No ‘Double DRS’ for McLaren in Belgium – Whitmarsh

2012 Belgian Grand Prix

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Martin Whitmarsh has denied McLaren will introduced a version of Mercedes’ ‘Double DRS’ at this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.

“McLaren will not have a Double DRS in Belgium,” he told a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in, following speculation the team had built such an upgrade for its MP4-27.

Whitmarsh said the team had looked at the concept but focused resources on other areas which they believed would yield greater performance increases.

“There’s no denying the Double DRS is interesting,” Whitmarsh said. “I think other variants of it are starting to be seen on teams who might not all follow the pattern that we saw on Mercedes, which was innovative.”

“But we’re not announcing when, where or if we’re going to introduce it.”

He confirmed the car would have revised wings and other visible changes on its car at Spa.

2012 Belgian Grand Prix

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Image © McLaren/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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27 comments on “No ‘Double DRS’ for McLaren in Belgium – Whitmarsh”

  1. So if they won’t be bringing anything like that to Spa, and unlikely it will be for Monza, I think they probably won’t do it this year, although without a doubt everyone is looking at putting something along those lines in their cars for next year.

    1. I’m pretty sure I heard somewhere that it’s banned for next year. Not sure where though, maybe someone else has a link.

      1. They agreed to ban the DRS device having “secondary functions” like it has with Mercedes’ system. But what the Enstone team is doing is perfectly legal, and it would be pretty hard to even find a wording to ban it if they would want to (no moving parts at all, only air moving around the car bodywork)

      2. DDRS is banned but I don’t think the Lotus innovation fallls under the same regulations as it is entirely independant of the DRS system. It employs a completely passive system that is activated by a fluidic switch which responds to a specific air pressure. This air pressure is generated by air being forced into the airbox ears at certain speeds. The purpose of the system is to stall the main plane of the rear wing at high speed. This allows the team to use higher AOA for more downforce yet lose all the downforce/drag above a certain speed. Better slow speed grip, higher top speed. Happy days!!

        1. From what I understood watching yesterday’s The Flying Lap @coefficient, Scarbs indicated it might not even be a real switching, just a gradual effect that only starts to become noticeable at high speeds – that way the car remains more predictable. I guess they tune it to a high enough speed to avoid the highest speed turns at a track (or on the calender, alternatively).

          I have to say that I would have been really surprised if McLaren suddenly put such a system on the car without earlier track time after having been so fast in Hungary. Had their July update not worked, it might have been a different matter, but now it would be odd to risk upsetting the balance again (especially with Button finding his pace again too).

          If Ferrari bring something like it I would be less surprised, as they know they need to find some speed, and they might well want to be sure to have a good change at Monza. But even there, they are probably better off using the time and effort to work on the car as a whole, which has an effect even after the next two races.

          1. Mclaren usually seem very confident in their CFD/wind tunnel modelling results so tend to slap updates on being confident they will work. The Passive Duct system is a bolt on/off part so if they didn’t like it out of the box they could rapidly revert to what they know.

  2. The Mclaren is pretty slippery already, they’d be better served figuring out how to get more mileage out of the tyres. Hamilton was saved by the Hungaroring layout last race. If the Macca tyres go off a handful of laps before the end of the race they will be passed at Spa and Monza.

  3. Yeah so far I’m sure Merc has not done enough to impress with their F-duct such that teams should copy it. They certainly can’t be as worried about Merc having it as they were at the start of the year when it looked like it was going to be more of an ace up their sleeve than it has turned out to be. So it should be interesting to see what Lotus’s take on DDRS does. And I can understand other teams exploring versions of it, but I’m not sure they need to copy Merc’s.

    The Merc system doesn’t add anything when not in use, but it does take air away from the front wing when used, which decreases downforce and therefore adds speed to the car. I’d be looking for a way to have a little opening on the insides of the rear wing endplates that is ‘open’ when the DRS wing is closed, and have that air funneled to add downforce somewhere (example: funneling/sealing air around the diffuser through Merc-like passive tubes) which would be for the majority of the time, and then when DRS is activated the opening closes and the diffuser ‘suction’ is released lightening up the back end when extra speed is needed on the DRS zone straights.

    1. I think teams are more worried about the system that is on the Lotus @robbie, they have had really good pace lately, but lack some on Saturday. If this system helps them to the front of the grid (or makes overtaking easier in the race), they are a force to be reckoned with for the coming races.

    2. I’d be looking for a way to have a little opening on the insides of the rear wing endplates that is ‘open’ when the DRS wing is closed,

      @robbie I’m sure they would have thought about it, but having a little permanent opening is a direct violation of the FIA rule book isn’t.. For example, Lotus wasn’t happy when they noticed the slot in the Mercedes which prompted them to protest right away ; Mercedes was able to convince the slot gets exposed only when the DRS wing is open (and thus it was passive)

      1. You could very well be right…I don’t know. I thought passive meant that it was ‘just’ air going through tubes and that no other body part was being moved with the opening of the DRS…just air is being moved that is either literally blowing over something or at least changing the air pressure (in Merc’s case, over/under/around the front wing to stall it out).

        Based on your wording “but having a little permanent opening is a direct violation of the FIA rule book” could one not argue that Merc’s opening is permanently there too? Just because it is usually covered up in their case, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

        1. @icemangrins…interestingly, now that I read it a little closer, coefficient is suggesting Lotus’s system is not even hooked up to the DRS, so does that not mean that other openings can be introduced on the cars in areas other than the rear wing endplates that are permanent and triggered by other means, like high enough speeds, to open them?

  4. Too much fuss about this Double DRS or passive F-duct. Just like the DDRS of Mercedes in the opening stages of this championship. I think it would not give an extra advantage as claimed, but would be pretty pleased if it indeed does work as supposed to.

  5. The way I read this was “we do not have a DDRS for Spa… and if we did we wouldnt tell you”

    So his quotes are pretty much useless. I think the odds of them having it, are the same as them not having it. MW just won’t announce the fact it is on the car (if it is at all)

    1. Maybe they have it as a Monza-special then, just like they had the non-F-duct version ready in 2010. Or they’re looking into adding it to the 2013 car.

    2. “McLaren will not have a Double DRS in Belgium,” he told a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in

      seems pretty definitive to me

      1. “But we’re not announcing when, where or if we’re going to introduce it.”

        This is just as definitive. The point is it’s a contradiction. If they have one, they won’t tell us. So to me whatever he says on the matter, we’ll be in the dark unless pictures show one. I wouldn’t be surprised if they have one this weekend.

  6. Doesn’t surprise me. I remember McLaren saying that they just weren’t that bothered about it. Of course they could be calling everyones bluff but so far on in the season with little time to rest until the end of it it just doesn’t seem worth the bother. I don’t think they need fear DDRS from Ferrari or RBR in the immediate future and for all it’s benefits, Mercedes have hardly been a shining example of competitiveness with it. Let’s see what the E20 can do with it, keeping in mind that they and McLaren are pretty much neck and neck in the constructors…

    1. Lotus and Mercedes devices are completely different. Lotus device isn’t a DDRS at all as it is not connected in any way to the DRS.

    2. Neck in neck in the constructors. In pace the lotus is way faster than the mclaren in race pace. Hamilton was lucky thatv the track did not allow people to pass . Also it is quite interesting/estrange to see that Ferrari hasn’t said anything about their upgrades for this race. Alonso in the last race said that the car he was driving is basically the same car he drove in Barcelona, the Ferrari team has used lots of Friday and Saturday to test new parts and then take those parts back to maranello where they have improved and worked on those even more in order to improve them. So by that the Ferrari team should have a really big upgrade and step toward for the next races but it is quite odd that they haven’t said anything about it. Also red bull is being oddly quite about their upgrades. Also by that. And since mclaren had a big upgrade in the last race I expect them not being able to come up with any significant upgrades probably until the last few races of the season. So it is quite strange how long it is taking teams to come up with significant upgrades. It is as if finding those extra tenths of performance is quite difficult if not impossible and that the cars has gotten to their maximum level of development due to the new regulations and the bans on certain areas.

  7. Is the Lotus system (which can’t be switched off) going to give them problems with lack of downforce through Eau Rouge ?

  8. In my opinion Spa is not a place you want to test or introduce new parts of the car. Monza could do the work much better.

    1. They did test their new device at Hockenheimring and Hungaroring.

      Besides, this new device would be very useful at giving them a top speed advantage. Especially on a high speed circuit like Spa. Would be interesting to see how it fares…

  9. AUTOSPORT: “McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh suggested earlier on Thursday Button might have to support Hamilton later in the season, but the Australian Grand Prix winner hit back at suggestions that he should already be playing a back-up role.”

    Well it seems McLaren think Hamilton has good chances to win championship. Good news for Hamilton supporters. On the other hand, the famous “No team orders” is no longer part of McLaren policies.

    1. Ah but here’s the thing though…

      Haven’t we all understood all along that when one driver is mathematically out of the equation in terms of winning the WDC that the onus is on that driver to not necessarily help, but at least to not hinder his teammate? Isn’t that where the team part of it comes into play? I am talking about at a time late in the season and when the math just does not favour the one teammate for whom it hasn’t worked out, such that a team order is not even necessary. It simply goes without saying that the one teammate who has no WDC chance would only be a fool to in any way inhibit his teammate who does have a WDC shot. He’d be hurting the team and it’s sponsors.

      So that is what I envision at Mac. Ask yourself if both drivers had an equal opportunity at the start of the year. In fact JB won the first race. But he hasn’t backed that up since, and LH sits with the much better chance points wise.

      Perhaps it is a bit early for JB to support LH. Perhaps JB will win the next two races and LH will dnf and suddenly JB’s chances might look more equal to LH. But I think the odds are that won’t happen.

      I think if not now, at least in the next few races such that we will then have a third of the season remaining, it will be the prudent thing for JB to if not literally help LH, at least not hinder him. And that will only make mathematical, financial, and team sense.

      The type of team order you are trying to imply here is the one where one driver never has an equal chance from race one, by contract, like MS/Ferrari. Or some would say even at halfway through 2010 when FM had to give it up for FA. That team order was not well received either. Think Austria 02 when RB pulled over for MS with metres to go and made F1 look like a farce.

      None of that is what is happening at Mac. JB had his chance fair and square and has been outperformed by LH. As long as that remains the case for the next 2 or 3 races then the only option for the team, and JB will know it without it being said, is for him to accept that it just didn’t work out for him this year and he must think of others and the team and it’s sponsors.

      If you want to call that a lifting of the no team orders policy at Mac, I disagree. To me it is the way F1 should work, and often does. And to me it’s more a team decision, or as I say, something that requires no ‘order’. It simply goes without saying, when one driver is way too far removed from any chance of winning the WDC while the other driver has a legitimate shot.

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