Despite not-unexpected opposition from the Mercedes F1 team, the Formula 1 Technical Working Group has ruled that next year’s rules will see the controversial ‘Double DRS’ banned.
Mercedes’ resistance is understandable. The Brackley-based outfit had pioneered the design concept with what it called its ‘Super DRS’, which worked by feeding air through a hole in the rear-wing endplate, all the way through the car and out of the front wing of the W03 challenger. The air is then stalled when the DRS is activated, providing its drivers with an additional boost in straight-line speed.
Despite being told on several occasions that the design was completely legal, rival team Lotus refused to take this lying down and finally lodged an official protest at the Chinese Grand Prix, only to have it rejected by the FIA Stewards.
While it publically expressed its disappointment with the decision, the team quickly set up designing its own version of the Double DRS, which it finally unveiled during practice for the German and Hungarian Grands Prix. It is expected that the team will race with it at the next race in Belgium in September.
The remaining ten teams on the grid have not pursued the design concept, either not seeing sufficient benefit in it, or because it is simply too expensive to develop.
Nonetheless, the debate is seemingly redundant now that the Technical Working Group – composed of each teams’ technical directors and representatives of the FIA – has ruled to outlaw the concept via a change in next year’s regulations.
While Mercedes may have pioneered the concept and rightly been keen to ensure it remained in scope in next year’s rulebook, the TWG simply needs a majority – rather than unanimous – vote to push a regulation change through.
One wonders what concepts the designers and engineers will develop next year? If Formula 1 proves anything, it’s simply impossible to tie these clever people down for too long…