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McLaren waiting for clarification before pursuing DRS F-duct

ESPNF1 Staff
April 10, 2012 « Renault explains Maldonado's engine failure | Teams happy to race in Bahrain, says Ecclestone »
McLaren has not committed to a Mercedes-style DRS yet © Sutton Images

McLaren is waiting for the FIA to clarify the legality of Mercedes' DRS-activated F-duct before it commits its resources to a similar concept.

This year's Mercedes has a unique system that stalls the front wing through the use of ducts running the length of the car. When the DRS is activated, it exposes openings in the rear wing endplates that channel air onto the front wing in order to reduce drag and boost top speed.

Red Bull and Lotus have asked the FIA for clarity over the use of the system and Christian Horner recently said a final ruling is expected in China. McLaren has been less vocal about the Mercedes system, leading some to speculate that it is working on its own system, but technical director Paddy Lowe said he too was waiting for a ruling from the FIA.

"I think there are a number of points that are being debated behind the scenes," he told the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in. "We don't have a strong view one way or the other. I think at this point what we really need to have is clarity. I would say, actually, it would have been better if we had had clarity before now and we'll see what this event in China brings up in that sense. Until we've got clarity it's difficult for us to commit a huge amount of effort in that direction. So that's really where we're stuck at the moment.

He said the legality depended on how the rules are interpreted and that it did not matter whether it was in the spirit of the regulations or not.

"There's no such thing as the spirit of the rules," Lowe added. "It's a term often used, but the rulebook is a set of texts that have a meaning and you decide what that means and you work to them. There's no headline regulation that says 'And above all else, you've got to maintain the spirit of what was intended.'"

"The system that's being talked about on the Mercedes car - you could get into arguments of whether it is in the spirit of what was intended with DRS. Well, it definitely isn't; DRS was a set of rules created in order to move the rear wing flap and not to do anything else. So the debate around whether or not they can keep that system on the car is not about whether it was in that spirit or not, it's about whether the text that was written in the regulations permits it or not."