F1 » 21 March 2012
Neale: McLaren will wait on FIA for Mercedes ruling
McLaren will not pursue protest as an option to uncover Mewrcedes' rear wing secrets, according to MD Jonathan Neale.
McLaren's Jonathan Neale has said that the Woking team will wait on motorsport's governing body to make a ruling on Mercedes' controversial rear wing, rather than make a direct protest.
The wing, which is thought to use the car's existing DRS system, specifically the movable section of the rear wing, to uncover a hole on the inside of the endplate, which then channels air to another section of the wing in search of extra speed. FIA technical delegate Charlie Whiting initially claimed that he saw nothing illegal with the innovation, but rival teams believe that, with the driver dictating when the DRS system is employed, it contravenes rules concerning movable aerodynamic devices. Sources in the Melbourne paddock suggested that, following further unproductive meetings with Whiting, several teams, led by Lotus and Red Bull, could be considering an official protest but, in the end, nothing came of it after Mercedes underperformed in the race.
While RBR boss Christian Horner continues to call for a clarification on the matter, Neale admits that McLaren will wait for the FIA to decide, despite obvious indications that Mercedes has something to hide, either about its front or rear wings.
"Mercedes were very quick during qualifying and there is enough YouTube footage of Michael [Schumacher] being very defensive about not having the car photographed under the front wing," he told the official F1 website, "But I think we have to rely on the FIA. All the teams are going to be trying to extract the maximum within the permitted regulations and innovation, particularly if a car is quick, certainly comes under challenge.
"We understand that well, but I don't understand well enough what Mercedes are actually doing and we have to rely on our colleagues at the FIA. We are all obliged, if we have anything that we think is innovative or pushing the interpretations of the regulations, to disclose that to Charlie Whiting and his colleagues. And I'm very confident that Mercedes will have done that and got a ruling that's okay. So it's interesting."
Horner, whose team has been the subject of numerous technical questions over the past couple of season, insists that Whiting needs to disclose why Mercedes' system falls within the letter of the law in order to prevent future unrest and possible protest.
"I think there are different interpretations of the rear wing of Mercedes," the RBR boss told Sky Sports, "We had some discussions with Charlie over the weekend and we chose not to protest it. There were other teams perhaps more animated than we were, but it is something we just want clarity on because one could argue it is a switch that is affected by the driver.
"The driver hits a button which uncovers this hole, and so it is driver activated, which is not in compliance with the regulations. I think there will be a lot of debate about it during the next five days, so we have requested there be more clarity on it because it is a grey area - and we need to [get clarification] before everybody charges around, committing considerable cost to development. If it is a clever idea and it is accepted, then fine, but it does seem to be somewhat grey at the moment."
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