Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Melbourne, 2012

Third protest against Mercedes wing fails

F1 Fanatic round-up

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Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Melbourne, 2012In the round-up: The stewards once again rule Mercedes’ front wing F-duct is legal.

Meanwhile the teams are set to meet Bernie Ecclestone to discuss whether next week’s Bahrain Grand Prix will go ahead.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Rivals forced to accept Mercedes wing is legal after FIA dismisses Lotus protest (Adam Cooper)

“One of the principal arguments of the FIA was that ‘There are many different parts of bodywork fitted to cars from a variety of teams, which have been designed specifically to take advantage of the change in airflow caused by the activation of the DRS.'”

Bernie Ecclestone will meet F1 teams to discuss Bahrain GP (BBC)

“F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone will meet the sport’s 12 teams in Shanghai on Friday to discuss whether the controversial Bahrain Grand Prix should go ahead.”

Webber speaks up where others stay silent (Reuters)

“I have tried to watch the news to get the most balanced view that I can possibly get without getting too corrupted by false information. I want to race. That is what I would like to go there and do. But saying that you cannot ignore the fact that all of us, in the backs of our minds, want it to go down smoothly and don’t want it to be involved in the unrest.”

Sebastian Vettel: Bahrain is not our business ?ǣ video (The Guardian)

“The latest comment was that we are going to Bahrain to race. If that’s still the call then I think it’s safe enough to go and we should go there and race and not worry about something that is not our business.”

Rudderless FIA leaves Formula One in difficult predicament over Bahrain (Daily Mail)

“If anyone should be held accountable, it is the seemingly rudderless FIA. Their president, Todt, is set to hold talks with the teams in Shanghai this weekend. But this matter really should have been solved long before round three of the championship.”

Hunger-striking Bahraini dissident Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja near death; Formula One president still plans to run races in Bahrain (Boing Boing)

“Ecclestone is the perfect picture of denial and callousness, as he blithely asserts that Bahrain is a perfectly nice place where protest is tolerated.”

BBC Radio 5 Live Drive, 11/4/12

I was on BBC Radio 5 Live Drive on Wednesday evening, discussing the Bahrain Grand Prix with Jackie Stewart. You can listen to the interview here. The link expires within a week of broadcast. It should take you directly to the relevant part – if it doesn’t, skip to 2:22.18.

Massa relaxed amid speculation (Autosport)

“We are definitely starting a better season compared to the first two races. It’s not the first time that this [a bad start] has happened to me. We just need to work and have the best weekend to get out of the car happy.”

Chinese GP – Conference 1 (FIA)

“I expect more or less the positions to maintain, or to keep the same as the first two races, which means a difficult to weekend for us. Struggling to be in Q3, I guess, in qualifying and then in the race to score as many points as possible as we did in the first races ?ǣ trying to do a good strategy, a good management of the tyres and a little bit of luck.”

China preview – who can spring a Shanghai surprise? (F1)

“For the moment we have a car that is only able to fight at the top rather than for wins, but that is only a question of time.”

Austin circuit officials celebrate construction milestone (Austin-American Statesman)

“Crews have installed of the highest support beams in the highest part of the pit building, which will house team garages, hospitality and seating for up to 5,000 people, circuit officials have said.”

Listing process begins for Formula 1 (The Independent)

“CVC Capital Partners has set a Friday deadline for banks hoping to play a role in Formula 1’s flotation in Singapore, in a sign that the process for the expected $1.5bn (??940m) initial public offering is formally under way, with plans for a July listing.”

Comment of the day

Tango has a way for Bruno Senna to get the track time he deserves at Williams:

Bruno should marry a Williams shareholder

From the forum

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On this day in F1

An unwell Jacques Villeneuve withstood fierce pressure from Eddie Irvine to win the Argentinean Grand Prix 15 years ago today.

Ralf Schumacher completed the podium for Jordan – after colliding with team mate Giancarlo Fisichella.

Damon Hill and Jean Alesi also tangled suring the race:

Image ?? Daimler/Hoch Zwei

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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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  • 63 comments on “Third protest against Mercedes wing fails”

    1. The stewards once again rule Mercedes’ front wing F-duct is legal.


      Now, if any of the other team principals complains about it, I’m going to fly out to China and punch him in the feet.

      1. Aim about 80cm up and you’ll be golden :)

        1. @julian I think a kick would be more painful in that region.

      2. If it turns out to be Red Bull you’ll need quick hands!

        1. That just made my dinner-hour.

    2. Boo! They should have banned it in my opinion, after banning the Lotus-Renault suspension they have to since the wing stall device also alters aero?

      I would have preferred to see both legal, but if the first was illegal, consistency please.

      1. @calum – The difference between the front wing F-duct and the reactive ride height is that the FWFD did not use any additional moving parts. Yes, it dependned upon the opening and closing of the DRS flap, but that flap is legal under the rules. The RRH, on the other hand, used hydraulic cylinders located in the suspension assembly to change the ride height of the car. It did not use any existing parts to achieve its effect; instead, it added new moving parts, which Mercedes did not.

        There’s your consistency in the rules.

        1. Off throttle blowing didn’t include additional moving parts though and it was banned under the argument that it was a moveable aerodynamic device. There went your consistency…

          1. I’ll give it a shot…

            FIA ban what they don’t like and keep what they do.
            There’s your consistency

          2. @us_peter – Off-throttle blown diffusers were banned because it was deicded that that it used existing moving parts to create an aerodynamic effect that it would not normally create.

            1. @prisoner-monkeys

              Off-throttle blown diffusersMercedes’ frong wing F-duct was banned because it was deicded that that it used existing moving parts to create an aerodynamic effect that it would not normally create.

            2. @mads – But the parts that create the front wing effect don’t actually move. The front wing effect is made up of a channel that runs through the car. The effect is only incidental when the rear wing is opened. It’s an entirely passive system, because the effect only comes as a byproduct of some other function of the car. The function of the DRS flap remains intact; it doesn’t do anything differently to what it would normally do in order to generate the FWFD effect.

              Off-throttle blown diffusers, on the other hand, were an active system. They used moving parts whose function was altered to generate an additional level of downforce. The engine would not normally create the extra exhaust gasses under braking, but by changing the engine maps, the teams were able to alter the fucntioning of the engine to create downforce.

              In short, Mercedes’ system is legal because there is no part of the car whose behavior is changed in order to create the effect.

    3. Also, what is the car with the novelty wing mirrors 1 minute into that video!!! It’s unique anyway! :D

      1. Answer my own question: Tyrell 025, and they aren’t wing mirrors, it’s aero wings.

        1. @calum check out these two aswell, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssWV53ORtP4
          Banned almost instantly on sight for ridiculousness lol

          1. “Innovative downforce aids”?

            The reeked of desperation to me.

    4. I think there’s a major typo in every article I’ve read about that Mercedes ruling today! They keep saying “Lotus” when surely they mean “Red Bull,” the only team that was ever behind this dastardly “clarification” scheme. Man, there must be a lot of errata in the works…

      1. @aka_robyn Yeah, I’m also seeing a lot of people saying it’s Bernie supporting the Bahrain Grand Prix when clearly it’s Christian Horner. It was also Christian that made the comment about Susie Wolff.

        1. @damonsmedley I think it’s hard for some people to comprehend just how busy Christian Horner really is!

          1. @damonsmedley @aka_robyn don’t you know he is omnipresent? He’s even watching you now!

    5. Wasn’t actually the first protest and first formal ruling on Mercedes’ FWFD? Previously teams had only approached Charlie Whiting with questions about the legality, which he had stated was no in question. Hopefully a ruling by the stewards will settle this for good and we can move on. That said, I don’t understand how the FIA could consider off throttle exhaust blowing a moveable aerodynamic device, but not this contraption. Fickle would be an understatement.

      1. That said, I don’t understand how the FIA could consider off throttle exhaust blowing a moveable aerodynamic device, but not this contraption.

        FWFD creates an additional aerodynamic effect using an existing aerodynamic aid.

        OTBD created an additional aerodynamic effect using parts of the car that did not otherwise generate an aerodynamic effect.

        You also have to consider the future of the regulations here. There is probably not a whole lot more that can be done with the front wing F-duct. Teams might be able to find more-efficient solutions to the problem, but there is a point of saturation where any more benefit gained by the system is going to be too expensive to justify. But this was not the case with off-throttle blown diffusers. There was a whole lot of leeway for the teams to manipulate, and based on the FIA’s assessment of the situation, the teams were running some extreme engine maps in qualifying before turning the down for the race – harkening back to the days when teams used to bring one highly-tuned engine for qualifying before swapping it out for a conventional one in the race. It was pushing the sport in a direction that the FIA did not want it to go in, and it was hardly as benign as the FWFD concept.

        1. Perfect answer @prisoner-monkeys. I don’t understand how the FDFW could be deemed a moveable aerodynamic device or how it could be illegal. The duct is a completely static passive element

          1. @3dom – The cynic in me still believes that this was an attempt by Lotus to get the FIA to reveal precise details of the system and how it works, so that even if the protest was rejected, the other teams would still get information that would be useful for building their own device.

            Unfortauntely, far too much of Formula 1 these days is a case of “We didn’t think of it, so we want to see it banned”.

            1. I’m sure you’re right about the attempt to reveal precise details. thankfully, it failed:
              “Mr Brawn, for the Respondent Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team, provided the Stewards with a detailed paper outlining its response (Exhibit A). This paper contains certain confidential Intellectual Property and could not be provided to Lotus however Mr Brawn presented the key points of his response verbally…”

            2. @prisoner-monkeys Everyone seems to think they have a “basic” idea of how it works, but I wonder what the complexities are that would necessitate other teams to want a detailed outline of how it works

            3. @3dom – I’d say a lot of that would come down the the design of the front wing. We believe the system works by creating a vaccuum under the front wing, but because the front wing design is so very complex (and different between the teams), then the most efficient solution would be different for every team. But by forcing Mercedes to reveal details of their system and how it works, the other teams would have a baseline to see how Mercedes manage to generate the vaccuum effect, and so they will have a starting point from which to work from.

            4. This explains partly why Mercedes are so good in qualifying. In qualifying you can use the DRS whenever you like. Not so in the race.

            5. Exactly. Although, as Red Bull realised last year, a strong qualifying car goes a long way. We haven’t really seen the potential of the Mercedes cars, because for one they’ve had issues with their tyres, but more importantly, they haven’t had a clean race. They were in a really good position in Malaysia before Romain Grosjean pushed Schumacher into a spin.

            6. I think that many other teams could have and would have done the F-duct thing had they thought it was going to be legal, and given that we have even been shown links on this blog to pretty detailed graphics as to how it works, and even if those graphics aren’t exactly right in terms of Merc’s system, I’m sure the teams have a good enough idea that they could duplicate it. ie. I don’t think this was all a ploy to try to get the FIA to reveal Merc’s ‘secret.’

              I think the the team’s had a genuine debatable issue with secondary useages of an aero device controlled by the driver, and I think that now that they have the clarity on it, which I predict will no longer be protested by any teams, I think we will see some very interesting things going forward.

              I predict Red Bull will create a system that will help them gain back some lost downforce at the rear diffuser which will benefit them for the majority of all laps of all 3 days of race weekends, as opposed to Mercs system that doesn’t gain them anything but instead ‘only’ further reduces drag moreso than the other teams when DRS is activated.

              Not being an engineer myself, but going by what Allison has said, I think the floodgates have now been opened up as to the many things that can be harnessed to the DRS now. And because I can envision that getting very complex and convoluted, I predict the harnessing of the DRS for secondary purposes will be banned for next year.

            7. I don’t see how it can be banned for next year. If you have two cars that are different aerodynamically in any way they are going to be affected differently by the same bog standard DRS. It’s impossible to mandate that each car must react the same way to the rear wing opening.

    6. I find Mark Webber’s honesty and frankness of how he feels about things very admirable. Great to have him in F1.

        1. If I recall correctly, he was the only one to say anything last year, too. I can’t believe some of the drivers appear to think it has nothing to do with them.

          1. He was the only one who said anything last year. He seems like a great chap.

        2. To be honest, I think it’s often just PR. In this case, Webber has just stated the obvious. For sure, drivers want to race and, for sure, they don’t want to be pawns in dirty political games. Other than that, the situation in Bahrain really has nothing to do with them.

    7. I didn’t realise @prisoner-monkeys was Sir Jackie (maybe he just writes his notes?). I do agree with him on some points, it’s better for the opposition to sit down with the government rather than wave a placard around and get shot at, but that’s rather difficult when most of the political leaders have been imprisoned and allegedly tortured.

      Bahrain is one of the more progressive countries in the area, that’s obvious just from watching the protester’s videos, and they certainly dont lack financially, which makes me wonder what the grand scheme is for the protesters, and why they’re still putting their lives on the line.

      1. A gilded cage is still a cage. If you feel like you aren’t free then rebellion is an obvious consequence.

    8. Mclaren noticeably quiet on Bahrain.

      Not much Mclaren can do I suppose except do what they are told by the bahraini owners.

      Not much comment from anyone either about Mclaren and their Bahrain royal ownership.

      1. @bearforce1 – There hasn’t been much quote from anyone about anything related to Bahrain. The occasional driver has offered an opinion when asked, but none of the teams have said anything outside statements issued by FOTA. So your comments that imply McLaren have said nothing when everyone else has weighed in are misleading.

        Besides, what does it matter if McLaren is partially owned by the Bahrainis? There is no proof that the Bahrainis could force McLaren to visit their country, much less that they are forcing them to come. They do not, after all, own a controlling interest in the team. They own just 40% of McLaren, when they need 51% to be able to influence McLaren enough to compel them to visit Bahrain.

        1. No you have missed my point. I am talking about the protesters raging abut the race in Bahrain yet completely ignoring the irony that is Mclaren being owned by the very same evil regime lol.

          People are selective about how far they will put themselves out for a cause. In this case it appears to me that F1 fanatics will happily cheer and sing songs, post on blogs to ban the bahrain race yet wouldn’t inconvenience themselves to no longer support Mclaren any more. I would be embarrassed to support Mclaren and then cry about the bahrain race completely self centred hypocritical almost funny in a sad way.

          No one even responds to my posts about this cause its the inconvenient truth.

          The money funding mclaren is from Bahrain.

    9. Hardly surprising that the drivers do not wish to comment negatively on the Bahrain situation when Bahrain has a controlling interest in what will one day be the most successful team in F1. and is currently the team most likely to win both the drivers and constuctors titles.

      1. HRT are backed by Bahrain!?….wow…..well, you learn somthing new every day….

        1. HaHa, yes technically both Ferrari and Williams are the most successful teams currently racing but McLaren look to be the superior team going forward. HRT, place them in the losers never to be heard of again basket, like, say Stewart racing.

          1. Yes, Stewart racing. Now of course known as Red Bull Racing. lol

          2. @hohum Stewart Racing were winners! You’ll never take that European GP victory away from them! ;)

            1. @Calum, silly me I forgot that one when I laid the trail for people like @Ady to follow.

      2. @hohum

        Bahrain has a controlling interest in what will one day be the most successful team in F1

        No, they don’t. The Bahrainis control 40% of McLaren. They need 51% to hold a controlling stake.

        1. Technicalities PM, If you think 40% doesn’t gives you control or at least a veto power you must be dreaming. Who, by the way, owns more than 40% of McLaren?

          1. @hohum

            If you think 40% doesn’t gives you control or at least a veto power you must be dreaming.

            I don’t think it. I know it. I might be an English teacher, but I’m also qualified to teach business and business ownership is one of the most basic elements of the HSC Preliminary course, so I know what I’m talking about. A 40% stake gives the Bahranis influence. It does not give them control. It certainly does not give them the abilitiy to control the team, since they own 40% of McLaren’s parent company, the McLaren Group.

            Who, by the way, owns more than 40% of McLaren?

            Nobody, as far as I know, but that means that the Bahrainis still need the support of someone who controls at least 11% of the company in order to set policy.

            1. @prison-monkeys, no it is not the Bahrainis that need support from other shareholders it is the minor shareholders who all need to support each other or the Bahrainis will have control. Also check Diogenes note below

          2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McLaren_Group#Ownership

            The McLaren Group brought back Daimler’s shareholding over a gradual process of two years, before buying back the last shares at the end of 2011. The shares were divided between the other shareholders, with the Mumtalakat Holding Company currently holding 50%, and Ron Dennis and the TAG Group holding 25% each.

            1. @Diogenes, I believe TAG group are also owned by ARAB investment money.

    10. What is Sebastian Vettel on about? How is it not his business? Seems it’s not just qualifying where Mark’s more switched on this season!

    11. Three protests are not enough, I really hope we hear at least 5 more complaints about the Mercedes wing, it simply HAS TO be at least a little bit illegal.

    12. It would now be good to see Mercedes go and use the FWFD to their advantage in qualifying, seen as they haven’t managed to properly execute it yet. Longest straight in F1, surely that’s going to help, provided they get on top of the tyres.

    13. Thanks for the CoD Keith. Always a great way to start a day! Well now that it has been two, maybe I can try and get one for an informativ / constructiv opinion :D. I really just couldn’t resist.

    14. Interesting to see the different stances taken by the two Red Bull drivers over Bahrain. Webber seems genuinely concerned whereas Vettel doesn’t seem to care. Speaks volumes about the pair of them. Perhaps if Vettel is affected by demonstrations whilst out there, he might change his tune…

      1. @mclarenfanjamm – Vettel did say that he would want to race, but only if it was safe. That seems pretty reasonable to me.

    15. Devil's Trill
      13th April 2012, 10:41

      I’m sorry, but did Jackie Stewart really lump South Korea and Turkey in with Bahrain? He’s not doing well: I didn’t hear any improvement on his embarrassing interview with Radio 4’s PM on the same issue last year. He just comes off as hopelessly naive.

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