What clever trick is hiding in Mercedes GP front wing?

Mercedes GP has reportedly recreated an ‘F-duct’ style innovation for its 2012 challenger, which it has already begun testing as recently as the Japanese Grand Prix, according to a report in Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport.

The German-language magazine published drawings of the innovation, which the Brackley-based team was supposedly testing for the first time during free practice at Suzuka’s Japanese Grand Prix.

Unlike the now-banned ‘F-ducts’ of old (a McLaren-pioneered design which channelled air through the engine cover and out via the rear wing to give the cars more straight-line speed), this design is wholly confined to the car’s front wing.

Mercedes GP's F-Duct front wing Air enters through the crudely-named ‘Donkey’s Dick’ air vent at the tip of the nose cone (a feature on many F1 cars to provide ventilation to the driver) before being redirected inside the front wing to exit at the rear of the wing. The channelled air is then directed under the car’s floor to give it more downforce.

The system is completely legal as it is not manually triggered by the drivers, which would make it a moveable aerodynamic device if that were the case.

The design has been kept top-secret until now, and with little time for teams to create their own designs before the 2012 season kicks off in January, no other rival would have this device ready in time for the pre-season, giving Mercedes GP a competitive advantage over its competitors.

[Images via Auto Motor und Sport and Sutton Images]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.

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