Formula 1 News

Lotus protest over Mercedes' rear wing shut down by FIA

The car has been the subject of fierce debate and speculation because of the "F-duct" which rivals say gives the team an unfair disadvantage by boosting straight-line speed.
Thursday, April 12, 2012

SHANGHAI, April 12, 2012 (AFP) - Mercedes will be able to use their controversial "F-duct" rear wing at Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai after a protest from rivals Lotus was dismissed by race stewards.

Lotus are not expected to appeal Thursday's decision, which could mean that other teams may now swiftly push ahead with implementing their own version of the much-discussed Mercedes design.

Lotus had said that the Mercedes car, which had earlier been looked at but cleared to race in Shanghai, just as it had in Australia and Malaysia, contravened a regulation which outlaws driver-operated aerodynamic devices.

However, the stewards unanimously dismissed the protest, ruling that Mercedes' design is not activated by the driver, but as a consequence of the permitted DRS movement.

They conceded that it does appear to alter the aerodynamic characteristics of the car by reducing drag, but declared this to be consistent with the intent of the regulations.

Mercedes' rear wing has caused ongoing fierce debate since the beginning of the season, with rivals saying it gives the team an unfair advantage by boosting straight-line speed.

Red Bull, among others, had also complained about the design, though stopped short of an official protest.

The contentious rear wing has holes in its endplates which are exposed when the DRS is activated.

Airflow entering the holes is channelled through the chassis to the front wing, where it is released to stall the wing, cutting downforce and boosting top speed in much the same way as the DRS itself does for the rear wing.

Despite the supposed advantage, Mercedes have just one point on the board from two races -- courtesy of Michael Schumacher's 10th place in Malaysia.

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