McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe says the team won't make a decision over whether to try and produce its own version of the Drag Reduction System being used by Mercedes this season until rules regarding the device have been clarified by the FIA.
The device being used by the Brackley-based team channels air to the front wing in an effort to boost speed still further when DRS is employed, with rivals having questioned whether or not it complies with the regulations in place for the current season.
Speaking in a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in, Lowe admitted he was frustrated that there has yet to be clarity provided over the device and said his team needed to wait for a decision before committing itself to developing its own version.
“I think there are a number of points being debated behind the scenes,” he said. “We don't have a strong view one way or the other. I think what we need at this point is clarity. I would say it would have been better to have clarity before now. So we'll have to see what the next event - in China - will bring us in that sense. Until we've got clarity it's difficult for us to commit a huge about of effort in that direction. So that's where we are at the moment.”
Lowe added the vague nature of the regulations was what had led to questions being raised about whether Mercedes' was legal.
“If you look, for instance, at the system that's being talked about on the Mercedes, you could get into arguments there about whether it's in the spirit of what was intended with DRS,” he said. “Well, it definitely wasn't. DRS was a set of rules was created to make the rear-wing flap, it wasn't anything else. The debate around whether they can keep that system on the car is not about whether it is in that spirit or not, it's about whether the text of the regulations means they can't.”
Although still waiting clarification on that part, McLaren are set to take a number of upgrades to China this weekend, which Lowe said should combine to improve the performance of the MP4-27.
“We have quite a few upgrades for this event, on pretty much all sections of the car,” he said. “So we're hoping for a reasonable step in performance. However, we expect that is only what we need to do to stay where we are, in terms of qualifying and race pace. I would be surprised if our principal competitors aren't also coming with reasonable steps forward. So that's the name of the game.
“It's a relentless battle for in-season development, particularly amongst the top teams. It's started already and we'll have to play our part and see if we can maintain the qualifying lead we had at the first two races.”