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Lotus lodge protest against Mercedes rear wing 12 Apr 2012

Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03 DRS.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, 17 March 2012 Mercedes AMG F1 W03 rear wing detail.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Sepang, Malaysia, Saturday, 24 March 2012 Mercedes AMG F1 W03 front wing detail.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Sepang, Malaysia, Saturday, 24 March 2012

After two races of speculation over its legality, Mercedes’ much-discussed ‘F-duct’ rear wing became the subject of an official protest in Shanghai on Thursday, ahead of this weekend’s 2012 Formula 1 UBS Chinese Grand Prix.

The protest was lodged by Lotus and comes after Mercedes’ F1 W03 car again cleared scrutineering, just as it did in the previous two rounds in Australia and Malaysia, where the FIA gave Ross Brawn’s team’s controversial system the all-clear.

The ‘double-DRS’ device, as it has been dubbed - click here for our Technical Analysis - supposedly uses the DRS activation mechanism to open holes in each of the rear wing’s endplates. These holes channel airflow through the chassis to the nose, where it exits and is used to stall the front wing, cutting drag and boosting top speed.

Debate has focussed on whether this constitutes a driver-operated aerodynamic device. With the exception of the DRS rear wing itself, such systems are illegal and Lotus’s protest is understood to have been filed under Article 3.15 of the FIA’s 2012 technical regulations.

Article 3.15 states that, “with the exception of the parts necessary for the adjustment described in Article 3.18, any car system, device or procedure which uses, or is suspected of using, driver movement as a means of altering the aerodynamic characteristics of the car is prohibited.”

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