FIA says teams’ exhausts and and Mercedes’ ‘F-duct’ are legal

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: teams’ new exhaust systems and Mercedes’ ‘F-duct’ are passed as legal by the FIA.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

New exhausts raise no issues (FIA)

Charlie Whiting: “All of the systems we?ve seen so far comply with the extensive new regulations so our position is simple: we are not in a position to be able to say exactly how much aerodynamic influence each individual system has. The aim of the new regulation was to ensure that we don?t have to do that. We have no idea how much aerodynamic influence each individual system has, nor really at this point is it anything that interests us. As long as they comply with the rules, we are happy. And as far as we?ve seen so far, they all do comply with the rules.”

Mercedes ‘F-duct’ declared legal (Race Tech International)

“The Mercedes F1 team?s controversial F-duct style rear wing has been declared legal by the FIA, despite concerns from opposing teams.”

HRT requests scrutineering delay (Autosport)

“The Spanish outfit lodged a request with the Australian Grand Prix race stewards on Thursday to be allowed to delay scrutineering of car number 22, with the FIA duly agreeing for it to be examined before 11am.”

‘Button has made Hamilton a better driver’ (The Telegraph)

Ross Brawn: “I think, with Jenson, Lewis has seen someone who is maybe not as ultimately quick as him, but someone who is able to apply himself more effectively.”

Motor racing-Argentina in F1 talks, says President Fernandez (Reuters)

“I was brought the proposal to stage Formula One in Argentina and we’re reaching agreement.”

Melbourne GP merits its status as the star on F1’s opening day (The Guardian)

“Sport should hold on to its history and be proud of it, which is why it was satisfying to hear Vettel paying tribute to the greatness of Jim Clark here, even though the British driver was killed at the wheel almost 20 years before the German champion was born. And talking about tradition, wouldn’t it be wonderful to be looking forward to races in France, Portugal, South Africa and Argentina instead of packing our bags for so many white elephant desert destinations.”

Alan Jones? 1980 World Championship winning Williams FW07B (Any Given Reason)

“The absolute highlight of the Clipsal 500 were the three vintage Formula 1 cars on display. Given that practise for the Australian F1 Grand Prix in Melbourne starts tomorrow and that I?m leaving tomorrow afternoon to attend the race, I thought it would be topical to take a look at these beautiful old machines.”

Comment of the day

Therealmsc almost got more than he bargained for when he asked Michael Schumacher for a signature in Melbourne yesterday:

I just want to say that I was next in line behind this guy in the picture for Michael?s autograph! I can?t believe I was oh-so-close to having my picture with Schumacher on this website.

Also, by the way, that F1-style steering wheel was hand-made by this guy. I sat next to him for six hours waiting for the Mercedes team!

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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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40 comments on “FIA says teams’ exhausts and and Mercedes’ ‘F-duct’ are legal”

  1. Very excited – can’t wait for the 1st practice! :D

  2. Can’t wait. A couple more hours for fp1

    1. I also hope for a tight fight between mclaren, Mercedes, Ferrari, red bull, lotus.

  3. So how does the Mercedes ‘F-duct’ work?

    1. @ivz – Scarbsf1 has a pretty detailed explanation on his website.

      Basically, the short version is that when the DRS flap is open, two vents (on the inside of the rear wing endplates) are exposed. Air runs through them and then back along the car to the front wing. There, it is passed over the front wing to stall it. It does exactly the same thing as the McLaren F-duct, with the only difference being that it is applied to the front wing and not the rear.

      The reason why Mercedes has done this is because although the DRS cancels out downforce and drag on the rear wing, there is still downforce on the front wing, which throws out the balance of the car, particularly in high-speed corners (like, say Turn 8 at Albert Park). The front wing F-duct (FWFD) removes all downforce from the front wing while the DRS removes all downforce from the rear wing, balancing the car out and allowing the driver to take the corners that much faster.

      1. That is really cleaver! Would never have thought about getting the air to travel back through the car to stall the front wing, genius! I wonder how effective it is…….Mercedes were always good in a straight line last year. This year, they should have a considerable advantage when using their DRS compared to the other teams, until they adopt the same system of course. This could mean that DRS zones will need to be made much shorter, because all of a sudden the DRS could be much more effective.

        1. At the same time, they are believed to have a second system in the front wing (though this may have been superseded by the FWFD) that shifts the airflow – and hence the downforce – running over the front wing to where it is needed the most during cornering. So, when the car is turning right, the most downforce will be applied to the left-hand side (and vice versa) because the left needs the most grip. If it exists, this would naturally be cancelled out by the FWFD being activated.

      2. Good explanation @prisoner-monkeys I was in the dark about this as well.

  4. “The Spanish outfit lodged a request with the Australian Grand Prix race stewards on Thursday to be allowed to delay scrutineering of car number 22, with the FIA duly agreeing for it to be examined before 11am.”

    Well, it’s 11:09am AEDST now. They’d better hope they’re ready.

    Also, I find it very telling that the team had Karthikeyan’s car at the ready despite both de la Rosa and HRT being Spanish. The car is decked out in Tata Motors decals, so they obviously wanted to make sure the Indian sponsors were satisfied.

    1. I pondered that as well, they had Karthikeyan driving in the “filming session” as well. I came to even more modest conclusion, that it might have been as simple as having Narains seat properly fitted from last year and using exactly the same setup etc. who knows, maybe its even the identical monocock!

      1. monocock

        @bascb It’s Monocoque… Monocock sounds like a good nickname for a driver though :D

        1. yeah, I remember when writing it didn’t feel quite right @topdowntoedown So who would you propose to fit the nickname? Should be someone pretty single minded and a right p**** as well, I guess

  5. Brace yourselves, HRT bashing will begin shortly .. ;-)

    I just checked and no tv station in Germany that I saw will show the free practices. Makes me a little sad, I wanna see caarrrss driving arroundd. Looking forward to a fun weekend.

  6. And what about Red Bulls nose with the gap for the air?

    1. @dam00r And what about it? It’s an air intake.. It’s just in an unusual position, I think it might be possible to get cleaner air from there rather than using the sidepods..

      Adrian Newey has found a way of cooling which should have been obvious to most other teams, and simply because no-one else is using it, there are questions over it.. I think it’s a brilliant idea which utilizes one of the more ugly parts of the car to the car’s advantage..

      1. @keeleyobsessed Buuuut then you would be letting in any moisture too if we had a wet race. I think it’s shaped in such a way to control airflow better over the monocoque.

        1. @andrewtanner exactly. I think the intake increases downforce and front “wheel grip” / “pointy” as Jeremy Clarkson would say

  7. NobleF1 Pedro de la Rosa will be able to take part in practice today, after HRT succeeds in getting his car ready in time. Scrutineering already OK
    17 minutes ago by Jon Noble

  8. ShaneB457 (@shaneb12345678910)
    16th March 2012, 0:29

    This day is finally here..been waiting for exciting :D

  9. I just found something interesting online: a proposal for a street circuit around the London Olympic Precinct.

    It’s an interesting concept, because what do you do with your Olympic venues after the Games are over and you’ve spent tens of millions of dollars on building the facilities to begin with? The Homebush Bay site in Sydney sat mostly unused for years before they idea to use it for the Sydney 500 took hold. And the Russians are working their circuit into the plans for the Sochi Olympic Village. So, what does London have in store for the Olympic Precinct once the 2012 Games are over and done with?

    Of course, it’s not that serious a proposal. Silverstone has the rights to the British Grand Prix for the next fifteen years, the City of London has said that a Grand Prix is too expensive, the International Olympic Committee shot down Bernie’s idea of an Olympic Grand Prix to co-incide with the 2012 Games, and the firm that designed this circuit has said they did it mostly for fun – but it was enough to earn them a partnership with Tilke GmbH.

    1. I know you’re a stickler for detail, so can I just point out that the City of London (capital ‘C’) would not have any influence over this. The City of London is the financial district of London, which has its own borough council (the City of London Corporation).

      The Olympic Park will presumably pass into the hands of the Greater London Authority after the Olympics, or perhaps to the London Borough of Newham.

      I think that this will never happen, which is unfortunate because it’s a great idea! We’ve spent an absolute fortune on the Olympic site itself as well as all the travel infrastructure (including the county’s first high-speed train line that stops just next to it and upgrading the relevant tubelines), and unfortunately it’s looking increasingly like the much vaunted ‘legacy’ will amount to very little – the process of finding a tenant for the Olympic Stadium itself has turned into a total farce – so this is a solid idea for making use of it. Not only that, it will continue the regeneration of the East End of London and Stratford in particular, which I feel is likely to fall off the agenda once the Olympics have moved on.

      In fact the more I think about it, the more I like it! @keithcollantine you should start a F1F campaign to make this happen!

    2. And it has the undercut you always wished for @prisoner-monkeys! A bit of a fun thing to do and it sure landed them the deal to be Tilke’s representatives, so it was not just for fun.

  10. Dear me, this pre-practice warm up on sky is pretty annoying. I feel like I am watching a discovery channel F1 documentary from the 1980s with a really annoying voice over. It’s pretty soulless so far, I hope it improves.

    1. @mach1 – If you want something to whinge about, go and watch the Australian coverage. There’s ten minutes to go until first practice, and after a brief overview of testing, a twenty-second interview with Bruno Senna, the usual hyping up of Webber and Ricciardo, we’re now square in the middle of a segment dedicated to interviewing the fashion designer who designed the outfits for the waiters at the Paddock Club to wear this weekend.

      1. we’re now square in the middle of a segment dedicated to interviewing the fashion designer who designed the outfits for the waiters at the Paddock Club to wear this weekend.

        That sounds fun :-(

  11. On the Williams FW07B, I wish I had gone to the Clipsal 500 to see that car, sounds great on the video!
    Just watching a program that is on before the telecast starts from Albert Park here in Australia on channel one, called ‘Grand Prix: The Killer Years’. I have to say, it is numbing. The courage that those drivers would have to have to simply race, let alone push the car to its limits.
    Also starting to understand the beauty in the cars before any wings came long.

  12. Good to see Whiting is still great at doing his confusion thing.

    Fantastic, no one knows what an Fduct is. Yet it was banned. Perhaps if it was called a Gduct it would be ok.

    1. The F-duct wasn’t banned. The teams were simply prevents from having any bodywork between the engine cover and the rear wing so as not to interfere with DRS.

    2. As Ross Brawn said:

      People talk about an F-duct but I don’t actually know what an F-duct is. And if you ask the FIA what is an F-duct they don’t know. So, what we are doing we are completely comfortable and we believe the FIA is happy with, so we will see.

      The term “F-duct” is shorthand for the solutions we saw used on rear wings in 2010. As pointed out above, the rules were changed so the 2010 F-duct solution could no longer be used but the F-duct concept wasn’t specifically outlawed – you can’t ban something unless you come up with a legallly watertight definition of what you mean by “F-duct”.

      That’s pretty much the way the technical regulations work generally. “Ground effect” was never banned by name, for example, but the rules were changed for 1983 to mandate flat floors which had the same effect.

  13. Sucks that there are ads between geen and checkered flags. I thought it was only pre and post shows that were to get ads on SSF1HD. :/

      1. @calum Noooooooooooo! D:

    1. @calum They did say they would be running adverts during practice. It’s not like there’s anything exciting going on usually anyway.

  14. Who says the FIA is an evil enterprise hell-bent on world domination? Charlie Whiting says he wants stepped noses out by 2013, even though the FIA could spare themselves the fuss and wait until the 2014 overhaul of the regulations to deal with the problem.

  15. This is good news. Perhaps the tides are starting to turn. Red Bull seems unprepared to exploit this potential. How many races will it take to see this technology on all cars?? If it works and provides a slight advantage on Sunday everybody will want one.

    1. I don’t think it will be that easy to copy.
      It would require the teams to somehow find space to channel a duct through virtually the whole length of the car.
      I doubt many teams has designed their car with that sort of space to spare.
      They can probably do it, but unless they are allready having a similar system in the pipes, then I think it will take a number of races before we start seing the first prototypes.

      1. @mads And of course, if they do manage to implement it on their own cars, it will only divert development away from other areas.

        Everything can be replicated, but at what expense is usually the crucial point.

        1. Your exactly right…at what expense?? How much will teams have to spend to try to gain that advantage, if any??

  16. The plot thickens (in German).

    According to Dieter Rencken, ten teams have approached the FIA with the idea of having the governing body police the Resource Restriction Agreement. Under the proposal, teams would be subject to mandatory audits from the FIA to ensure that teams are actually adhering to the terms of the RRA, as well as establishing a working group to investigate ways of cutting costs. Red Bull and Toro Rosso are the only two teams that have not agreed to this mandatory auditing, but the teams currently have the numbers to get the rules approved without or without Red Bull’s agreement.

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