Renault: McLaren rear wing is illegal
12 March 2010 – The Renault team is not pleased with the FIA's decision to confirm McLaren's rear wing assembly as legal in Bahrain. The MP4-25 cars of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, containing an air vent which can be opened and shut by the drivers, successfully passed scrutineering on Thursday.
The issue in question involves an air intake dubbed the 'snorkel' - located on the front 'bonnet' of the Mercedes-powered car - which can be operated manually by each driver's knee courtesy of a button in the cockpit, with the opening controlling the amount of airflow over the rear wing and adjusting downforce levels in the process.
"It's fundamentally clear that the McLaren wing design is totally illegal," Renault Managing Director Bob Bell told the BBC during first practice on Friday morning, "and they have driven a cart horse through the spirit of the rules and regulations...it's going to cost everybody a lot of money. The governing body needs to be a lot stronger with these things."
With it being likely that other teams must now design similar devices, which should aid overtaking on straights, Bell believes that such rulings by governing body the FIA are against the very nature of the sport. "I think that it's ridiculous in this era, when we are all trying to save money," the Northern Irishman continued.
"We're restricted by the number of people that we can bring to the track, with mechanics working ridiculous hours at night to prepare the car - now we have just opened up another arms race which will cost us all a lot of money, it's just a nonsense. I think the governing body needs to be more responsible when making decisions like this."
Bell is unsure at present as to whether Renault or any other team will launch a protest against McLaren.