Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Sepang, 2012

Mercedes rear wing row not over yet

F1 Fanatic round-up

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Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Sepang, 2012In the round-up: Teams continue to protest Mercedes’ rear wing design and use of DRS.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

FIA reassesses Mercedes rear wing (BBC)

“Teams have continued to lobby Whiting since returning from Malaysia last week and BBC Sport understands he will look in detail at their arguments this week before trying to come to a definitive position on the issue.”

Talking heads: The Mercedes DRS (Sky)

“I’m not Charlie Whiting so I can’t tell you if it is legal or not. All I can tell you is that the antis argue the system should be deemed a driver-operated aerodynamic device, and therefore banned, while Mercedes insist that it isn’t a driver-operated system and so there’s no valid reason for it to be banned.”

Malaysia race edit (F1)

The Malaysian Grand Prix in three-ish minutes.

Maurice Hamilton via Twitter

“Fans of F1 and rally cartoonist Jim Bamber can see a selection of his work here http://bit.ly/HadIqe”

Comment of the day

Two more suggestions for teams who bounced back from poor seasons:

Stewart GP.
1997: (founded) Six points scored.
1998: Five points scored. Then…
1999: 36 points scored (four podiums including a race win).
John H

Over a season, the most notable improvement in a car has to be the MP4-24. From being two seconds off the pace to what I consider the best car on the grid by the end of 2009 is staggering.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to JT19!

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On this day in F1

Victory in the United States Grand Prix West at Long Beach went to Lotus driver Mario Andretti on this day 35 years ago.

Jody Scheckter led most of the way in his Wolf before suffering a puncture four laps from home. He recovered to finish third behind pole sitter Niki Lauda.

Here’s the start of the race:

Image ?? Daimler/Hoch Zwei

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  • 95 comments on “Mercedes rear wing row not over yet”

    1. There will be no real end to this row, will there? :okay:

    2. “Teams have continued to lobby Whiting since returning from Malaysia last week and BBC Sport understands he will look in detail at their arguments this week before trying to come to a definitive position on the issue.”

      Judging by Autosport’s article on the subject, Red Bull is the only team who are still really complaining about it.

      I think Christian Horner needs to move on. The FIA have declared the wing system legal three times now, but Horner is still trying to make an issue out of it. And if he doesn’t get his way (either the FIA banning it or Mercedes revealing exactly how it works), then I have a premonition that this is going to be 2012’s agonising political subplot. I think it’s fairly obvious that Red Bull feel threatened by Mercedes. The RB8 is nowhere near as competitive as they would like it to be because they can’t compete with McLaren, and if Mercedes get their tyre issues sort out, then they could probably threaten Red Bull. And then Lotus think they can be in the top three, too. So I think Red Bull are feeling serious pressure and have resorted to trying to get Mercedes’ front wing banned. All’s fair in love and war, but the FIA have approved it three times now. Red Bull are just getting desperate, and I’m liking them less and less every time Horner opens his mouth about it.

      Maybe if they spent less energy trying to get the FWFD banned and more energy on getting their car to work properly, then they wouldn’t need to worry about Mercedes’ front wing … or is that too radical a thought?

      1. I agree, I do0n’t think that Red Bull is in a position to complain about, only just legal devices, considering over the last few years they have been at the for front in that, and mostly got their way.

      2. I think Horner is more concerned about the advantage that Mercedes get in qualifying than Mercedes actually having a quicker car. The RB8 has better race pace, personally I think its on equal footing with mclaren, but its qualifying pace isn’t an equal match and with Mercedes’ DRS system allowing them to jump Red Bull in quali it makes life a lot harder for Red Bull in the race. Overtaking Rosberg and Schumacher wastes time and tyres and allows the Mclarens up front to build a nice lead.

        Also the more time spent talking about the Mercedes rear wing means less time spent talking about the RB8 and stuff like the slot on its nose. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the reason Horner is still kicking up a fuss

        1. Also the more time spent talking about the Mercedes rear wing means less time spent talking about the RB8 and stuff like the slot on its nose. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the reason Horner is still kicking up a fuss

          I would bet on that one @zahir, they have complained about other people’s solutions and while doing so, kept developing their own version. DFD, F-Duct(or “F-Jack” as Webber called it).

        2. All of which has nothing to do with the legality of the system.

          1. It has been deemed legal on a number of separate occasions now yet RedBull still can’t let it go. I am not an Expert on the rules but it seems perfectly legal to me.

            Red Bull should be the last ones complaining after their cheating wing saga.

      3. Agree with you absolutely 100%. The moment I read the article I was thinking it was either Red Bull or Toro Rosso who are still protesting about it.

        1. I don’t think Toro Rosso have said two words about it. Red Bull and Lotus have been leading the charge, but ever since it was declared legal the first time, Lotus have backed off.

          1. I think you may be right that Toro Rosso have not said two words about the wing, but I just thought they might say something because of their ties with Red Bull.

            1. The cynic in mes feels that Toro Rosso don’t stand to gain anything from having the rear wing banned, so they have no reason to comment. Their fight at the moment is with Sauber, Force India and Williama.

      4. PM,
        Believe me they are working flat out on their version of the device. Horner isnt a designer and his time spent trying to get it banned is not taking away from the time his team devote to working on their solution.

        1. It might just be that protesting it now gives them enough time to perfect it, while no one else goes on track with this solution before clarity is achieved!

      5. Red Bull have every right to complain. The FIA want McLaren at the top so they took away Red Bull’s advantage with the new regulations instead of forcing the other teams to have to play catch up and beat Red Bull the proper way. The FIA need to leave the regulations alone for a few years instead of fiddling with things every year.

        1. What on earth are you on about?

          For a start Red bull were effectively cheating for the last 2 years…..

          1. While I do hear you folks on the concept that Merc’s wing has been approved several times and Horner should let it go, I just have to wonder why he hasn’t when other things in the past have been let go upon immediate deeming of legality. I don’t think he is a cry baby, nor cares if he appears to be. I think he is just playing the game of F1, who are famous for their inconsistancies in enforcing rules, and I just wonder if Horner has a very strong belief/case that Merc’s system, being activated by the driver in association with the DRS rear wing, is in fact very debatable.

            I don’t think he is jealous, or a cry baby, or any other immature trait anybody wants to paint this successful, professional F1 insider as…I think he must have a pretty solid case, at least in his mind, and I see nothing wrong with him either trying to get it banned from Merc and hurting them and at the same time therefore saving themselves a ton of money in not having to pursue their own instigation of the Merc system, or finding out once and for all if they need to instigate their own to compete. Just saying….I’m sure there is a pretty solid case that Horner has compiled and I’m sure he is not just being a ‘cry baby.’ He is just playing the game as set out before him. He can ask and I don’t see any harm in it for all they are going to do is say no, unless he is worried about a bunch of armchair fans calling him a cry baby, and otherwise it is up to Whiting to finally tell him to let it go once and for all, which it seems he hasn’t done…why? That’s my question. I just think it is a little more complicated than we think or this professional would have moved on by now. I also don’t think Horner is hurting his team by not letting this go yet. And I also wonder if Horner needs absolute clarification from Whiting as to why this isn’t deemed a moveable-by-the-driver-aero-device and therefore illegal because perhaps the system he/Newey has in mind presents even more shades of gray as to it’s legality.

      3rd April 2012, 0:14

      Sounds to me like Mercedes are having a “Chapman” moment and devised a clever solution. The rest are now starting to cry over spllied milk and the proof of this will come when the second team arrives with their version of the Mercedes solution. If MS should win with the solution before any other team comes up with their own version, it will be banned.
      The copy cats are burning the midnight oil as I write.

      1. THE TED BELL
        3rd April 2012, 0:18

        I agree PM, the RB8 is off pace and the team is starting to become complainers. Build a better car and try to find something clever and effective. That is what F1 has been about for the past 600 races.

        1. Its pretty obvious and it makes RB look a little silly. Certainly RB not looking very cool.

          1. I disagree…I think it is as recent articles with their quotes from Allison and Horner are saying. Whiting has obviously not put this to bed yet…he has taken the comments he has heard from the last race and is considering the cases against Merc’s system, I think because they have brought up valid enough points and that if Merc is deemed legal then it opens up a bit of a can of worms. I expect that by China he will either modify his stance on Merc’s wing, or say once and for all why it is legal…what his entire thinking is on it and what he thinks of the points Horner has made about it…And then Horner will know what to do after that…what is within the legally allowed limits for said type of system. He simply hasn’t had the door shut on him by Whiting and is unwilling to spend the money chasing something until he is absolutely sure of the limits to which he can take their system that no doubt has been on their drawing board for a while.

            Just to add…I don’t see Merc winning with this system…they seem to have too stark a difference between race pace and quali, and their tire wear seems to be a big part of it as well as the fact that DRS can be used at will on Fridays and Saturdays, and only once or twice per lap on Sundays. I think Horner will also only benefit on Saturdays, but if it can put them higher up on the grid, why not…

            I don’t see Horner as whining…just playing the game and trying to keep up and keep competitive within the legal limits…same as everyone else. If Whiting had already categorically put this to bed, and Horner was still making it an issue, then sure, I would call him a whiner. I just think it is obvious that Whiting has not put it to bed yet, so it is Horner’s responsibility to the team and it’s sponsors to keep after this issue until it IS put to bed.

            Then he will accept Whitings ruling and move on from there, either with their own take on it based on the ruling, or against a Merc team that must remove it.

            1. if Merc is deemed legal then it opens up a bit of a can of worms

              So @robbie we think Whiting hasn’t put it to bed because he’s worried teams may be trying to cook up more elaborate “DRS-activated aerodynamics” ? And if that was a possibility I wonder whether red bull are “seeking clarity” because they have a raft of ideas themselves or if they’re worried about other people’s ideas

            2. @3dom…yeah I think it was Allison that said (I’m paraphrasing) that because his and Horner’s (and no doubt other’s, some of whom have political reasons to be less vocal) opinion is that the DRS is activated by the driver, hence so is the front wing, and therefore the can of worms is what other devices can be hooked up secondarily then, if a driver activated device can be harnessed for other purposes than the literal one of a moveable flap on the rear wing.

              So I think simply the tricky part here is that the front wing trickery is a non-moveable system of openings along the leading edge and channels of air within the nose, the wing, and the chassis from the rear up to the front.

              So I think that Whiting, based on the passiveness of the front wing and the air channels, the non-moveability, he has deemed Merc legal, but I think Horner has either a)made a strong case for it being driver operated and therefore outside the rules in a way Whiting hadn’t thought of it, b) Horner has pointed out some other things then that they can and will do if Whiting remains steadfast in his opinion on the legality of the Merc with regards to secondary useages of moveable devices, and c) all this because either Horner et al have some wicked ideas themselves that will by default have to be declared legal and/or as you say they are worried about other people’s ideas.

              I think the bottom line is that Horner has some interesting enough points that it has given Whiting pause to reflect. I think Horner is ready for either answer from Whiting. I think Horner is expecting either to have Whiting declare Merc illegal and then Horner need take no further action with his cars to answer to Merc’s device, or he has his own system ready to instigate as soon as he truly has the green flag once and for all to go ahead. The cheaper easier option for Horner is to have Whiting make it illegal. If it remains legal then I’m sure the money and resources are there for Horner to access to then go ahead with their system, a system they perhaps have already provided on paper to Whiting for clarity along with his final decision on Merc.

    4. Matt (@agentmulder)
      3rd April 2012, 0:20

      What I don’t understand is what’s the big freaking deal?

      If Mercedes were pulling clean sweeps on Sunday, alright, I could see an argument there, but they’re not. Qualifying isn’t what it used to be with the new tires, with normal DRS, with set in stone gear ratios, and all the other changes that have gone on in the past decade. How many times in 2011 did a driver charge from way back in the grid to a top spot? I seem to remember some great charges from the likes of Kobayashi and the Torro Rosso boys, and we saw Kimi go from 18th to 7th in Australia.

      Look at Mercedes now. Schumacher has been taken out of contention twice through extenuating circumstances, and Rosberg goes nowhere but backwards during a race. They have a single point to their name, and are in between the Torro Rosso team and Marussia. If Red Bull took the hint the second, or even third time the system was declared legal, they could already have a working FWFD on their car, and any qualifying advantage would be nullified.

      But no. They seem perfectly content to pull a Ferrari and hope to get Charlie and Co to ban everything that they can’t quickly duplicate or improve upon.

      1. Drivers from 18th scored more points on average than anyone from 11th-17th, lots of people do good from the back (at least before the last couple of races, didn’t chart the entire season out – were certainly far enough ahead to have done though).

        Also, I think the Mercedes DRS-duct is giving them a lot more pace in quali than anyone realises. It’s clouded by their “tyre issues” but when you’ve got free-DRS use and it’s “always” on, then they’re gaining a massive benefit. Strangely enough in the race – where they can’t use it – they’re not quick at all. It’ll be interesting to see how fast they are, or aren’t, if it does get banned.

        1. Matt (@agentmulder)
          3rd April 2012, 0:36

          It’s a massive benefit in quali for sure. I too am interested to see how they fare without it. Hopefully we get a rainy Q3 one weekend. Tires seem to be Mercedes’ Achilles Heel. Either they can’t get them switched on, or they burn through their rubber faster than an adult film star.

          We might not see other teams gain as much because depending on there the slots are flow rapid flow reattachment can get a bit dicey. Red Bull, McLaren will gain, but some of the smaller teams may be better off sticking with a race-centric R&D approach.

      2. @agentmulder – I’m afraid I’m going to have to Scully you on this one:

        If Mercedes were pulling clean sweeps on Sunday, alright, I could see an argument there, but they’re not.

        The key point is that they might pass Red Bull, and that’s enough to get Red Bull scared. I think Horner and Red Bull have two objectives here. They can only settle for one, but one is enough:

        1) They successfully get the FWFD banned, and by doing so, whatever threat Mercedes poses evaporates. Mercedes aren’t converting qualifying performances into race results, but that is not going to happen forever. Sooner or later, they will come wise. And as Red Bull figured out last year, having a strong qualifying car can count for a lot in the race. Once Mercedes figure out the solution to their problems, then they can stay in front of the Red Bulls in the races.


        2) They get Mercedes to show their hand by detailing exactly how the FWFD works. This will accelerate Red Bull’s development of their own FWFD, because they will not have to resort to trial and error to get their own version working. In this case, whatever advantage Mercedes has is negated by the way Red Bull will have it, too.

        Red Bull aren’t constantly protesting Mercedes’ wing because it’s a Friday night and they’ve got nothing better to do; very rarely does anybody in Formula 1 do anything without having a reason for it. They’re clearly trying to destroy whatever gains Mercedes has by either getting it banned or having Mercedes tell them everything. The latter is probably preferable for them, but either way, Red Bull gain from it.

        1. Matt (@agentmulder)
          3rd April 2012, 0:39

          NOOOOO!!!! SCULLY!!!!!!

          I do have to say though, their continued protests are indicating RBR is in more trouble than I originally thought. If they are dead set on having this system either reveled to the world or out of the sport, when it’s coming from Mercedes, it really shows you hove far they’ve fallen.

          1. @agentmulder – I would have thought that Mercedes’ actions in Malaysia sent a pretty clear message to Red Bull. After FP1, Mercedes approached the stewards with a recording of the Red Bull engine, claiming that they were running an illegal engine map that was dropping out an extra cylinder under hard traction. The FIA said they couldn’t hear anything untoward, but in the interests of a fair and equitable stewarding process, any team being investigated is informed of it, and I believe they are told who raised the objections. Red Bull would have know that it was Mercedes who asked the stewards to watch them closely. To me, that’s a pretty clear message: the longer Christian Horner keeps making an issue out of the Mercedes’ wing design, the more likely it is that other teams are going to start wondering what Red Bull have to hide.

          2. @matt, That is a good point. How low they have fallen indeed. Last year they were blowing statistics left right and centre. Now they are just whiny. Sad.

            I always want to see innovation. I dislike banning new tech.

        2. Its going to be none of the above I’m afraid.

          Red Bull already know how it works. Thats not their problem. They just want to avoid paying the money to develop it. But they will have to in the end.

          This will be banned for 2013 (as most innovative ideas these days)

          1. I find the prospect of red bull having to put money into copying/developing someone else’s idea in order to “catch up” very satisfying ;-)

      3. @prisoner-monkeys @agentmulder
        I think the issue is that the Merc is a quicker qualifier than the Red Bull while being a slower racer than the Red Bull – the F duct is a big reason for that. That means with Merc being ahead at the start; they will be ahead at the start; and Red Bull will be held up until they can pass the Mercedes. Get the wing banned; and they won’t have to waste time passing Mercedes.

        1. In that case, Red Bull need to learn that just because someone is faster than them, it doesn’t automatically mean that they’re cheating.

        2. the F duct is a big reason for that.

          And you know this how? How do you explain qualifying result for Rosberg then? 7th is pretty poor result – and he is supposed to be the master of it. Everyone is complaining about the fact that Mercedes was reaching top speeds .. bla bla.., but everyone forgets that Mercedes was doing the same thing last year. Also their DRS wasn’t doing anything spectacular during the last race.

          MSCs good qualifying result maybe has nothing to do with F-duct. There may be a possibility (somewhat speculative – and perhaps too early to say) that this years car suits MSC more due to removal of blown diffusers. How? – It is possible, that MSC was never able to get the most out of the system in previous years, as he was never used to this system in the past. Now that this system is gone we see Rosberg struggling a bit.

      4. @agentmulder I’ve thought that myself. You can qualify as high as you want but you won’t get ant points unless you have a great race. Mercedes race pace is such that I don’t consider them an immediate threat and nor should Red Bull.

        1. Agreed @andrewtanner…and @maksutov…I don’t think NR’s quali was that poor…he did lock up his brakes and hurt himself on his hot lap, but last year that wouldn’t have cost him nearly so much…this year, the 3/10ths that it cost him cost him about 4 spots on the grid…last year it would have cost him 1. I think this year will see us able to throw a blanket over MS and NR, that’s how close their Saturdays and Sundays will average out. Let’s not forget it’s only been 2 races.

    5. I think the Merc rear wing would be a bigger issue if the car was a winning one, but with the car so far off the pace in the races it’s clearly not the ace they were expecting.

      Anyway, the precedent has been set. Someone comes up with a new idea, the rest try to get it banned because they didn’t think of it themselves, then when it’s legal they come up with their own version. It’s ground effect, turbos, and the F-Duct all over again.

    6. Whats the big deal. No top car has it so it doesn’t change much. It helps on the evidence of this season the worst car out excluding Caterham down from qualifying 3rd. From then on they drop like a stone.

      Seems strange they allow this when that system was a secondary result of the brake pedal. This is secondary result of DRS, both change aerodynamics as a secondary result of a driver operated mechanism. Whats the difference?

      secondaryresult of a driver

      s as alters aerodynamics. Lotus and others had ride height adjustment declared illegal

      1. I meant to say whats the difference between this and Lotus ride height system. Both affect aerodynamics as a secondary function of a driver operated mechanism.

        1. @markp – The FIA decided that Lotus weren’t being entirely up-front with them over the RRH. They claimed the reactive ride height system was designed to promote stability in the car, particularly under braking, and that any aerodynamic benefit derived from it was only secondary. When the FIA investigated, they found that Lotus downplayed the aerodynamic benefits of the RRH, and that those benefits vastly out-weighed any gains in stability, so they banned it because it was an aerodynamic device first and everything else second.

          The difference here is that Mercedes have always been up-front about the function of the FWFD, even if they have never gone into details as to exactly how it works. And unlike the reactive ride height systems, the front wing F-duct does not use any moving parts. The DRS flap exposes the vents to the air, triggering the function of the FWFD, but the DRS is something that all teams have, and the function of the FWFD does not supersedde the DRS.

          1. Agreed. Also the principle of the f-duct was never banned just made harder to achieve whilst the principles if active ride height have been banned since the end of 1993.

    7. Some of the comments in this thread sound eerily familiar…like something we heard once or twice about flexing wings about a year ago. “It’s been declared legal! Why can’t the other teams move on? Maybe they should stop whining and come up with their own solution or figure out how to do it themselves?”

      Except now that it’s Red Bull doing the complaining, the shoe’s on the other foot, right? They’re just playing the same game other teams play, except it’s only okay when it’s *your* team doing it, right? ;-)

      1. says the guy with the Vettel finger avatar

      2. The difference is that a) the teams eventually dropped their protests against Red Bull, but despite seeking a “final ruling” in Malaysia, Christian Horner is still trying to get the device banned/detailed; and b) Red Bull’s flexing splitter was visibly in violation of the rules, whereas Mercedes aren’t visibly in the wrong.

        1. 2010 Hungary and the case will still going on, does eventually happen after this?

        2. Plus, the front wings contravened a further regulation that states the only part of the car that can be lower than the reference plane is the skid block. I.e that does not include the front wing end plates

        3. a) “Eventually”? Yes, but only after more than one deflection test administered by the FIA, each more stringent than the previous one. The wing passed the test before the 2010 British GP, a stricter one before Spa that year, and yet another new test at the start of the 2011 season, but at the beginning of last season there were still people doing some complaining about it.

          It’s not as though, after the first test, or even the second test, the teams just said, “Oh, okay then — perfectly legal. Carry on! Our mistake.” They’re going to complain about such things for as long as they think it might have even a small chance of doing them some good. It wasn’t really until the start of 2011 that the teams finally accepted that the Red Bull front wing was just plain legal, and they were going to have to copy it or come up with something better.

          b) Not “visibly wrong”? What about “conceptually wrong”? And I’m not sure where you’re getting the idea that it’s just Horner at this point; I’ve been reading that James Allison has at least as much to do with the most recent questions to the FIA, but maybe you have different information? (Even the Autosport article you cite mentions Red Bull Racing AND Lotus.) Here’s what Allison had to say in an article I read yesterday:

          “It’s a secondary effect, but it’s absolutely operated by the driver,” he told Motor Sport. “Mercedes hasn’t invented something; it was there, and other people were under the impression that it wasn’t legal. If this is allowed you’ll see everyone doing it, and it won’t stop there, there are many, many other things that can happen.”

          So count James Allison among those who believe there might be something “wrong” with what Mercedes is doing, I guess. I’ve been reading that he has an issue he’s raising ahead of the Chinese GP. If so, I guess we’ll soon hear about it…

          1. but @aka_robyn, mostly the things teams keep protesting the longest are just because its hard (= expensive) for them to copy it.

            The reason for ongoing protests of the RB wing was, that no one really ever got as good as Red Bull at doing it. The same was true for DDD, because they were pretty costly to redevelop the cars around.

            I guess this system would be expensive as well. One would need a new nose, including crash tests, and possibly new sidepods to actually get the tubing in there. And off course redo the rear wing completely to have the operating device for the DRS in the endplates instead of in the middle of it. And you need to rework the airflow over the complete car to see what stalling the FW actually does. All of that for something that will bring only benefit in qualifying.

            Just compare the F-duct again. People protested, but then got going on copying it really fast, as it was not that complicated and expensive to do it, and only asked for testing on track to get it right.

          2. @aka_robyn – The problem is that teams sometimes find ways around the deflection tests, see this article which highlights how they may have cleverly gotten around the splitter test:

            In the red bull flexy wing argument, the wing was visibly flexing more than that which the margins in the rules were designed to allow (as some flexing is always gonna occur). They found a way to not get caught.

            At the end of the day the mercedes fdfw duct is always there it’s just it sits behind the upper flap of the rear wing. As @prisoner-monkeys states they’ve been upfront with it all along (they were testing the effects of stalling the front wing last year). It’s a passive system, the DRS doesn’t change the fdfw system itself, all the DRS does is move and change the airflow (which is what it’s there for anyway).

        4. @prisoner-monkeys…I think that if the matter had truly been finalized by Whiting, Horner would have already been shut down by him with a final, resounding “go away Christian, I’ve made my decision.”

          So it seems to me Horner has at least gotten Whiting to detail further to him and the other teams why Merc’s system is legal after similar ideas were deemed illegal in recent years, and so Horner can have a more complete picture of the paramaters to which they can then reach with their system. Or Horner has made Whiting say, “hmmm…good point, Christian. Ok, Merc is illegal, or OK, what you want to do is something I will also have to declare legal.”

      3. There is one huge difference between Merc rear wing and Red bulls flexi-wing. That difference is that the Red bull wing was designed to hide its function from the FIA and to cheat its way through testing. The Merc rear wing has been fully explained to the FIA and is not being hidden from tests.

        In athletics terms it Mercs wing would be like an athlete wearing a new pair of super light running shoes while Redbulls would be like an athlete developing a new performance enhancing drug that can’t be detected in the dope tests.

        1. @Lee1 RBR didn’t cheat with their flexiwing design IMHO. they just designed to car so that it would pass the test.

          The onus is on the FIA to write testing procedures which have no loop holes. This will almost certainly never happen and that is the beauty of the sport. I think anyway.

          Your athelete metaphor is not applicable. All sorts of modifications to an F1 car are permissable within the rules of the sport whereas. It is not permissable to modify an athelete at all ie. drugs, springs in runners etc. It’s apples and oranges.

          Speaking of drug testing is there a stringent drug testing regime in F1… I pressume there is.. Could drivers take ritalin to enhance concentration in the race and have it on prescription??

          1. @MW – I think the argument with the RB flexi wing was that there is the rule book, and also the technical regulations. The rule book says (paraphrasing) that no aerodynamic device shall move relative to the car. The technical regulations devised tests to try to enforce the rules. RB designed the flexi wing so that it passed the tests, but yet clearly broke the rule because everyone could see it moving relative to the car. Some people think that’s cheating. There was a similar issue in 2007 at the start of spygate. The rule book says the floor of the car cannot flex, and the technical regs provided for a test by applying a certain load. Ferrari deliberately designed a sprung floor that flexed under racing loads but not under test loads. The FIA’s response was to make the test more stringent, and upped the test loads to more accurately represent race loads.

    8. Obviously its not a game breaker for anything but qualifying. The race pace is far below where it should be.

    9. Im no red bull fan and Im all for bagging them an Vettel out on any opportunity but its gotta be said, i can sort of understand why they’re out to ban everyones advances: albeit for the good of the sport, theirs was banned last year…

      1. “We want it banned for the good of the sport” is usually double-speak for “We want it banned because it’s bloody clever, but since we didn’t think of it ourselves, they shouldn’t be allowed to benefit from it”.

        1. Or…we thought it was already banned so we didn’t pursue it and since now it is legal just watch what a can of worms has been opened up in terms of gadgetry and money spent now that we know a driver-controlled aero device can have secondary aero useages even as far away as the other end of the car. We shall now proceed to funnel air down our rear wing end plates and channel it to affect how our exhaust gases seal and unseal the air around our diffuser thus clawing back the effects of EBD that have been taken away from us.

    10. From now on everytime anyone asks me who is Hamiltons girlfriend, I’ll just redirect them to F1.com.

      1. The Malaysia video wasn’t as bad as the Australia one. And I don’t think people would mind so much if Nicole Scherzinger was more like Jessica Michibata. I get the impression Scherzinger treats her appearances at Grands Prix as social events, where being seen is just as important as seeing the racing. Michibata doesn’t seem to care much for the social calenderisation.

        1. Or if she wasn’t so cringeworthy to look at! :-P She’s all… shiny…

          1. Matches the Mclaren then. Shes got team skin.

    11. how the great do fall… sigh.
      really interesting to see how Horner and Vettel’s attitudes have changed now that they aren’t killing it in qualy. Vettel spends his days pulling fingers at back markers while Horner spends his days trying to get other teams innovations banned.
      truely from grace to grass…

      1. We’re only two races in. I imagine their attitude will improve.

        Besides, it’s a competitive sport, what do you expect?

        1. Bigbadderboom
          3rd April 2012, 14:46

          Besides, it’s a competitive sport, what do you expect?

          @AndrewTanner didn’t expect anything less from Horner and co, there’s something smarmy about him, watching the F1 show the other night. I bet he was the firsdt kid in the playground at school running to the teacher “telling tales!”. I think the problem with all this is the fact that teams are allowed to post numerous protests, and allowed to lobby Charlie at all. Raise an objection, then ratify it or reject it, then appeal, after that if the car passes it should be the end of it!

          1. @bigbadderboom You’re probably right about Horner, but I’m sure that criteria could apply to most team principals. I do understand his frustration, to the letter of the law it seems that Mercedes are infringing something. I’m keen to know exactly how they’re getting around it so I’m sure he’s desperate to.

    12. Merhi, Wickens and Vietoris are all F1 worthy, I hope they are doing a di Resta because all three are talented enough in my opinion. I was convinced that Wickens would have drove for Marussia instead of Pic for 2012.

      Also, I predict that by the end of Michael Schumacher’s and Romain Grosjean’s F1 careers, they will race in DTM.

      1. YEah, i want to add to that. Happy birthday @JT19

    13. Alain (@paganbasque)
      3rd April 2012, 8:11

      RB is acting like a stupid child, 3 times has Charlie said that the system is legal, sorry Newey but this season other engineers haven done a better job than you. Mclaren is faster than RB and if Mercedes solves its problems with the tyres the germans will be faster too.

    14. I think the reasons for continuing to question Charlie Whitings decision are (in order of priority):
      1. To be 100% certain that this will not be banned so that they can imitate it themselves.
      2. To cause this to be banned and lessen the threat from Merc. And also remove the threat of Mclaren or Ferarri adopting their own effective version of this and being more competitive.
      3.To distract attention from their own “controversial” developments.

      And the reasons not to complain: 0

    15. Ross Brawn summed this up quite simply by saying there only against it because they don’t know how it works. Which is pretty true. The FIA has deemed it legal and normally that would be that but since the teams (mainly Red Bull) either can’t develop one or make it work, they want it banned. This is what really ticks me off about F1, if someone can come up with a very good development and the other teams can’t make it work then theyu ban it. It’s the same with the McLaren f-duct, it was good, it didn’t cost anything to use, banned.

      1. @rdpunk I wonder if there is a great mystery regarding the fdfw that people don’t understand. So many people seem to think they understand how it works quite well (if not having a full understanding of how to harmonise it with the rest of the car)

        1. There may well be something within this system that we don’t know about I agree, how ever, many people are just going on the information we have been given via websites and Ted Kravitz. I think the main issue that the teams are going on about isn’t the system itself, but how it is activated. Merc say its the drs that does the actual blocking of the duct not the driver, hence nit driver activated meanwhile Red Bull say the driver pressing the Drs button is activating it, thus driver activated.

          1. “Chicken or the egg” argument then (btw the correct answer is “the egg”)

    16. I think this is a genuine grey area. The rules are ambiguous. Fair play to Mercedes for trying to take advantage but I think it’s just a matter of time before it’s banned (maybe for next season). The reason being not because it’s illegal but because it’s against the spirit of the rules. Anything against the spirit of the regs eventually goes.

      Moving aerodynamics devices are banned with the exception of DRS. The idea of DRS technically is to remove drag from the rear wing temporarily and not from any other area on the car. During it’s theoretical discussion and development no-one anticipated the system Mercedes now use. If they had they would have outlawed it. That simply was against the principal. Whether driver activated or not.

      Clever it may be. Long lived it won’t be.

      1. Moving aerodynamics devices are banned with the exception of DRS. The idea of DRS technically is to remove drag from the rear wing temporarily and not from any other area on the car.

        The other side of that argument is;

        DRS activation will effect the aerodynamics across the entire car.. All teams use this effect and Merc have capitalized on it most.

        1. I work in the aerodynamics field and yes it is true, it will effect the aero across the entire car. I was making the point that the rule was badly conceived and defined. I’m sure the intention was to remove drag only as a direct effect of the movement of the rear wing. I’m sure given hindsight the rule makers would have framed the rules to NOT allow the Merc solution, thats all.

          Hats off to Mercedes, shame on the rule makers!

    17. Red Bull are one of the lowest teams on the straight by a big distance compared to rivals. No wonder they are trying to get it banned, however annoying it may be!

    18. Carlito's way
      3rd April 2012, 10:36

      I absolutely love all the controversy and there’s no denying the merc system is very clever. Kudos to them for coming up with it. But you lot have got to be kidding yourselves if you think it’s legal. Wonderful as it may be (the system) its very clearly illegal as it is driver operated, and thats the reason teams will continue to protest it until the FIA puts an end to it or the other teams come up with their own copy of the system, whichever happens first.

    19. It does seem hypocritical from Horner considering the stance he took last year when he declared that the objection to their flexing wing were just sour grapes and that the objectors should accept the ruling of the Fia. The flexing wing was arguably more against the spirit of the rules than the current issue but that didn’t bother RB in the slightest. I do have a solution however, ban the stupid Drs completely, I hate it because it comprimises the finesse of a driver controlling speed on the limit forcing him to react to a loss of downforce rather than apply subtle levels of acceleration which is one of the most vital skills of a driver IMHO. It also takes away from the overall show which is not all about overtaking. See, problem solved.:)

    20. The effect of FWFD right now is a likely Schumacher-Stadtbahn situation in the races. I really don’t mind seeing competitive cars packed up behind a good driver fighting it out.

      As far as the wing itself, I think Mercedes have simply been more clever. I agree that the rule makers could not have wanted the DRS to be used as some kind of switch for additional complex aero devices. But how to you ban it without really getting into broader rear wing design? You could say, the new rule is “no holes” in the endplate. But we all know how useless specfically tailored technical rules modifications have been against clever designers. Anyway, without a rationale consistent with current rules, the FIA can’t be seen to issuing a Mercedes-specific rule. It was the similar situation with the flex-wing. They kept changing the test, appaerntly to address RBR’s apparent ploy, but it was the same test for everyone, and RBR alone kept beating the test. Why bother going down that road again?

    21. You guys just make this up too serious. F1 is only a show, business, the champion usually decided before the season, it gets pretty hot in the middle part, just to ensure enough bet for harvest. Look at the rule of nose height, why mecca’s car is the only car who originally comply with it, and suddenly become the fastest car on the grid. The merc car has to be improved somehow, because fans demand of schumi’s performance. The renaults have reactive suspension so can become dark horse. All these only for betting adrenalin and good for business..sorry.

      1. ” Look at the rule of nose height, why mecca’s car is the only car who originally comply with it”

        The bulkhead/nose height is _not_ a game changer, its just a different design philosphy and has its pro _and_ cons.

        McLaren have ran a lower bulkhead than other teams in recent years, it allows them to run a lower center of gravity and stiffer front-end.

        Other teams have the stepped nose because they prefer running a higher bulkhead which allows for greater airflow under the car, which they have done since 2009.

        1. “The renaults have reactive suspension so can become dark horse.”

          BTW, that was outlawed before the season started…

          PS. humans have been to the moon.

          1. Also, they’re called Lotus now.

    22. For the love of God,it’s not driver operated.Duct is conveniently placed under the movable part of the rear wing,so that when DRS is activated duct is exposed to air flow,which in turn stals the front wing.Concept is absolutely brilliant,and is totally passive,And Horner can choke on it.Im not a Mercedes fan,Lotus is my team but this is redonkulous :)

      1. Carlito's way
        4th April 2012, 8:29

        Problem is it IS driver operated because but for an direct action from the driver ( pressing a button on the steering wheel) the system would not come into effect. If this ever went to court it wouldn’t last ten minutes. Still love the system and hope merc gets to keep it as it mixes up the grid.

    23. HewisLamilton
      3rd April 2012, 22:56

      Wow, this is quite humorous. So RB have a contraversial Flexi Wing last year and had to listen to complaining about it, even after it was deemed legal. And it was deemed legal after the deflection test was modified to try and make them illegal.
      So now RB complain about the Merc and they are drawn and quartered for it by 90% of the posters on here. I would wager that the 90% saying RB should shove it are the same ones complaining that RB had an illegal wing.
      So it’s okay for other teams to complain about RB, but RB are not allowed to complain about anything?

      1. Alain (@paganbasque)
        4th April 2012, 8:02

        Yes and no, they can complain if they think that the system is not legal, but once not three times, Whiting must be exasperated giving, once again, the same answer and explanation.

        1. I just don’t think Whiting’s supposed ‘same answer and explanation’ has held enough water against perhaps some very compelling arguments by Horner et al, and perhaps Whiting has told Horner he won’t be changing his mind about Merc but that he will be taking under advisement the legality of what Horner as perhaps presented to him as their answer to Mercs system, or all the other types of trickery (can of worms) that should then be deemed legal if Mercs is to remain so.

          I just think Whiting could not have given Horner et al a resounding set-in-stone NO go away, if the teams are still pursuing this issue with him. I’m sure whatever he tells the teams by China will be the final answer with a much clearer explanation to the teams which they obviously feel has been lacking or else they would have let it go by now and proceeded with their own system.

          There’s a possibility that Horner is saying to Whiting please make sure of your stance on this because we can instill a system that will knock everyone’s socks off if we’re going to go down that road of secondary uses of driver-controlled aero bits. Tell us ahead of time if we should spend the time and money instigating our concept, our answer to Merc, and then don’t complain when you see us improve drastically. Just suggesting that as one possibility.

    24. The FIA will eventually have to ban the Mercedes solution because it will just open a whole new can of worms.

      What if teams started using the movement of the rear wing to make other adjustments the driver would not normally be allowed to make? There are a whole host of such settings and it would just become ridiculous.

      Can you imagine a series of rods or pulleys that change things in the car all operated off the rear wing movement? I bet someone can think of a few useful ones. Just Crazy, but then DRS is just crazy anyway.

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