Sauber's interpretation of the F-duct system
The Formula 1 teams have agreed to ban the F-duct devices on the F1 cars for 2011, despite pleas for McLaren to keep the innovation.
McLaren had taken the lead in the development of the F-duct early on, when they had their system ready by the season opener in Bahrain. All of the other teams have since been trying to catch up on McLaren’s advantage, by creating their own F-duct systems. However, since the teams’ chassis are homologated for this season, many teams complained that they were struggling to make their own devices.
Since Bahrain, Sauber, Ferrari, Mercedes and Williams have all managed to run blown rear wings, but the rest of the teams were concerned that these devices could go out of control next season, on cost and safety grounds. Therefore, at the FOTA meeting at Barcelona after the race today, a decicion mas made to ban the F-duct for 2011, despite McLaren trying to convince the team principals to keep it.
The CEO of Mercedes GP, Nick Fry, explained that the F-duct system was both dangerous and brought little to the sport:
"I personally think that it is sensible to nip in the bud
technologies that, on the face of it, don't really have a relevance
for use outside of F1.
By the end of the year I know we, and I am sure most of the other
teams, will have an F-Duct on their car and that neutralises the
advantage of having it.
The engineers have already come up with ideas for next year that are
zany in the extreme, and it is difficult to see how they would be
used elsewhere. Plus they would be expensive.
I know it is disappointing for those who invent these ideas, but I
think what people have to get used to is, like the double diffuser
idea, they may be fairly short lived.
You get your pay back for the year when you have got it and other
people haven't - and if it isn't a useful technology then it comes
What we should be encouraging is stuff that we can be using
elsewhere, and I am personally a big proponent of KERS because
A very good move by FOTA here, in my opinion. If you were watching the BBC analyse qualifying and the race this weekend, you would have seen footage of Fernando Alonso driving dangerously, with both hands off the wheel at some points. His left hand was operating the F-duct, while the right hand was changing the brake bias, and looking down at the same time. I know that driving an F1 car is supposed to be an extreme challenge, but this is just stupid.
Anyways, it does bring very little to the sport, whatever way you look at it. The double-decker diffuser was banned (2011 onwards) on the same basis. Technical innovation, in modern F1, should be intended for environmental, high performance or “improving the show” (sorry) purposes. The only one of these the F-duct gets close to is performance, but since it really is an unecessary device, there’s no reason for it to be in Formula 1.