F1 News, Views and Reviews

Red Bull Want F-Duct But Hamilton Plays Down Advantage

Red Bull Racing’s highly ratie young driver Sebastian Vettel claims that to maintain their dominance, his team need an f-duct as seen on other top cars including the McLaren’s.

The system which affects the air flow across the car on straights activated by the driver placing his hand over a hole in the car is said to give a 5-10mph advantage.  Red Bull use Renault engines which suffer with a lower top speed already, so any system to provide more speed would be advantageous.

“If you compare to the other teams and compare the sector times where you lose times and so on, it is clear on the sectors where you have more straights that you tend to lose more to a McLaren than another car,” said the German.

“It (the f-duct) is something you have to have, no matter if you have a midfield car or probably one of the best cars. It is worth quite a bit, and is quite a big advantage in terms of lap time. It probably depends on the circuit, but it is up to five tenths (of a second.)

“I think you would need to find a lot of parts that work well to give you half a second advantage for one lap – no matter in which conditions and which state of the car – heavy fuel loads and so on.

“So everyone is under pressure to copy and come up with something similar, which is very difficult because McLaren has been planning this for a long time. And, it is not that easy even if you have it to make it work, to operate with it.”

However McLaren star Lewis Hamilton claims that this weekend in China, the F-Duct is of little advantage.

“The car does feel good, but our pace looks pretty similar to some of the other cars on long runs. Everyone talks about us having a straight-line advantage, but that’s not true – other cars have the same speed as us at the end of the straight.

“We’re a little bit quicker than some teams, but, equally, they’re able to run more downforce. It’s about getting a good balance – and we feel we’ve got that. We’re continuing with the good feeling we felt in Malaysia, but we’ve made some further subtle changes and they were encouraging. I come out of today with a positive feeling – we’ll now keep our heads down and concentrate on gaining a strong qualifying position tomorrow.”

Vettel checks out the McLaren duct following qualifying

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