I dunno. I have just discovered is still in use. I am now I am discovering is as common as apple pie.
That reminds me to last year in Malaysia, when Alonso drove with no clutch:
I still don't get it. He was able to go down to first gear without clutch, but since the shifting is electronic, he instead rev up to engage the first gear, is that it? Shouldn't have that destroy the gearbox after few laps? And then, how did he could keep the pace? It should have taken a bit longer to engage the gears and after quite a few corners it would have added up to slower laps, no?
what happened in Malaysia last year was that Alonso had to rev-match the downshifts manually due to an issue with the clutch (something affecting the component that automatically blips the throttle on downshifts). Had his clutch "broken" (direct translation - the source of the misunderstanding, I suspect) he wouldn't had even been able to move.
Because of this, he lost the ability to engine-brake, meaning he had to use more of his brakes more of the time. Although he adapted to this within a couple of laps and ended up getting a good grasp on it, I can't imagine the kind of stresses the engine was put under whenever Alonso couldn't get the rev-match 100% on, hence the engine failure in the late stages of the race. That's the kind of Alonso moment I wish we could inspect more closely, just to get a clear picture of what he had to adapt to. Stunning drive from him that day, really, almost matching Massa for pace - least-deserved DNF of the season IMO :\
(I'm still not 100% clear what happened to his car, so this is mostly pure speculation on my part).