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FIA moves to ban double DRS for 2013 season


By Berthold Bouman

The double DRS system as it has been used by Mercedes this season, will be banned in 2013. The Mercedes system provides an extra performance boost when the ‘normal’ DRS is active. Although the idea is actually quite simple, in practice it is a complicated system to integrate into an existing car, the reason why other teams have problems emulating it.

Mercedes-style double DRS banned for 2013

Mercedes has integrated the system in the chassis, when DRS is deployed an opening in the rear wing endplate is exposed, air is led through a system of pipes all the way to the front of the car where it stalls the front wing, while the air that is led away from the rear wing also gives an extra boost on top of the boost of the normal DRS, hence the name double DRS, or as some call it very appropriately: the double whammy DRS.

The system also gives more stability as both wings are stalled. But the system has been banned as Article 3.18 (Driver adjustable bodywork) now states: “It cannot be used to change the geometry of any duct, either directly or indirectly, other than the change to the distance between adjacent sections permitted by Article 3.10.2.” The latter article refers to the dimensions of the DRS wing flap.

Lotus’ Double DRS

But the 2013 regulations do not apply to the double DRS as developed by Lotus, as it is a passive system and its working does not depend upon activation of the DRS system, so the name double DRS is very misleading. The Lotus design actually goes one step further into the unknown, as it is designed to stall the rear wing at high speeds.

It is understood Lotus has designed a system of two ducts situated at both sides of the engine air intake behind the driver’s head, the air flows through a channel to the rear where it should stall the rear wing. The air should only stall the wing at high speeds, and not at low speeds. How Lotus regulates the air flowing through the channels is still a mystery, as the regulations say no mechanical aerodynamic devices, such as spring-operated valves or flexible parts that do the same, are prohibited.

The new regulations also allow teams to cover the stepped nose, a concept that received a lot of negative feedback from the Formula One fans, and although one by now should be used to it, it still looks very ‘unnatural’ and the FIA has confirmed teams are allowed to cover the ‘step’ with a ‘modesty panel’, purely for cosmetic reasons.

Article 3.7.9 now states: “With the exception of an optional, single piece, non-structural fairing of prescribed laminate (whose precise lay-up may be found in the Appendix to the regulations) which may not be more than 625mm above the reference plane at any point, …”

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