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McLaren considering Mercedes-style F-duct

ESPNF1 Staff
March 17, 2012 « Mercedes 'a bit disappointed' with qualifying | Mercedes' Brawn hits back over F-duct controversy »
McLaren took pole position in Australia despite not having a version of the F-duct to boost qualifying performance © Sutton Images

McLaren is likely to introduce its own version of Mercedes' new DRS-operated F-duct, which has caught the attention of several teams in the paddock this weekend.

The controversial new device is activated when the moveable rear wing is open, further reducing drag and increasing top speed. Lotus and Red Bull believe the device is illegal and asked the FIA to clarify the rules regarding F-ducts on Saturday. Lotus has threatened to protest this weekend's results, but Martin Whitmarsh, whose McLaren cars are not running the system, says he believes the system is legal.

"There is an exception for DRS mechanisms and I think it's part of that," he said on Saturday night. "I think they've used that exception be able to operate an F-duct type device. Looking at the regs that is what I think, but I'm sure others will take a deeper look than I have."

He said his team is looking into introducing its own version if it can get it to work with the existing package on the MP4-27.

"With regards to the DRS activated F-duct controversy, we are looking at some of those ideas," he said. "I think there are some interesting things and one would imagine they would feature on cars as the year progresses."

He added: "I think we've got a reasonable understanding of the system. The packaging of an F1 car is pretty tight when squeezing ducts and things through, but I think our engineers are usually pretty good at doing those sorts of things. What we've got to make sure though, is when trying to achieve the F-duct, we don't compromise the fundamental underlying performance of those aerodynamic parts. But I think it is not too challenging a job to introduce all the various ducting if indeed you can find a solution that's going to give you - both deployed and undeployed - a better solution."