Sauber F-duct air vent not McLaren copy
26 March, 2010
Mar.26 (GMM) Adrian Newey has expressed surprise at how quickly Sauber was able to implement an ‘F-duct’ air vent solution without breaking F1′s chassis homologation rules.
Just two weeks after the air duct system was cleared to race on McLaren’s 2010 car in Bahrain, a similar version was tested aboard Sauber’s C29 car on Friday morning in Melbourne.
As it happened, the Swiss team had a troublesome day with unrelated wing and technical problems, and so the system – activated by the Sauber drivers’ hand and knee – will not reappear on the car until practice in Malaysia in a week.
But with Sauber now one of the smallest and least-sponsored teams in pitlane, Red Bull’s designer Newey is amazed the system has been implemented in mere days.
“The (homologation) regulations do not allow you to drill holes in the chassis,” the Briton is quoted as saying by Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport.
Replied Sauber’s technical boss Willy Rampf: “We simply used one of the wiring holes, which are big enough to accommodate an air hose.”
And unlike McLaren’s monocoque-mounted system, the Sauber inlet is fixed to the left sidepod, which is not a part of the chassis.
Although Rampf said Friday’s test was inconclusive, it is understood that Sauber engineers were satisfied that straightline speed will be increased with its system.
Auto Motor und Sport said the innovation is not a new idea at Sauber, but that its designers back at Hinwil believed it would not be legal for the driver to manually control the airflow.
Then came the stewards’ ruling in Bahrain, which signalled the green-light for the Melbourne-spec version.
Said team boss Peter Sauber: “We have not copied McLaren. Within such a short time that would have been impossible. This is our own system, and if it is similar in principle to McLaren’s, it can only mean that we had the same idea at the same time.”
It should also be noted that new Sauber driver Pedro de la Rosa was McLaren’s test driver until and including 2009, when the British team says the innovation was already in development.