Mercedes' controversial rear wing has finally triggered an official protest from the Lotus F1 team, despite being declared legal by the FIA

Apparently being told by the FIA on at least two separate occasions that Mercedes’ innovative DRS-operated F-duct is legal is not enough for the Lotus F1 team, which has finally put its money where its mouth is and lodged a formal protest with the FIA.

The team has formally lodged a protest with the FIA under Article 3.15 of the Sporting Regulations today, and it’s widely expected that Red Bull Racing – which has been more vocal in its concerns over Mercedes’ legality – will follow suit with its own protest.

When the DRS is activated, airflow around the rear wing is stalled to give additional straightline speedMercedes’ W03 features a hitherto unseen design that helps to stall airflow at the front and wear wings to provide added straight-line speed.

The stalling of airflow at the rear wing only occurs when the DRS is activated, and it is this feature which Lotus F1 believes is in contravention of the regulations because it is driver-operated.

The Brackley-based team’s car has picked up a single championship point over the course of the two races held to-date in 2012, and team principal Ross Brawn is, not surprisingly, furious that the dispute has dragged on into the third round of the championship season.

“It is disappointing after three races that we are still in this situation,” he was quoted as saying, before being made aware of Lotus’ official protest being lodged.

“"The system hasn’t changed and the FIA’s position hasn’t changed, and as far as I understand their arguments haven’t changed. Why didn’t they protest in Australia? There is nothing new.

Brawn added that the concept – while not developed by any other Grand Prix team – has been deemed legal since 2010, when driver-operated F-ducts were briefly introduced into the sport.

“It is a matter of record that in 2010 Charlie [Whiting, the FIA’s technical delegate] stated that such a system was legal. It is in the minutes of the [Technical] Working Group meetings. The question was asked and he stated his opinion then that he considered it legal. It has not been going on for three races. It has been going on for two years,” he added.

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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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