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Mercedes F1 W03 - rear diffuser 17 March 2012

Mercedes' is arguably the most innovative car of the season, especially compared to its predecessor, with its 'W-duct' front wing and the reported 'F-duct rear wing' that has generated so much discussion in Melbourne. This drawing shows how the exhaust blows towards the central section of the rear diffuser, which also has a second element in the central 15 cm area which is free from restrictions. It's quite a different solution, not totally dissimilar to Sauber's, with airflow coming from the engine cover and going through to the the beam wing and the deformable rear crash structure. But the car's most controversial point is a hole in the rear wing endplate (red arrow), which when opened by the movement of the DRS is thought to stall the rear wing, cutting drag and boosting top-end speed by as much as 18km/h. It is thus far considered legal by the FIA, though two teams have already requested clarification.