It was already believed a similar solution for the Coanda-effect exhaust on Caterham’s 2013 car definitely falls foul of this year’s rules. But Williams’ chief designer Mike Coughlan said in Barcelona on Tuesday, where the team’s new Renault-powered car was revealed and tested for the first time, that he was confident the FW35 complied.
In fact, the two solutions were very similar, but the Williams one more cleverly exploited a loophole about aerodynamics-influencing apertures. The FIA’s Charlie Whiting was at the Circuit de Catalunya on Tuesday, and according to Auto Motor und Sport correspondent Michael Schmidt, “it was rumoured Williams had got the FIA’s blessing” before revealing its solution.
“It may be a technicality,” Mercedes’ Ross Brawn is quoted as saying, “but if you read the rules word for word, Williams is on the safe side.” But Schmidt reported: “This is not the case.” Schmidt even quoted Whiting as saying both the Caterham and the Williams solution indeed “violate” the rules.
A Williams spokesperson confirmed: “The team spoke with the FIA this morning, which is when they gave us their view. “The team are now seeking further clarification on this and a decision as to whether this design will be carried forward will be made before the first race.”