Sauber have ruled out running the innovative F-Duct system for tomorrow’s race after testing the new component during yesterday’s free practice session. The McLaren-inspired system has caused some controversy since the Woking squad revealed it in Bahrain two weeks ago, and since it has been clarified as legal by the FIA, it is up to the other teams to decide whether or not the investment of time, energy and money is worth the potential performance gain.
Peter Sauber’s team are the first to copy the idea and implement a version of it on their cars, something which in itself has created a bit of a stir in the media due to Sauber-driver Pedro De La Rosa being a former tester for McLaren. De La Rosa insists that although he knew what McLaren were attempting to do, the Sauber device is entirely their own.
The F-Duct on the C29 is slightly different to that of McLaren’s, with the vent being positioned on the left sidepod rather than the top of the monocoque, primarily because the chassis are now homologated and cannot be changed without serious reason. The air is channeled towards Sauber’s middle element on the rear wing with also differs from the MP4-25, and after testing in Melbourne on Friday, De La Rosa feels the part needs more time to perfect before running in the race.
We are learning with it, and that’s the reason why we took if off for the second session. We are just learning and trying to make it work for the next few races, because in the next races most teams will run it, so the earlier you start the more you learn. It’s not an easy system to make it work properly.
The plan is to get it working in the next few races. We knew in advance that it was going to be very difficult to make it work straight on. Pedro De La Rosa.
De La Rosa revealed that like the McLaren system, the driver has to operate the vent either by the knee or hand, and this redirects air through the car, ejecting it out of the rear and over the wing, helping the spoiler to stall under speed and improve the straight-line speed. Now that Sauber have started to design, test and implement an F-Duct, it is likely other teams will follow.