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Red Bull seeks clarity on Mercedes rear F-duct device

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(UKPA) Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has called on FIA technical director Charlie Whiting to clear up the confusion surrounding Formula One’s latest trick.

Concern swirled around Melbourne’s Albert Park paddock during this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix over Mercedes’ innovative DRS-activated F-duct device. The rear-wing system apparently does not interfere with the car when the DRS is closed, but once opened it becomes operational, assisting with straight-line speed.

Whiting has already declared the device “completely passive” and therefore legal, but Horner is not so sure, and said: “I think there are different interpretations of the rear wing of Mercedes. There were other teams perhaps more animated than we were, but it is something we just want clarity on because one could argue it is a switch that is affected by the driver.”

As the DRS is legally activated by the driver, it could be argued the supplementary system that only comes into play when the DRS is opened is therefore also driver operated, which is illegal. And Horner would like the matter resolved before this weekend’s second race of the season in Malaysia.

He added: “We had some discussions with Charlie over the weekend and we chose not to protest it.

“The driver hits a button which uncovers this hole, and so it is driver activated, which is not in compliance with the regulations. I think there will be a lot of debate about it during the next five days, so we have requested there be more clarity on it because it is a grey area.

“We need to do this before everybody charges around, committing considerable cost to development. If it is a clever idea and it is accepted then fine, but it does seem to be somewhat grey at the moment.”

However, Horner has also applauded Mercedes’ innovation as Red Bull, via design guru Adrian Newey, have been known to outsmart their rivals with new technology.

“It is a clever system and hats off to them for doing it,” Horner added. “But the most important thing for us is, is it okay? One of the frustrating things with this kind of system is it will undoubtedly be banned for next year.

“But in the meantime, are we all going to go off and chase it following this issue?”


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