Horner wants “clarity” on Mercedes rear wing

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Christian Horner, Red Bull, Sepang, 2012In the round-up: Red Bull team principal Christian Horner wants further talks on Mercedes’ rear wing despite it being declared legal twice.

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Malaysian GP Conference 2 (FIA)

“I think the biggest thing for all of us ?ǣ I?m not the only one ?ǣ I think there are probably other gentlemen that are keen for clarity going forward. Is it something that?s accepted as a clever interpretation, and hats off to Mercedes if it is, or is it something that you know isn?t permissible moving forward. I think that?s the most important thing to resolve and it would be nice to come out of this weekend with that clarity.”

Mercedes new rear wing concept is both a help and a hindrance (BBC)

“In the race the system will only be used rarely and therefore the aerodynamic characteristics of the car on corner entry will be quite different – and use the rear tyres more aggressively because the rear will be moving around more.”

Whitmarsh targets early ‘cushion’ (Sky)

“As the season progresses, we will make mistakes – we are going to try not to of course but things will happen, that’s the nature of this sport – so the greater the cushion, the greater the buffer you’ve got, the more you can take those incidents in your stride and maintain a championship offence.”

Di Resta doubtful of breaking into Q3 (Autosport)

“I am not so sure we’ll get into Q3, I wouldn’t go that far. At the end of the day Lotus and Ferrari and Mercedes are very strong here so doing that is a very tough ask.”

Q&A with Toro Rosso?s Daniel Ricciardo (F1)

“The feedback that we are both getting has been very positive. They have been very nice, but nice in a business-like way – welcoming. I can see that the team is enjoying the new challenge. I think they were relieved in Melbourne that they don?t have to start with the birds and the bees. With our racing we?ve shown that we are much further down the evolutionary road!”

Kimi Raikkonen: “The Pace is there in the Car” (Lotus)

“We have some work to do on the setup in morning practice but I?m sure we?ll be ready to go when qualifying starts. The pace is there in the car; if we can unlock it there?s no reason we won?t be as strong as we were in Melbourne.”

Formula One Technology Is Tested on London Buses (Washington Post)

“Nine-time Formula One champion Williams is seeking to supply London’s buses with energy-saving technology developed for the world’s richest auto racing series.”

Comment of the day

RumFRESH reckons McLaren need to make hay while the sun shines:

McLaren really need to capitalise in these early races. Red Bull aren’t going to be lying down for long. I get the sense that the Red Bull package is there, it?s just a matter of understanding it and optimising performance.

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39 comments on “Horner wants “clarity” on Mercedes rear wing”

  1. ShaneB457 (@shaneb12345678910)
    24th March 2012, 0:11

    I have not been on F1F for ages :) And it was my birthday on thursday =]
    Anyone know the weather predicted for quali and the race?

    1. Weather in Malaysia is unpredictable. :) Belated Happy B-day by the way..

    2. Hi @shaneb12345678910, happy Birthday then!

      I just saw some tweets that it started raining minutes ago, so FP3 will probably start wet. Not sure about quali, but it could be wet surface at least at the start.

  2. Does anyone else get the feeling that all this talk about the Mercedes rear wing AFTER IT HAS BEEN DECLARED LEGAL TWICE NOW is nothing more than an attempt to deflect ANY attention from talk of Red Bull & Mclaren’s exhaust setups.

    The Red Bull in particular still has that very distinct “blowing” sound on throttle lift off in the entry & middle of the corner, & I’m pretty sure Ross Brawn is already onto it. It would be good to have their exhaust systems checked & given the green or red light too, seeing as though the Mercedes wing has already been officially cleared twice now….

    1. Also someone needs to get Horner a box of Kleenex if he keeps this up…

    2. i think it was said this morning that the renault engine is cutting cylinders in the slow corners to aid traction on the exit; it’s almost exactly the same idea used in the Traction control era. The engine running on only 2-4 cylinders is therefore causing the grating sound.

    3. Has anyone heard anything ago the red bulls cylinders? And what does it mean cutting a cylinder?

      1. “Cutting” a cylinder means deliberately cutting it out. The teams all use V8 engines, but the regulations allow them to use engine maps to cut as many as four cylinders out under certain conditions – mostly during cornering – in order to give better traction. I’m not entirely sure how it works myself, but I do know that Mercedes gave the FIA a high-quality audio recording of the Red Bull RB8, suspecting that the team was actually cutting out a fifth cylinder. The FIA have said they can’t hear anything unusual that would indicate Red Bull were breaking the rules, though.

    4. I think it’s more to do with the fact that Red Bull can’t work out how it works 100%, and ‘clarity’ is just an official investigation that makes Mercedes explain how it works.

      Which is stupid.

      1. @jamiefranklinf1 – “Stupid” isn’t the term I would use. “Devious” or perhaps “unsporting” would be better, since they’d basically be saying “We can’t figure out how your advantage works, so we demand that you tell us so that we can build our own version and beat you with it!”

        1. @Prisoner-monkeys – Yeah, those are probably better words to use. But I still don’t like it. In fact, if this whole ‘clarity’ talk continues, it will only serve me to lose more respect for the team and any other team that agrees.

          They have a great design team, and have built fantastic cars. It’s a little pathetic to resort to such petty and unsporting behaviour.

          1. It’s a tried and true tradition among the top teams. Pretty much everyone has done it at some point. And while Red Bull carry on about Mercedes’ rear wing, Mercedes hit back by giving the FIA audio recordings of the RB8 claiming that Red Bull were using an illegal engine map.

            Once you’ve been following the sport long enough, this back-and-forth becomes commonplace.

    5. To be fair, Mclaren really hasn’t been bothered. And I doubt Red Bull is covering for them :-). Personally, I think it is yet another perfect example of CH’s tendency to whine endlessly – remember how he went on and on about the Renault engines a couple of seasons back?

    6. Was wondering how the whining didnt start yet from team red bull! last year it was adrian newey whining about Mclaren copying RBR setup and getting a competitive car in melbourne. This year its mercedes.

    7. It seems Mercedes (and probably others as well) have been carefully recording the sounds of the Renault engined teams. Probably preparing a nice question if they can use the same (with the purpose of getting it banned)

      1. @bascb – I believe they have already asked the FIA about it. The FIA said they can’t hear anything amiss. I don’t think Mercedes felt they had much of a chance with it, really. It’s more a case of sending a message to Red Bull: the more Christian Horner makes noises about Mercedes’ rear wing despite it being ruled legal, the more the other teams are going to wonder what Red Bull stands to gain from it – and what they have to hide.

        1. I hadn’t seen that before PM, you are probably right there.

  3. I’ll translate CH thoughts for those not following :
    “We want to copy Mercedes design, but before we invest any money into this, and because it is not as simple as digging some hole into the rear wing, we need to make sure the FIA is not going to think twice about whether it is legal or not”

    Horner knows this is an option he can/will take if the RB8 does not behave as expected, but he also knows that rebuilding the car a significant number of times during the season could bring the team into an endless development cycle, and a total waste of resources. He is also thinking ahead for next season and if confirmed this is something to consider early on.

  4. Is it possible for Merc to change the front wing at their first pit stop to one that doesn’t feature the enhanced-DRS slots but is otherwise identical? Obviously that will slow the stop down (I have no idea by how much if someone could estimate based on past numbers), but would let them keep the qualifying performance and remove the extra tyre wear for 2/3 or 3/4 of the race. Or is there a rule in place against changing front wings without damage/with essentially a different design?

    1. tom (@iwishiworkedformclaren)
      24th March 2012, 1:21

      the rule is that the device cannot be controlled by the drivers, so i would almost certainly say that they could and also, well thought of tim.

      I do think though that if something has been declared legal, then appeal if your unhappy, but if it has happened twice, just stop crying and move on.

      I seem to remember not so long ago christian horner, saying ‘its totally legal, it has past fia regulations, lets move on’ when asked about advantageous flexi wings and diffusers!!

    2. Pitting for a new front wing doesn’t really do anything. The frong wing F-duct only works when the DRS flap is open. The article that says it is a bit of a liability to the team is basically pointing out that because the use of DRS is moderated during the race, but freely available during practice and qualifying, the advantage is limited come the race.

      But I don’t think Mercedes’ speed is entirely due to the FWFD. It’s a clever way of keeping the balance in the car, but it’s not the defining factor in the car’s speed. After all, if HRT used an FWFD on the F112, then it would be very clever device. And ultimately useless given the car’s sheer lack of anything resembling downforce.

      1. @prisoner-monkeys, I agree that the FWFD is only useful if you have a car that has enough downforce so that on a clear majority of tracks, it could be used during a significant part of the qualifying lap, ie. all high speed corners at least, and possibly some medium speed ones even.

        So their speed is not a fluke, and they have a good amount of it. But I find what Gary Anderson writes to be a reasonable explanation for Rosberg’s trouble in Australia with tyres during the race, especially given his comments about setting the car up still too much for quali-pace, namely that quali-usage of the FWFD means the non-DRS balance of the car is different for the rear tires, degrading the tyres more than on other cars.

        If they need to then unbalance the car a bit in qualifying to make sure it works well enough w/h DRS in the race, it will again be a problem for them to get the right balance consistently, something they struggled with during 2010 and 2011.

        It could be that this is good for MSC, just use the system max in qualifying, then change driving style in the race; equally, ROS could set up car to be less good in quali but still go good and have a good set-up for race, so he can keep tyres working. Might make it an interesting fight between those two.

        But it also means they will often be vulnerable on race day if they got a great qualifying result. Might make for interesting races as everyone tries to account for that!

          1. Thanks for the link, great post by Scarbs! Around the time you posted that I was sort of gathering the same info from reading f1technical.net – fun :)

            Mercedes has a clever design and a pretty good car, I love this part of F1, seeing how well they will be able to use those clever bits, and whether maybe straight aero efforts by Red Bull & Lotus win out (leaving McLaren ahead for now, I think).

  5. Ayrton Senna’s ’84 Toleman is up for auction soon, if anyone is interested… http://www.silverstoneauctions.com/ex-ayrton-senna-1984-toleman-tg-184-2

    1. Let me break my piggy-bank.

  6. Like I said yesterday, I can’t help but think that Horner is opposing the FWFD because it’s going to be difficult and/or very expensive for Red Bull to develop. And it may require them to remove things from the car that they’d rather keep.

    Horner needs to bite the bullet. The FIA has declared the FWFD legal on three occasions (during scrutineering in Australia, during scruitineering in Malaysia, and after Red Bull and Lotus asked for a second opinion in Melbourne), and he still wants to talk about it. Red Bull are evidently very concerned about it.

    1. After “Clarity” is cleared. What do you think their next move? Seems they are so desperate about it. Just wonder why Ferrari seems quite about this issue.

      1. @kyle – It is very bizarre behaviour. Statistically (and historically), teams have very little chance of getting verdicts like this overturned once the season has started. Ferrari are the only team who have ever managed to get the FIA to recant on a semi-regular basis, and even then, that was mostly during the height of their powers in the early 2000s.

        I haven’t seen much from Ferrari on the subject of the FWFD. They weren’t one of the teams that approached Charlie Whiting in Australia, and if you look at the nature of the questions that were asked of Stefano Domenicali, they avoid the subject of the FWFD. He apparently doesn’t have an opinion on it, and if he does, then he’s not looking to weigh in. Ferrari have bigger issues right now, and they clearly don’t want to get dragged into a fight over the rule book. Especially since the FWFD won’t do anything to cure the F2012’s inherent twitchiness.

        I think Horner’s endgame here is to get Mercedes to open up about exactly how the FWFD works. Given the way Mercedes has gone to great lengths to keep the system under wraps, Horner may have more luck getting blood out of a stone. If he succeeds in getting them to detail the system, then one of two things will happen: either Horner will go straight to the stewards and try to get the system banned, or Red Bull will use Mercedes’ testimony to fast-track their own FWFD. No doubt they will start to develop it even while Horner runs to Charlie Whiting, but if the FIA still upholds the ban, then they will have a revised design of the RB8 ready to go. Time is of the essence here; the last time Red bull were behind the eight-ball on car development was in 2009, when they didn’t think of a double diffuser. Double diffusers were declared legal in Melbourne, and Red Bull had their own design ready for Monaco – it took two months for Adrian Newey to design his own double difuser, mostly because he had to totally overhaul the rear suspension geometry. An FWFD is going to take considerably longer to design, mostly because Newey would have to find the most efficient route through the car and work around a safety cell that the team cannot alter.

        If anything, Horner’s constant cry of “foul!” speaks to just how tenuous Red Bull’s position is this year. The RB8 is not as good out of the box as the RB7, and with the time it would take to develop an FWFD, they run the risk of falling even further behind. It is easier for Red Bull to preserve their position by getting the FWFD banned than it is to design their own. And with Mercedes questioning Renault’s engine maps, using the RB8 as evidence that something is amiss, Red Bull is in a really tenuous position right now. Vettel was complaining about poor balance yesterday; when was the last time he did that? Despite the team’s insistence that they will be stronger in the races, the result in Australia was not representative of their position. They benefited greatly from the safety car intervention and Mercedes’ tyre-graining issues, but they could easily be left fighting over the minor points places on Sunday. And that’s probably not going down well with the Powers That Be at Milton Keynes. They were expecting to lead the championship fight, but right now, they’re just treading water.

        1. like your way of thinking PM.
          is this how you understand it works?
          when DSR button is pushed the wing flips up exposing holes from beneath which force air through a system of pipes to the front wing where it is distributed over it to release drag??

          1. @lethalnz – Yes, that is how it is believed to work. Nothing has been confirmed, of course.

            The problem for all the teams trying to create an FWFD is twofold: first of all, the air must pass through the car in the opposite direction to that which the car is travelling. This obviously means that the air travelling through the car needs to take the most direct and most efficient route from the rear wing to the front wing.

            The second problem – which is much harder to get around – is that any passage through the car needs to somehow circumvent the safety cell. The safety cells are homologated, which means that once they pass their crash tests, they cannot be modified. Any changes made to the safety cell will require the re-homologation of the safety cell, and the FIA will only allow it on the grounds of safety. Any team that attempts to include a path for air travelling through the car within the designs of a revised safety cell will have their plans for the new cell rejected by the FIA.

          2. @ PM, I’m impressed. good insights.

          3. As far as I know, the air is just used as a trigger, changing the behavior of another airflow. By itself, this small amount of flow wont do much, especially not after being forced opposite the car, but using it to trigger a strong flow can have huge effects.

    2. I think you have a very good point there, it makes sense when you look at how much of a fuss he is making about it. I cannot believe he still wants “clarity” after as you say it has been cleared at least 3 times now in effect.

      1. I would say it’s fair game considering how much whinning there was by the other teams about “active ride height” and flexible front wing for months despite the cars legality being cleared at every single race.

  7. Seems people are having big problems. Lotus had their hospitality building burn down. A Kimi helmet was lost and some computers lost. That after they had the gearbox thing on Kimi’s car, so he will drop after quali.

    And Mercedes now seem to have a problem with Nico Rosberg’s engine. Probably going to be tough to get him out in FP3

  8. Why is Red Bull asking for a clarification ‘Whining, Devious, unsporting’ etc… yet in the past few years when we’ve had teams like McLaren asking for clarifications on various bits of Red Bull technology many of the same people considered it fine & just a part of F1?

    Red Bull wanting clarification is just a part of F1, Has been for decades & its something every team does at some point. Those going on about how Red Bull are sore losers or whatever can’t have been following F1 for very long, simply don’t understand how F1 works or only see it as acceptable when there favorite team is the one asking for clarifications!

    My only concern for this device Mercedes has is that if every team goes the same route we end up with DRS giving an even bigger speed gain & thus producing even easier & guaranteed passes which are even more boring & unexciting that the crap DRS already produces.

    1. Who are you quoting there? I don’t agree it is “whining”, “devious” or “unsporting”.

      As you say, it’s what everyone does. Either you get it banned or you get it copied. If protesting it allows you to learn more about it, that’s what you do.

  9. I think Whitmarsh and @Rumfresh have got it right. Red Bull will not lay down for long. They’re not panicking so it’s like they know they will be more competitive and soon.

    It would be great if McLaren got enough of a lead to not have it instantly wiped out, but enough to keep a championship challenge alive.

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