The rush for the silver bullet of aero is on. McLaren introduced a new theory in rear-wing aero when the showed up for the 2010 season with what has been called the “F-Duct”. Simply put, the driver manipulates a device that releases air, sourced at the front of the car, onto the rear wing which stalls the performance of the wing and reduces drag on long straights.
Reduced drag equals greater speed but when the tight and medium corners demand more aerodynamic negative lift, the device is switched off and this reintroduces the rear wing to its main job–creating downforce. This has resulted in a boost in top line speed for the McLaren. A boost the other teams are seeking to find.
AUTOSPORT’s Mr. Noble says that Ferrari are working away on their F-Duct system and should be running it in China. Along with Sauber and other teams intent on exploiting the technology as well, Ferrari are sure this will help but driver Fernando Alonso says it isn’t their first priority:
“I know that we keep developing the car, but it’s not maybe the first priority for us, that system. We keep working on our philosophies. There is an important step here to improve the car, and I know that there is more coming in the next races. I’m not specifically worried only about that system.”
This brings to mind that while Alonso and Ferrari are quick to discount any concerns over their engine reliability, what exactly is their first priority? I suspect the clutch issue Alonso faced in Malaysia and the engine change in Bahrain may actually be a bigger concern than the F-duct and one also could consider the recent moving suspension system allegations leveled at Red Bull had the Scuderia seeking serious options.