Nico Rosberg’s victory in the Chinese GP put a renewed focus on Mercedes GP’s so-called Double DRS system, which gives the W03 an advantage in qualifying.
At the start of the Shanghai weekend the Mercedes system was declared legal by the FIA after Lotus submitted an official protest in order to prompt a formal clarification. The basis of the protest was that driver movement was triggering an aerodynamic effect, which – with the exception of the DRS operation – is not permitted.
In essence the FIA stewards decreed that its operation was a secondary consequence of the DRS wing lap being opened, and accepted the Mercedes argument that it was a way of making the DRS do the job it is intended to do more effectively.
Inevitably rival teams have been looking closely at their own versions of the Mercedes system since it irst became public knowledge during winter testing. Now that it has been declared legal – and ‘Double DRS’ declared legal China underlined its value – they will have to step up a gear to create their own.
As with other recent examples such as the double diffuser or the original F-Duct, teams have to not only find a way to get the system to work on their cars, they also have to manage finite R&D resources. They all have other development programmes underway that might have to be compromised. There is also a question of whether the loophole might be closed for the 2013 season.
McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh told Motor Sport: “You not only have to get the biggest bang for your buck, ie apply it where you get the biggest beneit in terms of lap time, you also have to apply it where you can have the most sustained benefit – where a good idea remains legal for a period of time.”
Meanwhile until someone else gets a system on track, Mercedes will continue to reap the rewards the system provides on the W03.