F1 front runners McLaren and Red Bull could be about to become embroiled in technical arguments surrounding the eligibility of certain aspects of their 2010 car designs – both of which could give them a potential performance advantage.
Red Bull’s chief technical officer Adrian Newey expressed concern about McLaren’s so-called F-duct system, which uses the driver’s left knee to block off the airflow across the rear wing, thus stalling it in order to pick up additional straight line speed. It is the classic dilemma in F1; knowing that you need to adopt – and indeed adapt – a rival’s technical development, while at the same time being worried about either the safety of reglementary aspects of that development. Or perhaps both.
“McLaren’s new (so called) F-duct is intelligent and opens new ways,” Newey told Gazetta dello sport in Malaysia last weekend. “However I am worried about the safety aspect. The system works by stalling the rear wing and getting rid of the load. To force a driver to make a sudden movement to change normal load conditions has to do with safety.”
Despite this, Red Bull knows that it must explore its own F-duct development just as it was obliged to play catch-up on the double diffuser concept initially used only by Brawn, Williams and Toyota in 2009.
Meanwhile, McLaren and a couple of other teams have been worried that Red Bull may be using some sort of ride height control which, in effect, amounts to an illegal active suspension system and there are suggestions that one of RBR’s rivals may try a similar system within the next few races.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner remains adamant that the Malaysian GP winning RB6 is absolutely within the regulations and that he will protest any other team using active suspension in the future.