Mercedes duct not easily replicated
In the case of Sauber’s clever exhaust solution, Red Bull simply rolled out a copy in the days before the 2012 season. Writing in O Estado de S.Paulo, Brazilian correspondent Livio Oricchio said the Sauber philosophy makes ingenious use of something called the ‘Coanda effect’. In the wake of the FIA’s strict clampdown on blown exhaust technology for 2012, the C31 uses the Coanda effect – named after Romanian aerodynamics pioneer Henri Coanda – to legally entice the flow of exhaust to the diffuser.
Ferrari is understood to be the next team set to copy Sauber’s idea. Red Bull, Ferrari and Lotus, however, have a vastly different attitude when it comes to Mercedes clever F-duct, which uses the existing DRS rules to redirect air from the rear of the W03 car to the front. The concept not only significantly boosts straight line speed but also improves handling. The FIA’s Charlie Whiting has declared that Sauber and Mercedes are doing nothing wrong. But the three before mentioned teams continue to rail against the F-duct, even leaving open the threat of protest ahead of the Chinese grand prix. Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko explains: "Lotus, who are very responsible, have discovered two ways in which the F-duct is not in accordance with the regulations." So is the difference in attitude when it comes to the Sauber and Mercedes innovations actually about the ease in which they can be copied? Oricchio quotes Red Bull’s Adrian Newey as having said in Malaysia: "In regard to the aerodynamic (F) duct of the Mercedes, and sending the airflow from the back to the front, it is necessary to review the entire project."