The controversial “F-duct” introduced by McLaren at the start of this season and recently copied by Ferrari and Sauber is apparently not here to stay. The BBC reports that the Formula One Team’s Association (FOTA) has voted to ban the device for the 2011 season. However, the move will not have an impact on the use of the device this season.
The F-duct can provide an increase to cars in high-speed areas like straights by funneling air through a hole in the bodywork and back to the rear wing. This increases the amount of air flow onto the wing and effectively “stalls” the downforce, creating higher speeds.
The device can be turned on or off by the driver through various means – Ferrari uses a switch on the steering wheel while McLaren uses a system that requires the driver to use his knee to trigger the F-duct. The fact that this forces the driver to do other things beyond driving the car created a safety issue that had other teams concerned.
“It’s a clever piece of engineering and hats off to the guys who invented it, but some of the solutions this weekend look a little bit marginal when you see drivers driving with no hands basically. So I think there is a safety issue and a cost issue to take into account,” said Red Bull team chief Christian Horner.
However, Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso dismissed concerns that the device was inherently dangerous.
“I always have hands on the wheel,” he said. “All the drivers operate the brake balance these days, and the button for changing the front wing and there are other buttons as well. I think there is nothing wrong with that.”
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