Technical row over Mercedes' 'F-duct' wing

Red Bull chief Christian Horner Friday said Formula One teams would be forced to copy Mercedes' new rear wing design after it was cleared by officials in the year's first technical controversy.

Updated: March 16, 2012 10:49 IST
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Melbourne: Red Bull chief Christian Horner Friday said Formula One teams would be forced to copy Mercedes' new rear wing design after it was cleared by officials in the year's first technical controversy.

Horner said Mercedes had found a "creative solution" to rules banning so-called F-ducts, which divert air-flow to reduce drag. And he said other teams would have no choice but to follow suit.

"If a team has found a creative solution to circumnavigate a rule, then it is ultimately down to the FIA," Horner said, ahead of Sunday's season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

"Inevitably if a team has found a route around it, then it is a route that other teams will have to follow - and obviously there is cost involved in that."

The innovative rear wing device is part of a design aimed at boosting straight-line speed, especially when the car's Drag Reduction System (DRS) is engaged.

International Motoring Federation (FIA) technical head Charlie Whiting said on Thursday that the ruling body had no problem with the design of the Mercedes rear wing.

Mercedes boss Ross Brown denied the new design was "contentious" and said his team was "completely comfortable" that they were operating within the rules.

"Yes, we have a system and we don't believe there is anything contentious about it," he said.

"But as to whether we are the first, or not the first, to have such a system I don't know. But what the system is, I am not going to explain!"

Brawn added that he would also expect similar designs to appear on rival cars' wings, if other teams believed it would give them an edge.

"We are very comfortable with what we are doing - and everyone is looking to push the boundaries all the time," he said.

"We will see over the next few months how it develops, but if teams feel it is an attractive idea that we have got, then it will proliferate on other cars.

"We don't see it anywhere else, or they've concluded it is not worth having, but I am not going to say what it is."

Brawn also said that, in his view, there is no official definition of an F-duct, "and therefore, it cannot be banned.

He said: "It is not a debate. What is an F-duct? People talk about an F-duct, but I don't actually know what an F-duct is.

"And if you ask the FIA what is an F-duct they don't know. So, what we are doing we are completely comfortable with and we believe the FIA is happy with."

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