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McLaren F1 team's car wing design is approved by FIA

McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh

Whitmarsh plays down McLaren wing 'device'

By Sarah Holt
BBC Sport in Bahrain

McLaren's controversial rear wing design has been approved by Formula 1's governing body, the FIA.

Red Bull had sought clarification on a slot on the rear wing which reduces drag and increases straight-line speed.

FIA technical chief Charlie Whiting is understood to have seen the design and to be happy with it.

But McLaren's rivals are unhappy with the decision: "It is fundamentally clear the McLaren wing design is illegal," said Renault's Bob Bell.

"It is a complete joke. They have driven a cart horse through the sprit of the rules," Bell told BBC Radio 5 live, but he refused to be drawn on whether the team intended to make a formal complaint.

"They [McLaren] have opened up another arms race, it's going to cost everybody a lot of money. The governing bodies need to be a lot stronger with these things."

The issue that is causing concern is not just about the slot in the rear wing of the car.

In fact air is believed to be taken into the car through a vent in front of the cockpit, it then goes through the car and out of the back of the engine cover.

The system - which speculation says can also be influenced by the drivers - affects the airflow to the rear wing, giving the car less drag, and therefore a higher maximum speed, on the straights.

All 12 teams on the grid have had all their cars passed by scrutineering ahead of Friday's first practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

A McLaren spokesman said on Friday that the rear wing design had "never been an issue" although Red Bull team principal Christian Horner claimed earlier it had caused "a bit of a fuss".


Any unusual aerodynamic design is more likely to come under the microscope after last season's diffuser row which split the teams.

The legality of the radical 'double-decker diffuser' , pioneered by 2009 constructors' champions Brawn, Toyota and Williams, ended up being settled in F1's Court of Appeal.

But there has been no similar controversy for the opening race of this year's championship.

The results of preliminary scrutineering also removed doubts over the new Hispania team's participation this weekend.

The future of the Spanish team was secured last month after a buyout but the car, which will be driven by F1 rookies Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok, had yet to hit the track before Bahrain after Hispania skipped testing.

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Gloves off for F1's biggest battle
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Sunday testing as it happened
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Friday testing as it happened
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