Formula 1 teams have rushed into creating their own versions of McLaren’s controversial ‘F-duct’ system after it secured FIA approval.
The duct – located on the chassis above the driver’s legs – channels air through the cockpit, the engine cover and the shark fin before it finally emerges out of a slot in the rear wing.
The aim is to stall the wing on the straights, which reduces drag and improves top speed for a given level of downforce. The system is believed to be switched on and off by the driver using his knee.
After seeing the duct in testing and deducing how it worked the other teams complained, but by accepting the device in Bahrain the FIA sanctioned its use and effectively confirmed that it contravenes no rules.
“I’ve not heard an argument against it,” McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh told Motor Sport. “People saying we’re not happy that someone’s got it is not good enough, really.”
One problem the other teams now face is that in theory they cannot drill new vent holes in the monocoques, which are homologated by the FIA. However they can use existing holes that are covered by access hatches.
“I believe it’s something that we’ll all end up having on our cars,” said Mercedes CEO Nick Fry. “Obviously we’re surmising how we think it’s done and if we’re correct it’s something we can have on our car relatively quickly, and I think others will probably be in a similar position.”