly calm in doing so.

        You are right about being too protective of Liuzzi. But the pieces about the STR sale were speculative and more or less right (the team has a new middle east part owner/backer) and the same was true for that FI deal. The fact Mallya might to the law not have actually sold his own existing stock directly to a new partner, does not make it less of a sale.
        And the Group Lotus denial of having sold out to GenII was vague and open enough not to contradict a sale of part of the bussiness in the near future. A denial that might be more of not confirming before its all signed and done.

        1. aren’t you describing your own online behaviour rather than Sawards’ here?

          Yes, but I have integrity.

          1. A questionable thing to be accusing a well known and respected F1 journalist of lacking integrity. Many in the paddock would strongly disagree.

      2. Get your own blog, PM. Please.

        1. You don’t have to read anything I write if you don’t want to.

          1. Considering your comments are usually longer than the post itself, it is rather difficult to avoid them.

  4. It’s my good friend Dan Thorn’s birthday today, but I’m not going to write a poem, as that’s Magnificent Geoffrey’s job! (Actually, I’m just really bad at them and don’t fancy making a fool out of myself again :P ) So I’m just going to say what I think in plain English.

    Dan Thorn is one of the people I first recognised when I decided to become more involved with the F1F community on Twitter, and he was perhaps the friendliest to me from the start. He told me he was from Launceston in Cornwall, whilst I’m from Launceston in Tasmania, which I found remarkable!

    Over a year has passed since then, and I’m proud to call him a friend that I confide in and enjoy talking to a lot. He’s also somewhat of a role-model and has given me advice from time-to-time. He’s a quiet chap, but very polite and easy to get along with. I’ve not met him yet, but someday I hope I do, because he’s a great guy and he’s also pretty clever.

    He runs a blog, but he doesn’t post anywhere near enough articles. Normally his posts are serious, but his April Fool’s Day article on the top 10 drivers of all time (btw, that’ll be a fiver for the plug, mate) was my favourite.

    Anyway, I hope you have a good day Daniel, and here’s wishing you a happy and fun-filled birthday! :)

    1. Happy birthday Dan! One of my favourite fanatics, an Alonso fan, and a day after my birthday!

      Happy birthday, have a great day.

    2. Two in two days?
      Are you having me on?!
      This poem stuff’s hard,
      But at least they’re not songs.

      From Somerset county,
      The same place as Jenson.
      @Dan-Thorn ‘s a great bloke,
      I’m quite pleased mention.

      Alfa Romeo,
      Are his marque of choice.
      And miniature models,
      Can make him quite ‘moist’.

      Another big fan,
      Of the Evil Red Team.
      I’d call them worse names,
      But that would be mean.

      He’s not Really Rubbish,
      When out on the track.
      His new Indy Trophy,
      Is big proof of that.

      In the 24 Laps,
      Of Le Mans – what a race!
      I first stole his Mazda,
      And then his Third place!

      Comments of the Day,
      He’s got about Fifty.
      Proving his knowledge,
      Of F1’s quite nifty.

      Can’t say that I am,
      A big fan of his hair.
      But I guess Helen is,
      Which is all that counts, there.

      So a big ‘Happy Birthday!’,
      To an F1F great.
      A brilliant member,
      And especially good mate.

      1. Nice one again MAG, Dan you fully deserve it. Have a happy birthday today!

        The same goes to shaggymike

        1. Wow thanks very much guys! Been looking forward to Mags poem all week! Though quite what the issue with my hair is I dont know.

          Happy birthday too to shaggymike!

          1. He’s just jealous that you actually have hair and aren’t hideous. ;)

          2. Happy birthday @dan-thorn ! Hope you have a good one :)

          3. Happy Birthday @dan-thorn

  5. Why did Mercedes show their 2012 cards already for others to copy?

    1. They’re not. They haven’t come out and said “this is what we’re going to do next year”. They’re already running the front wing. It’s likely the other teams worked out what they were doing long before Autosport reported it.

      1. But I would not be supprised if it actually turned out to be a red herring by Mercedes to get the others to pay attention to this :-D

        Seriously, @prisoner-monkeys is right here, Mercedes will not be happy with this coming out when there is still some time for others to copy it (that’s why they cover the opening so no one can look inside).
        But its quite unlikely those teams have not been looking into this solution for a while before Auto Motor und Sport published the story

        1. But I would not be supprised if it actually turned out to be a red herring by Mercedes to get the others to pay attention to this

          This may be more prophetic than you thought @BasCB according to this article from Autosport:

          Brawn worried about exhaust rules loopholes

          There is a further meeting of the TWG this week concerning the 2012 exhaust regulations and Brawn is issuing warnings about them just as he did over the DDD regs. It would seem that this capture and channelling of airflow to the front wing may also be adaptable to the exhaust exits and rear diffuser.

          With technical chiefs due to discuss further the issue of exhaust exits at a meeting of the FIA’s Technical Working Group this week, Brawn believes attempts to restrict outfits to vertical pipe exits may not be strict enough to prevent some exploitation of the regulations.

          “I don’t think it is 100 per cent sorted unfortunately, and there is another meeting of the TWG,” said Brawn, when asked by AUTOSPORT about the latest situation regarding exhausts.

          “I think everyone, as they get more and more into it, are trying to close off the loopholes, but there is no guarantee that somebody will not come up with some scheme. It is fairly robust, but I would not say it is 100%, and I think the difficulty now is it is reaching a stage where teams will take their opportunities rather than change the regulations.

          “Teams go through a period of finding the best regulations they can with good spirit and proper intent, and then you reach a stage where those regulations are fixed with the best intent. But if an engineer comes along with a good idea we have to consider it.

          “In our case it is still relatively conventional, but whether someone else will come up with something dramatic I would have to wait and see. I would not say I am confident that there will not be an innovative exhaust scheme because once we have learned something you cannot unlearn it.

          “The strength and performance that comes from the exhaust, using exhaust energy, is substantial, and people now have a better understanding of what they can do with exhausts/engine mapping to extenuate the effect.”

    2. Why did Mercedes show their 2012 cards already for others to copy?

      Because Ross Brawn has no sense and would rather show off in practice this year than have a faster car next year or maybe because the other teams already knew about what they were doing.

      Obviously it’s the latter scenario which makes you wonder how much spying is going on among teams that something Mercedes hasn’t brought to the track is known about.

      If rival teams didn’t actually know about it then must be exceptionally complicated to get right hence the testing and letting the cat out of the bag. Whitmarsh said about it “If you make a start now, is already late.”

      1. Or maybe because he is possessed of foresight, @snowman – after all, it was Brawn who brought the potential for double-diffsuers to FOTA’s attention in 2009, and the other teams paid him no heed. Sure enough, Melbourne 2009 came around and there was an uproar over double-diffusers. Since an exhaust-blown diffuser offers a major advantage, Brawn evidently sees history repeating itself and no doubt wants to head off any more furores. The teams have been preaching solidarity recently, particularly when it comes to the Resource Restriction Agreement, making doom-and-gloom prophecies about how FOTA is endangered. One more political wrestling match over the legality of certain parts could be the death-knell of FOTA.

        1. @Prisoner Monkeys There could be some sense in that but only if Brawn knows it is a very difficult system to get right which does seem to be the case.

          One thing I guess we all know is Brawn is one of the cleverest in the paddock so he has all the bases covered and knows what he is at.

  6. I don’t think I can entirely agree with Maurice Hamilton. There ain’t just one and only correct way to deal with sad news. I also didn’t know much about Dan Wheldon before the tragic accident on Sunday but I felt really sad after getting to know it as I love racing and have huge respect for all guys who do that. Even if they aren’t in F1 and even if I don’t follow the series they race at, I still feel somehow connected to them and their fans. For sure, some condolences might be more PR than reflections of real sorrow but I don’t think we should judge the feelings of those people who express their attitude towards tragic news.

    1. Well said, couldn’t agree more

    2. Was thinking the same way, can understand the PR thing too from companies that didn’t know him as they have to do it.

  7. Liking the idea from Mercedes. Makes me wonder, what else is hidden from view?

    1. A lot, I guess. And we have to wonder how upset Mercedes is by this getting out in time for others to start working on it as well (might have been a dummy though so others go wasing their ressources ;-) ).

      Fact is, Mercedes were the ones who did a passive F-duct system on their rear wing, so they will have a big head start in getting to understand what it needs to fine tune something like that.
      Only McLaren might be close, as they did the most work to prepare for their F-duct in 2009, prior to introducing it in 2010.

      I guess all the teams have quite a bit of things that only come out by accident, or just by chance from observers. Great to have guys like ScarbsF1 going into these things!

      1. Must be a very complicated thing to get right which is why Mercedes decided to test it at Suzuka and why Whitmarsh when asked about it said “its already to late to start for next year and they are going to be way behind Mercedes on development”

        Also it seems as if Whitmarsh already knew about it before it appeared at Suzuka(and probably then the other top teams) so maybe Mercedes had nothing to loose and everything to gain by testing it in the open.

        1. The dummy theory would be good if turned out to be true!

          1. @BasCB @ snowman Although their secrecy may or may not have been compromised, they will of course have an advantage over their competitors, it’s just a case of how much. It’s always very much a catch-up game.

      2. The dummy idea is an interesting one. I read the AMuS article, and they started talking about all the innovations in the current car (also refer to Ferrari subthread above) – but in the end, none of those things were enough to get a good car. In fact, several of those things, the radiators+swb were part of a concept that turned out to be flawed for the current rules.

        Maybe teams should just concentrate on getting a better car rather than a more nifty one, fun though all those bits are for me as a fan :)

  8. An hilariously inept article about why Dan Wheldon’s death should spell an end to motorsport.

    I quite like the author’s qualifications here:

    I wasn’t watching the event—I’ve never seen more than a SportsCenter clip of an auto race

    See also this gem:

    I don’t know enough about either racecars or physics to know how to make motorsports safe.

    And yet despite admitting that she knows nothing about motorsport, Ms. Greenwell’s entire article is dedicated to her ideas on how to make motorsport safe.

    1. @prisoner-monkeys I’ve never heard of that site or the writer.

      1. Neither – I found a link to it on another Formula 1-related forum. I thought I might share it, given the recent spate of accusations of bad journalism (Joe Saward and Pitpass had a nasty exchange).

        1. @keithcollantineThis is what I’m talking about. I know Pitpass isn’t exactly a paragon of reliable journalism, and it’s clearly meant to provoke a response, but it does point out Joe Saward’s habit of predicting team sales, only to have a denial issued by the current owners within hours.

          1. Why do you have such a hate on for Joe Saward?

            If you hate him so much, why do you talk about him all the time? It is getting tiresome.

            To that end, I am forming the “League to get Prisoner Monkeys to start his own blog”, because I’m not interested in reading your rants in the comment section of every article posted on this site. Please, get your own blog. You clearly have enough to write about.

          2. @Huron , if you hate @Prisonermonkeys so much, why do you talk about him all the time? It is getting tiresome.

            To that end, I am forming the “League to get Huron to start his own blog”, yadda, yadda, yadda.

      2. @keithcollantine is one of those politically-correct, goody-goody, vaguely-left-wing, environmentalist site, so I could see that they have an inherent anti-motor-racing site.

        I normally like reading their articles – in moderation – but this one really shows they’re completely out of their depth. Apparently Ms. Greenwell thought the only form of motor racing is IRL, because she wasn’t aware of other deaths since Paul Dana!

        1. I would venture a guess that having Al Gore III on board doesn’t make them vaguely-left-wing at all. The wonderfully non-prejeduiced writer should concentrate on areas I think she’s qualified for, like the Wall Street protest, instead of something she clearly admits to having 0 knowledge of, racing anything.

    2. Well, @prisoner-monkeys she’s an idiot.

      Forgive me for my perhaps callous outlook, but why is she so concerned about life and death?

      The drivers make a concious decision to go out on track at speed every other weekend, no one is forcing them to do it. They know the risks and so do we. Death is an unfortunate aspect of the various leagues of motorsport but it is more than outweighed by how much enjoyment and excitement it provides.

      Sometimes, people need to look at the bigger picture and remember that we only live once and as sad as death is, it’s just a part of life.

      1. My thoughts exactly. She has an opinion and an audience.

  9. A story coming out of Italy suggests that Adrian Sutil is on his way out of Force India, wth Nico Hulkenberg taking his place in 2012. It’s apparently been taken from Autosport’s digital edition; the AUTOSPORdigi Twitter feed contains the following:

    Autosport mag : Hulkenberg is set to be promoted to a race seat next year alongside Paul di Resta. Story from @eddstrawF1 at @AUTOSPORTdigi

    Posted one hour ago. I don’t know if the poster, f1enigma is our very own @enigma (or @Enigma – last time I tried to mention him, it didn’t work, and if he is indeed enigmaf1, I’d like to heard his take on it).

    1. No, they’re two different people.

      1. Ah. Well, in that case, it’s still an interesting story – though I’m less willing to accept it it Engima and f1enigma are not the same person.

        1. @prisoner-monkeys – don’t feel less willing to accept it might be true.
          With all respect to a nice F1fanatic and knowledgable fan in @enigma (going by twitter name @enigmaf1) he would be amongst the first to confirm to you that Dimitris Papadopoulu (on twitter as @f1enigma) is a reliable source.

          He is also included in Keith’s twitter list under journalists and as @raymondu999 writes below had a few scoops lately.

    2. Oh trust me. F1enigma is a VERY reliable source. He called the Costa and Willis moves to Mercedes before they even left their original teams.

      He called the Sam Michael McLaren move too some 2 or 3 weeks before it was announced

  10. IMO this is just a fault positive innovation from Mercedes so that other teams has something to think about and concentrate on, to drag their attention to F-duct thingy which will probably get banned before season 2012 starts.. while Mercedes has really some other aces in other areas of the car. I just don’t think they will expose such an huge innovation already at this stage in 2011.

  11. Finally Mercedes is showing a little bit of initiative and innovation after having spent the last two years creating bad copies of the front cars.

    Anyway it’s quite strange to have this information so soon, so perhaps its team strategy or simply the needed data was impossible to find using the wind tunnel.

    I want to see Mercedes and Michael reaching the podium, so hopefully Bob Belll and others will build a good car.

  12. After some pondering, I don’t think the front duct is a stalling device. Rather, I think it used in a similar way to the exhausts on the Red Bull by producing to streams of energised air flow, one either side of the unworked air coming off the mandated central section of front wing. This, virtual skirt may be used to prevent turbulent air from outer wing elements and wheel assembly from entering the clean air in the central section thus feeding the bib splitter and undertray more efficiently thus achieving stronger ground effect with the floor of the car.

    1. swap “to” for two please. Sorry!

    2. I think that sounds quite plausible. It definitely sounds problematic to stall (part of) the front wing while directing more air to the back to produce downforce, so it must be more about cleaning up the flow coming from the front, rather than stalling, I think.

  13. i think the real reason why Mercedes team has experienced the new front wing f_duct is that the team have to understand the entire behavior of the system so the next year car will be designed around it

  14. Mercedes front wing f_duct is not new, it was used by mclaren in 2008 and was bined after 4 races that was from monza onwards, thats why mercedes have northing to hide coz all teams know about it, they are trying to workout if it can work with the 2012 car before finetuning it

  15. more on that @giorgiopialacartweaker.

  16. I REALLY want Mercedes to start winning races and championships… however, let’s start with a car decent enough to archieve podium finishes first. I don’t know why, but something about the team has me rooting for them… plus I personally think it’s the best looking car this year, although that does not mean much because it’s quite an ugly bunch these days, at least that’s how I see it…

    1. I agree the WO2 is the best looking car this year.

      I can’t remember where I read or heard this, but it was quite a while ago (helps, I know!) but the W02 was thought to be testing out some ideas for 2012, somewhat an ‘experimental’ car. Which would make sense, seeing as it’s been extremes of good and bad, such as low relative reliability, the best DRS system; hard on tyres in race for Rosberg, yet excellent in the race for Schumacher…

      Really hope next year sees some sort of shift. The field is very, very competitive however…

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