F1 News, Views and Reviews

Teams Agree F-Duct Ban From 2011

Formula One teams have agreed to a blanket ban on the F-Duct systems which were brought into Formula One by McLaren this season.

Combining an air vent on the front of the car with a long shark-fin style engine cover the system manipulates rear air flow, stalling it and allowing for a greater top speed.  it can provide drivers with 9-10km/h more high end power, which is vital on circuits which long straights.

While McLaren came up with the idea, it has had various attempts of reincarnations of the idea by Sauber, Williams and Ferrari to differing levels of success.  No-one knew how they were activated until Ferrari’s was spotted on an onboard camera this weekend as Fernando Alonso takes his left hand off the steering wheel to block the vent.  Others may be operated by knees and even elbows.

Christian Horner of Red Bull, who do not have an F-Duct system, says safety is being compromised by the systems.  “It is a clever piece of engineering and hats off to the guys who invented it, but some of the solutions this weekend look a bit marginal when you see drivers driving with finger tips and no hands,” he explained. “So I think there is a safety issue and a cost issue to take into account.” he said last night.

Nick Fry of Mercedes Benz who do not have an F-Duct either, but have been running a radical engine cover this weekend which has a central fin and side engine air inlets rather than a traditional roll bar, it itself being called potentially dangerous told the BBC: “The trouble with these devices is that most of the top teams, if not all the teams, will have an F-duct-type device before the end of the year”

“We’ll all have got it so we’ll have neutralised the advantage McLaren have currently got and therefore we’re just spending money on it.”

Sauber are now using a front mounted duct like McLaren


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