Since Mercedes launched the W05, its 2014 challenger, in Jerez at the beginning of February, a number of people have been questioning what the ‘u' bend slot in the central section of the diffuser is all about. Recently its purpose has transpired and it is, like every other component on a Formula 1 car, a unique interpretation of the rules that is totally legal.
F1 cars, surprisingly, need to be started using an external starter-motor, which runs on a huge 24V battery to produce enough torque to kick-start the engine into life. The starter-motor is fed through a slot in the diffuser at the back of the car before connecting to a small gear that attaches to the flywheel.
The slot in the...
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