Formula 1 is set to introduce an adjustable rear wing system to aid overtaking next year as part of the rules overhaul that will bring the end of double diffusers and F-ducts.
McLaren engineering director Paddy Lowe explained that the system proposed by the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA), which was adopted today by the FIA's World Motorsport Council, enables the rear wings to be adjusted to reduce drag – in the style currently controlled by F-ducts, set to be banned next year – when drivers are closely following a car in front.
The device would increase the straight-line speed of the car behind by approximately 9mph to help passing maneuvers, but could not be used on the opening laps of a race. The car in front would not be able to deploy the system in defense, but would be able to retaliate using the wing once it was following the rival car.
"The flap will be adjustable by the driver," Lowe explained. "He can run it however he likes in qualifying, so what we'll actually do is make the flap so it has very low drag, and in qualifying that will allow you to get a better lap time by using it wherever you can.
"In the race, you can't use it for the first two laps at all, but after that if you're within a second of the car in front then you will be able to deploy it. So that will be very interesting. That's a FOTA initiative to improve the show and I think it's very exciting."
In an additional bid to increase passes for position, the teams have also agreed to end their voluntary ban on the use of Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) in 2011 and to return the power boost-generating devices to their cars after a one-year absence.
"KERS is obviously still in the regulations but within FOTA it's been agreed that we can use it next year," explained Lowe. "We're taking a very serious look at it and we'll decide in the next while whether we'll commit to it for 2011. I think the second time around we'll have an opportunity to do an even better job than was done before. The system that Mercedes produced for the 2009 season was really truly excellent, and I think reasonably recognized as the best in class at that time. I think if we can make that work and integrate it well within the car, then I really am looking forward to that."