Mercedes F1 W03 - 'F-duct' front wing detail 27 March 2012
With the basic workings of their innovative, DRS-operated 'F-duct' rear wing having been revealed in Australia, Mercedes have since been careful to keep the system's front wing detail hidden. They even changed the layout of their garage to make it more difficult for photos to be taken and devised a special rubber cover to put inside the nosecone every time it is taken off. But when Michael Schumacher went off in final practice in Melbourne, a picture was taken of the two small cuts in the front wing flap (highlighted in yellow). In Japan last year the team tested a passive system that fed air through the nosecone vent and down the two wing pillars to the front-wing flap. But it proved difficult to set up, and with the nosecone vent now only allowed to be used for driver cooling, they had to find a different way to get the airflow to the front wing - hence the current system that is believed to route airflow all the way through the chassis, from the much-talked-about holes in the rear-wing endplates to the front-wing cuts shown here. The supposed result is an F-duct style stalling of the wing at speed, cutting drag and boosting top speed. Some teams believe the DRS regulations safeguard against its activation mechanism being used for another system and feel that Mercedes' solution is illegal. Mercedes, however, believe they have cleverly interpreted a grey area of the rules.