• Australian Grand Prix

Mercedes' Brawn hits back over F-duct controversy

ESPNF1 Staff
March 17, 2012 « McLaren considering Mercedes-style F-duct | Strong winter key to Button success »
Mercedes' DRS-activated F-duct has caused a controversy in the paddock © Sutton Images

Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn has hit back at suggestions his team's new F-duct system is illegal, and said all the media hype around it has distracted attention from some of the exhaust layouts on other cars.

This year's Mercedes features a DRS-activated F-duct that boosts top speed by further reducing drag when the moveable rear wing is open. Lotus and Red Bull believe the new system is illegal and have asked for a clarification from the FIA, with Lotus team principal Eric Boullier refusing to rule out a protest later in the weekend.

But Brawn insists his team has done everything by the book and said a protest should have been lodged before qualifying if Mercedes' rivals had a problem with his car.

"Obviously we kept the FIA informed with what we were doing. They physically checked the system on Wednesday and they were happy with it. Other teams aren't quite so happy and are seeking clarification. Obviously if the FIA are not happy with it we will change our position. If the FIA continue to be happy with it we will continue to use it. We're happy with it.

"There were some stories there were going to be some protests and I think that would be very unfortunate. It's not really the way to resolve these issues - we've never done that. A protest after qualifying or after the race is not very pleasant because of course it can be done on a Thursday or can be done on a Friday when it's less critical and the system can be turned off. Protests after we've been through qualifying are a bit unpleasant and certainly not something we would intentionally do. I hope it doesn't deteriorate to that.

"But it's a new and novel system, we've presented our case and the FIA are comfortable they've given it the green light, but someone might come up with something we haven't thought about and we'll have to reconsider the whole thing. But so far we're happy with what we've got."

Brawn added that some of the exhaust systems on other cars could also be considered illegal under the regulations and that all the talk of Mercedes' F-duct was conveniently distracting attention.

"Formula One is very competitive, the people involved in it are very competitive and it is the nature of the sport," Brawn added. "Every year that I can remember there has been debate and argument. Probably, to be honest, what we have done has taken the focus off the exhaust systems people are running because they are nowhere near what was intended by the FIA.

"The FIA told us that we were not going to have exhaust-blown diffusers anymore and we thought we weren't going to have them, yet several cars have go them. Our rear wing system has probably taken the spotlight off of what is clearly something that wasn't intended. But that's the nature of Formula One. You have to work to the regulations and if somebody can see a clever interpretation then that's the nature of our business."

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