Mercedes fast with radical 2012 F-duct front wing

Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W02. Formula One Testing, Day 3, Jerez, Spain, Thursday 9 February 2012.

Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes MGP W02 at Jerez

Feb.10 (GMM) Alongside step noses, clever exhausts and Lotus’ surprise pace, another point of interest in the Jerez paddock this week is Mercedes’ radical front wing.

Auto Motor und Sport said the German team, albeit still running its 2011 car, tested a new front wing featuring a passive F-duct style system.

In Nico Rosberg’s hands, the W02 was quickest of all on Thursday, just as it had been when Michael Schumacher was driving earlier.

The German report said air enters Mercedes’ revolutionary nose at the tip, where it is rechanneled onto the front wing.

Auto Motor und Sport said McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh estimates the top speed benefit of the system, which first appeared on the Mercedes in prototype form late last season, to be around 5 to 8km/h.

“For the front wing, there are no (F-duct) rules,” said the Auto Motor und Sport report. “It is legal.”

Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz was in the Jerez paddock on Thursday, checking out his team’s progress and also the new cars fielded by rivals Ferrari and McLaren.

“Now we are all waiting for Mercedes,” he said.