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Williams FW31 - vertical 'skate' fins 10 March 2009

With the 2009 regulations bringing so many changes, teams are inevitably investigating every avenue in a bid to find potentially beneficial loopholes. Williams have utilised this area immediately surrounding the cockpit - an area unrestricted by most bodywork regulations - to add new vertical fins, dubbed 'skate' fins because of their resemblance to the flat fish of that name. They utilise similar principles to the 'horn' wings employed in recent seasons by McLaren and BMW Sauber on the side of their engine covers. They interfere with airflow, redirecting it more effectively towards the rear wing, hence improving the wing's efficiency. Sauber used the same idea in practice for the 2006 French Grand Prix. However, their fins were sited on top of the chassis, level with the front suspension, and fears over their effect on driver visibility meant they were never raced.