Brawn: Inability to copy wing at heart of rivals frustration


As the furore over his team's rear wing continues, Mercedes' Ross Brawn claims that it is their inability to copy the device quickly that lies at the heart of the ongoing row.

In recent weeks the row over the rear wing on the Mercedes car has become almost as tedious and overblown as the so-called spat between Sebastian Vettel and Narain Karthikeyan at Sepang.

Stoked by sections of the media, and despite Charlie Whiting's insistence that it is fully legal, a number of teams continue to claim otherwise, whilst working on their own versions. However, Brawn says that because the system which sees the rear wing link with the front wing, thereby increasing straight-line speed, was incorporated into the design at the earliest stage, it is not easy to copy. Hence his rivals continued frustration.

"It's a very simple, cheap system," the Englishman told reporters during a teleconference on Friday, "but not so easy to implement if you haven't integrated it into your car. This is at the heart of the frustration of some of our opponents.

"People talk about the huge cost, but there is no huge cost," ," he continued, referring to suggestions made by a number of rival team bosses. "There's a couple of carbon pipes running down the car. The man in the street would tell you they are a few thousand pounds, they're not millions of pounds.

"But the benefit we've gained is because we've thought about it and designed it into the car, and that's not so easy for the people who haven't got it. It's one of the few things in F1 that is quite innovative without a cost element. If someone could put it on their car easily, I promise you we wouldn't be having these discussions. But they can't do it very easily, which is why they're getting so vexed about it."

Lotus and Red Bull have led the criticism, though it is beleived several other teams would like the device to be decalred illegal and banned, assuming they cannot produce their own versions. From the outset, McLaren, which uses Mercedes engines, has said that it is happy with the wing and the FIA's ruling(s).

"As far back as 2010, the FIA were stating they considered such a system legal," said Brawn. "We would obviously be extremely disappointed if someone was to take a different view. The FIA have been fairly consistent over their position so we have faith that they'll maintain that consistency."

Wing or no wing, despite strong qualifying performances in both of the opening races, the Brackley-based squad has scored just one point. Brawn claims that it is the failure of the WO3 to use its tyres properly that is at the root of the problem, dismissing claims that the performance boost given by the controversial rear wing flatters to deceive.

"In Melbourne, we overheated the tyres. It was under control on Friday, then we developed the set-up in a direction which did not prove helpful in the warmer conditions," he said. "In Malaysia, having done a lot of work in practice to make sure we didn't suffer from the same problem, the cooler conditions on Sunday dropped us out of the window again.

"If they're fifteen degrees either side of where you want them to be, it's very difficult to get them back," he admitted. "They almost run away from you. You have to keep them within that range. If you keep them there, they're OK. But if they start to get away from you it's hard to control them.

"Our analysis since Malaysia has given us an even better understanding, and we have plans and actions in place to improve our tyre management," he continued. We clearly have a reasonably quick car, we have shown that in qualifying, and now we have to convert our speed into race performance."

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Published: 06/04/2012
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