BMW Sauber have been the first team to react to McLaren’s controversial F-Duct, running their own version in Free Practice One at Melbourne.
The device, which stalls the rear wing, therefore creating less drag and a higher top speed, was first run by McLaren in winter testing.
It is said to give up to an extra 10km/h in the straights, leading to many rivals criticising the system, one of which was Renault’s managing director Bob Bell.
“I totally disagree with the FIA’s view on it. It’s fundamentally clear in all the discussions that have taken place over many years that the sport did not want stallable rear wings, whether it was through physical deflection or any other mechanism.” he told the BBC.
“And the fact that somebody has turned up and just driven a cart horse through the spirit of the regulations, the intent of the regulations, and everybody’s understanding, to me is just a complete joke.”
However, the FIA declared the system legal in Bahrain, which has led to all the remaining teams racing to find a similar solution. It may take some time for the other teams to fully perfect their f-ducts though as McLaren reportedly spent between 18 months and two years developing their system.
Sauber’s solution sees the air intake vent on the sidepod, as opposed to the monocoque, where it is located on the McLaren. This has led to speculation about how the vent is controlled, as it is out of reach of the driver.
Unfortunately we were unable to see if the system had any positive effect as both Sauber’s finished the session prematurely. Kamui Kobayashi lost two front wings and ended up in a gravel trap causing two red flags, while Pedro de la Rosa stopped out on track due to technical issues.
Renault’s Robert Kubica topped the time sheets with a time of 1:26.927, two tenths ahead of Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes.