Some unfinished business
Suzuka 2014
Japanese Grand Prix
The real story behind the FIA’s exhaust clampdown
McLaren Mercedes
The real story behind the FIA’s exhaust clampdown
Posted By: James Allen  |  18 May 2011   |  2:06 pm GMT  |  145 comments

Yesterday’s volte face by the FIA on the exhaust blown diffusers has sent out some confused messages to fans about what’s going on behind the scenes.

I’ve been in touch with engineers and with the FIA today to get to the bottom of it and here’s my take on what’s happened here.

A typical 2011 style exhaust exit into the diffuser (JA photo)


The FIA’s Charlie Whiting sent out a letter to teams on Thursday May 12th telling them that the FIA planned to clamp down on the way the engines were used to generate exhaust gas pressure on the over-run, in other words when the driver lifts off the throttle. He wanted to cut the effect by 90% and this would come into effect from Spain. To be clear it’s not blown diffusers that were being banned, just the over-run part of their function. Cutting that alone would lose probably 30% of the overall effect blown diffusers give to the car’s performance.

Then last night, almost a week later, he wrote to the teams again saying that the clampdown was on hold and that it would be discussed at the next Technical Working Group meeting, due to take place the week after the Canadian Grand Prix.

The timing is not unusual for the FIA; they often bring in sudden changes for the Spanish Grand Prix. Last year it was the winglets in front of the sidepods, in 2001 it was the re-introduction of traction control and there have been other examples.

The reason is that, by making a change for Spain, in May, it gives the FIA and the teams time to digest the changes in time to draft suitable rules for the following year, which must be done by June 30th.

As it stands now, this topic will be on a packed agenda for the TWG meeting in mid June, as there is a lot of 2013 rules content to wade through as well.

So now the question is why does the FIA want to clampdown on engines blowing exhaust gas on the over run?

Well it’s not very efficient for a start. It increases fuel consumption and is not environmentally a very attractive thing to do. It’s also an area which has zero relevance to the road car industry or to society generally.

While Red Bull and Renault are to be applauded for their innovation, it’s a road that Jean Todt’s FIA doesn’t want the sport to go down. Whiting said in his original letter that they feared an escalation and where that might lead. Better to outlaw the practice now and then make sure its written into the 2012 rules.

Also the cost of the blown exhaust “arms race”, as the engineers describe it, is high and it’s money that is going out of the sport, paying exhaust makers.

As things stand blown diffusers are still allowed in the 2012 and 2013 rules, but one wonders whether this might be the start of a move away from the whole concept. Also the turbo engines of 2013 will not work so well with the devices anyway as the turbos and the generators for the hybrid system will take a lot of the energy out of the exhaust gas.

Although Red Bull’s Christian Horner said yesterday that this might have been triggered by a rival team seeking to reduce Red Bull’s advantage, engineers I’ve spoken to today say that there is no indication that this is the case. It looks more like something the FIA want to see outlawed.

Tim Goss, the McLaren designer said today in a Vodafone phone in that the ruling, once it has been clarified and the method of policing established, would mean a loss of performance not just for Red Bull and Renault, who pioneered this technology, but for all the leading teams who have been making use of it for some time.

“I think all of the major teams are up to the same tricks with regards to engine mapping. Certainly we exploit them,” he said. “If the latest guidelines that the FIA have given us on use of engine to drive exhaust systems came in then it would be a performance setback to us. I know it would almost certainly be a performance setback to our major competitors.

“As to whether it affects us more than our competitors is impossible for me to say. I know what we get out of it and we get quite a substantial benefit, but I imagine it would be just a sizeable a setback to our competitors as well.

“We’re just working to the latest set of guidelines from the FIA – I think we can react to whatever they tell us reasonably promptly – and for the moment it would appear that the FIA have decided that it’s quite a complex matter and that they need more time to consider how they will try and police it. So as a result it looks like at the Spanish Grand Prix it will be business as usual.”

Featured Video
JensonTrialthlon
Sign up for Jenson’s Triathlon today!
Featured News in mclaren
MORE FROM McLaren
LATEST FROM THE MCLAREN MERCEDES COMMUNITY
Previous
Next
Share This:
Posted by:
Category:
Tags:
145 Comments
  1. Mojo66 says:

    I’m with Cristian Horner on this one. Specifically, I think Ferrari wants the ban because they don’t get it right.

    1. Michael Prestia says:

      I knew someone was going to put the blame on Ferrari.

    2. I think Horner is pi**ed one of his toys was taken away even though it’s against the spirit of what FIA wants F1 to be.

      There’s no evidence of a complaint from any other team[mod] Ferrari are going to be affected by it as well. Also if you remember, Ferrari implemented the blown diffuser last year and brought themselves on par with Red Bull so I’m pretty sure they know how it works.

      1. Damian J says:

        There’s a huge difference between knowing how it works and optimizing it to great effect.

      2. Tone says:

        Horner hasn’t been shy at pointing the finger at Ferrari in the past, so why isn’t he this time? Besides, McLaren have been the ones whining lately haven’t they?

      3. Damian J says:

        I am not aware that McLaren has ever critcized the blown exhaust on the over run although I suspect some would like to point the finger at them for their own reasons!

        Not sure also why McLaren would want to see this banned as they have more developments planned so they are not short of ideas with improving their car in the current environment.

    3. krieng says:

      I’m with Cristian Horner too, but I think it’s Mercedes GP. Let see how Rosberg loss his position because his car run out of fuel so they need to save their fuel and at the same time want other team suffer from this too.

      1. Jack says:

        not a bad shout there actually, although it’s probably blindingly obvious to everybody at the circuits cos it makes the cars sound very odd going through corners. The ‘farting’ McLaren for example

    4. Al JAckson says:

      Why all the debate about what teams are going to lose and gain, the only question that has to be satisfied is “Are exhaust gasses” (hot or cold)allowed to influence the airo packs on an F1 car. If the answer to that is no then it should be banned with immediate effect and the teams will have to absorb the lost cost of developement.
      This year will be another one like when Shumi won by ramming DH, a hollow victory that few will embrace.

  2. Sebee says:

    Wasn’t the goal of standard ECUs to eliminate this type of engine tweaking?

    It’s clever, but really wasteful technology as you say James. Another example why engineers in teams with big wallets need to be protected from themselves.

    I have not been to a GP since these came in. Does this throw off the wonderful violent downshifting sounds as the car approaches a breaking zone?

    1. Rob Haswell says:

      Why does everyone think that using fuel to go faster is wasteful? That is the essence of motor racing.

      More to the point, the fuel increase this causes is truly, truly negligible compared to the overall energy impact of staging a race.

      I don’t understand how anyone can be a fan of F1 AND be concerned with EBD fuel use at the same time.

      1. Born 1950 says:

        Engine tuning and engine performance in general has, until now, been all about efficiency — the more power at the wheels you could get for a given amount of fuel burnt, the faster your car over a race distance, all else being equal.

        This new development is about speed but it’s speed at the expense of efficiency. It’s exactly like the Brabham fan of the 70′s — using some of the engine power directly to suck the car down to the road, as opposed to using aerodynamics which push or suck the car down to the road as a by-product of the cars velocity through the air.

        Simply, that’s why they’re trying to ban it.

      2. Mark Dobson says:

        Downforce doesn’t increase efficiency. Wings produce drag which decreases MPG.

      3. Born 1950 says:

        If you read my comment again, Mark, you’ll see that I said, “Engine… performance… has been all about efficiency. I wasn’t talking about the cars’ overall fuel efficiency. Aerodynamically-efficient cars would look more like Thrust II (or is it Thrust III now?) and wouldn’t be very quick round an F1 circuit — as you know.

      4. Stefanos says:

        Alas, the fashion is now green and F1 feels obliged to be trendy…
        The other fashion trend is to be road-relevant, as this will unquestionably bring more manufacturers back to the sport. Alegedly…
        This is all for the best, I hear. Have you not heard?? ;)

      5. Andrew Myers says:

        I love how they pay lip service to being “green” when it suits them. Anyone care to mention the number of tyres that get discarded in a race with 80+ pit stops? Ooooh no, don’t go there!

      6. "for sure" says:

        …agreed. The other myth of course is that F1 is relevant to road car development. 50 years ago you might have won that argument. Now it’s a nonsense, pursued to make an F1 programme appear “relevant” for nothing more than to please the marketeers and shareholders.

      7. Luca says:

        well in actual fact, the teams are probably pushing for even greater engine efficiency with the blown diffusers as they need to power that whilst keep overall weight (ergo fuel consumption) down.

        you can sight renaults claims of having the most efficent engine in the paddock from a month or so ago…

        Therefore, for a teams like Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault it has the knock effect of being very applicable to the road car designs. Things like stop and go engines etc…

        For more extreme measures Ferrari, Mercedes and now McL use ideas out of the gearbox, carbon structures etc for their road cars – ok, not mass market, but still all applicable regardless

      8. krieng says:

        I’m with you in this. burn fuel to make the car go faster, this is racing. If you want go fast on straight burn it on straight, if want go fast on curve so burn it on curve. This is very natural of racing why ban it.
        If consider efficient you should see how it worth burn fuel to go fast not just power output from engine alone.

        If you have engine power you can make wing that generate more drag to make more down force but with blow diffuser you don’t need powerful engine (that less fuel economy) but still can go fast in conner so why not use it. This is good thing, right.

        I think fan car was ban because it can’t use on street car, the fan will suck all dust on street and destroy the car.

      9. iceman says:

        I completely agree Rob. As I mentioned in my comment on another post, no-one’s complaining about the amount of fuel used to push the wings through the air. That’s fuel that’s being burned solely to generate downforce, just like blowing the diffuser on the overrun. Taking the wings off would improve the fuel economy of an F1 car far more than this proposed rule change.

  3. Jason says:

    James, how do you see it affecting the drivers, do you see some drivers being handicapped because of the reduced downforce?

    Or everyone is going to be in the same boat and it’s all relative?

    1. James Allen says:

      It’s all relative. Some teams have better systems than others so will lose more but until it’s implemented we won’t know. In the meantime they will all be working on a new engine mapping systems

      1. Will says:

        I read an interesting article, may have been by yourself James I can’t remember but it suggested That before Red Bull had the special engine maps early last season, Webber was so close to Vettel in qualifying because he mastered a special technique of driving the car with the original blown diffuser, and Vettel was never comfortable with it, but when they started doing the exhaust gas tricks this really suited Vettel’s driving style, and started to get a decent advantage over Webber. I wonder if the gap between the two will close again when they bring this ban in? Or if its now more than that and the new tyres are more of a factor?

      2. James Allen says:

        Yes I think I was one of the first to write about it last year, around Turkey time

      3. Dufus says:

        James, nice plug for yourself there :) , but how about
        answering the last two questions please ? Im interested in your opinion.

      4. Martin says:

        Hi Will,

        Throwing in my two cents worth, I think Vettel will still be ahead in qualifying as he seems to get how to use the tyres in qualifying, at least more so than Webber. In the race it could favour Webber, but it is hard to judge how much time the cracked chassis hurt Vettel in Spain and Monaco.

  4. Andy C says:

    It always cracks me up that on one hand we discuss saving resources (like petrol) and on the other hand the arms race has already been allowed to develop in this area at such a pace that parts are being flown over by people in hand luggage on a consistent basis.

    I wonder if the FIA have ever looked at the actual environmental impact of people flying parts mid weekend in handluggage (Colin Kolles I thik went to the 3rd race with 4 front wings in hand luggage), and we’re forever seeing similar press.

    For me, if its not deemed environmentally friendly, then just ban it, as in any artificial throttle maintainence after the throttle peddle is released is illegal.

    Its another example of environmental friendlyness on the basis of the Toyota prius. Low emissions car that allegedly creates such an enormous carbon footprint in its production that the benefits are outweight (global production, battery production etc).

    I am absolutely for reducing emissions and carbon footprints, but logic quite often becomes completely thrown away.

    I should imagine the electricity consumption of windtunnels and fuel consumption of test beds far outweighs the actual fuel used in the races.

    1. Chapor says:

      Looks like regulating technology in F1 to a certain standard is like trying to herd cats… :-)

      1. Scott says:

        thank you Chapor, you just made my day with that comment :)

        Maybe someone should tell Jean Todt?

    2. Alan Dove says:

      “For me, if its not deemed environmentally friendly, then just ban it”

      Leaving aside the debate about whether Man Made Climate change is real or not… everything in F1 is fuel consumption based. Banning this development because of the environment is inherently hypocritical.

      1. Andy c says:

        That’s my point though. There is no consistency at all. F1 and it’s rule makers has always been able to overcomplicate all decisions.

        Either they are environmentally friendly or not.

  5. Jo Torrent says:

    I think the move is right because spending fuel on aeros is liking adding a fan that sucks air, it’s artificial and it’s a waste of fuel.

    What I have problems with is the talk about environment and relevance to road car. I would like to know what did F1 bring to road car throughout its history. The sequential gearbox is not to be considered as it is for supercars.

    Which circuit cares about environment in its architecture or energy usage. How come F1 does night races ? Which team has environment ethics in its factory ?

    So please FIA & F1 stop the rubbish.

    1. But the fan car was so cool!

    2. Pat M says:

      My sister’s Chevrolet Malibu has a sequential gearbox :)

    3. Owen says:

      Active Suspension
      Controlled Locking Differentials
      Diffusers
      Steel Disk Brakes
      Safety, in terms of the development of composites, crash structures.
      Tyre development

      I’m sure there are a few more that I have left out!

      1. Sebee says:

        Movable aero
        Oils
        Fuels
        Performance tires
        Paddle shifting
        Metals and their application in autos

        Let’s keep this going!!

      2. Michael Grievson says:

        traction control abs

      3. levan says:

        traction control and electronics

        and other detailed improvements which will be underestimated by us.
        One of the goal of F1 should be improvement road cars technology and environmenal friendling is als part of it.
        The world’s best engineers work in F1 and I hope that they will spend their brains on tecnology that can increase efficiancy and give benefit to fuel economy or repairment costs and not wasting it on developing systems which will be used for two or three races for one car..

        Benefits from F1 for participants are: sponsorship revenues, TV boradcasting revenues and indirect benefits from tecnology improvements for participant factory teams. Mosly’s strategy was benefitial for sponsorships and broadcasting revenues that’s why temas like hispania racings came in F1 and BMW, HONDA and TOYOTA left.

        F1 management should aim at Car manufacuturers R&D budget and not only PR budget. Then they wouldn’t have budget deficit problems and stay in F1.

    4. Damian J says:

      But the Mercedes engine in the McLaren produces such a great sound with the blown exhaust on the over run! :(

    5. Alex W says:

      Wings create drag, thereby increase fuel consumption, so by your definition are artificial and should be banned????

      1. Jason C says:

        +1 for this – it’s exactly what I was thinking.

        Any wing with a serious angle creates drag – so why not mandate skinny wings for all circuits?

        As I have commented before on this site, there are more effective ways of making F1 less environmentally-unfriendly than looking at the cars’ fuel consumption.

      2. Martin says:

        Hi Alex,

        Take the wings off, create a low drag, low lift bodyshape and see how much fuel you need to get the same lap time. The corner speed would be greatly reduced and the braking distances a lot longer. The fuel consumption would be a lot higher. On circuit races the wings are very efficient in generating performance.

        The wings are much less efficient than venturi underbody wings, and bringing these back and reducing the wings would also help overtaking by allowing cars to follow more closely. The negative is that the slipstream would be less.

        Cheers,

        Martin

    6. Phillip says:

      In my opinion, there is no “artificial” use of fuel. The nice thing about racing is that we are simply solving for “x” within a given set of constraints. The answer to the equation that we are looking for is the fastest way to get a car and driver to the end of a race ahead of his or her competitors, within the rules as written and interpreted.

      No team will “waste” fuel, unless the gain from its use outweighs the cost of carrying around the extra fuel weight and provide for the extra space required to carry it.

      The “wasting of fuel” argument assumes that the wasted fuel is “free.”

      Really, the teams need to pay for the advantage of the wasted fuel in terms of weight and packaging, as well as a host of other issues stemming from those.

      A fun metaphor: if you give a builder a hammer and tell him to build a house and sell it, but you put a limit on his budget and his materials, he might use that hammer to break into an already built house if he knows that he can sell the already built house without penalty. It might seem “against the spirit” of home-building, but he is just working within the constraints provided to him.

  6. Jo Torrent says:

    James,

    Is over run used throughout the race. Last year, it seemed that it was used for qualies not for the race.

    This year I read something about Renault using it everylap which heavily increased its fuel consumption. I don’t recall the figures.

    But are all the big teams using it consistently during races ?

  7. Jo Torrent says:

    Off topic

    Word is McLaren will bring 10 to 12 updates. I don’t know what they mean by updates but we might struggle to recognize the cars.

    P.S : some sources suggest Ham & But overalls new design is considered an update.

    1. enough says:

      Can you just make 1 post instead of 6 for every article? It gets annoying scrolling downa nd down and down reading the same thing from you under every article, thanks.

      1. Peter C says:

        Excellent!

      2. mtb says:

        I think that Jo’s comments are fantastic, and I hope that he continues with the great work.

      3. I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. Every post seems to be informative (and passes the moderators).

        If you don’t like what he says, just scroll past it.

      4. Sebee says:

        There really should be a 500 character limit per article per user. Will make people think through their posts and be concise, on topic and to the point.

        Nothing against any poster, but we should be more democratic and let all have space in the first 20 scrolls of comments. I’m even cutting down myself!

  8. Unoccv3 says:

    I think they should go, as while they are a clever inovation and soething interesting it has been done and dusted, most teams are similiar in blown exahust diffuser performance and it’s not particularly green or moral in a way.

    ————

    FROM ARTICLE ABOVE: It’s also an area which has zero relevance to the road car industry or to society generally.

    ME: This I don’t understand the logic of. Sure blowing exhaust gases into a diffuser to gain more downforce isn’t the kind of thing you find on pretty much any road going car, but I can’t think of a car with F1 style wings, or a single seat layout that requires you to were a crahs helmet incase things hit your face.

    Nor can I think of a road car with front wings let alone the winglets on them, nor sidepods like F1 cars.

    Using the arguement that it ‘has zero relevance to the road car industry’ seems like a hypocritical point unless you are also wanting to get rid of everything else that makes an F1 car an F1 car.

    hell, even the open wheels aren’t legal on a road car in most countries.

    1. Chapor says:

      The knowledge gained from aero parts like wings and diffusers is crucial to the motor industry to reduce the drag coefficients and therefore increase efficiency. Sidepods are not relevant on a road car, but the knowledge gained from arranging the cooling inside can make for increased cooling efficiency in road cars thus decreasing the openings in the front of a car for the radiators thus decreasing drag etc. You see, there is a lot of individual technology being tested in an F1 car that is hugely relevant to a road car, but deliberately increasing fuel consumption is definitely not it.

      Since KERS has been introduced in F1 the amount of hybrid sports vehicles suddenly making their appearance on motorshows around the world has increased which I find brilliant. They are not ready for production yet, but there is talk that the new Porsche 911 will have a KERS like arrangement. So yes, F1 is the perfect platform to introduce and test technology that will turn the automotive industry as a whole more green. I think that that point needs to be taken into consideration when one refers to “turning F1 green”. The repercussions resulting from increased efficiency for the same performance as tested and raced in F1 is what turning F1 green should be all about. And that is what I fully support.

      With that in mind, I fully support the 2013 regulations. :-)

      1. EXACTLY!

        Just like all the turbo road cars in the 80′s. Why? Because F1 cars had turbos, and F1 is cool. Now F1 has hybrid systems to increase efficiency, and the popularity of F1 is seeing that effect spread onto road cars.

      2. Daniel M says:

        I’m glad you find it ‘brilliant’ when it has been proven time and again that kers for road cars have a much greater environmental impact in terms of material sourcing and manufacture than a normally aspirated road car.

        KERS and hybrid systems are a clever marketing strategy used by car manufacturers to make themselves look green whilst positioning themselves in the marketplace with what is seen as an improved product.

        As I’ve stated before, the technology is out there to make the fuel cars burn completely sustainable and carbon neutral – in other words, you can use as much fuel as you want and it won’t have an environmental impact. The reason this isn’t developed is it won’t make the big companies as much money as their current approach.

        So why does F1 have this move towards hybrid engines? Not because it is actually green, but because it is seen to be green – sadly, it is all about image.

      3. Unoccv3 says:

        True about the image.

        New batteries for each race, building them isn’t green, then they are chucked away.

        But it looks and sounds green so why not?

      4. j says:

        “Proven” by whom?

        When someone leaves this type of comment about the “environmental impact” of lithium batteries which are fully recyclable and are profitable to recycle it’s a good sign to just ignore everything else they have to say.

      5. Unoccv3 says:

        j, I don’t think you correct about that one. Lithium batteries are definately not 100% recyclable.

        Can you link to any articles that say they are completely recyclable

    2. CJD says:

      active suspension ?
      i think that was a F1 innovation…
      carbon brakes, now defenitly carbon technologie,

      carbo tech (are baking the chassis of at least 2 current F1 team here in salzburg) are using that technologie for lots of other applications …

      greetings

      1. Martin says:

        Hi CJD,

        the carbon-carbon brakes in F1 are different from the carbon-composite brakes in road cars. Whether F1 was inspiration for them is hard to tell, and the marketing helps too.

        I believe you are right with active suspension. From memory Mansell was involved in Lotus’s active suspension program so that is about 1983, even though the race debut was 1987. Journalists were driving active Lotus cars that weren’t sold in 1986.

        Cheers,

        Martin

    3. devilsadvocate says:

      This is going to get lost but hopefully at least the OP gets it…
      ” I can’t think of a car with F1 style wings, or a single seat layout that requires you to were a crahs helmet incase things hit your face.
      Nor can I think of a road car with front wings let alone the winglets on them”
      The new Atom with the V8 has front and rear wings, is open wheeled (splashguards taked to the top of the wheel don’t count) and while isn’t required, you’d be loony not to wear a crash helmet while at the wheel, sequential gearbox, etc… Street legal and all

      -cheers

      1. Rich C says:

        And perhaps the Lotus SUper 7 would be a good one to wear a crash hat whilst driving, as well.

        Oh, wait, thats not a Lotus anymore, is it? Its a Caterham!

  9. Jo Torrent says:

    Great article, very informative and tackling many aspects. You answered questions I wondered about and some that didn’t cross my mind.

    Still one thing remains, why did the teams accept to remove the over-run. As far as I know they can refuse. Am I wrong ?

    1. They can refuse changes in rules mid-season, but they can’t refuse new interpretations of rules.

      If Charlie says that a throttle is an aerodynamic device if used in an aerodynamic method (opening to create exhaust flow to the diffuser), and that it is only legal if it is not used aerodynamically (quantified by saying that no more than 10% throttle can be used when “off-throttle”), then that interpretation stands.

      1. Craig says:

        Is that interpretation really much different than a brake being used to generate electricity that can later be used to make the car go faster?

      2. Martin says:

        Hi Craig,

        KERS is clearly intended for it purpose, while the FIA is continually trying to constrain aerodynamics into a narrow area and the EBD is a new area. The effect is as you suggest, a performance benefit for both, but one is expected in the rules and is constrained to a technology avenue of control under braking (relevant to road cars) and battery thermal management (relevant to any fast duty cycle battery application). The exhaust management is relevant only to F1, and is expensive, and adds little to the show. Aerodynamics is expensive, but it makes the cars fast and is intrinsic to ‘the show’.

        Cheers,

        Martin

      3. The brake is used to recapture energy that is directly delivered through the drivetrain. No aero involved.

        The rule just bans aerodynamic devices from moving (with DRS as an explicit exception).

  10. Red5 says:

    A proposed return to ground-effects to help generate downforce was also postponed because of cost implications.

    Is it only the 2012 and 2013 rules being considered or will the TWG target a larger more long term review of rules and regulations?

  11. duskyblogger says:

    >> Well it’s not very efficient for a start. It increases fuel consumption and is not environmentally a very attractive thing to do. It’s also an area which has zero relevance to the road car industry or to society generally.

    The WHOLE SPORT is not environmentally friendly, so that’s not a major argument to put forward for the ban. However I agree in principle that if it doesn’t have any relevance to the road-car industry, it probably isn’t worth investing in the technology.

    And since all the major teams would be affected, the potential ‘performance disadvantage’ would be felt evenly across all teams.

  12. SP says:

    Interesting to read you’re ideas on why the FIA want to ban the off-throttle blowing of the diffuser. There was a lot of chatter about it being in contravention of the ‘moveable aero devices’ law ?3.15 or something – just wondering if you had any thoughts on that/ whether it applied.

    Also, do you know why there was the U-turn yesterday? Autosport used a somewhat mysterious description of ‘unforeseen and unintended consequences’.

    Thanks again, great article as ever

  13. david says:

    Isn’t using a special engine mode to blow hot air over a car’s diffuser virtually identical to using a mechanical fan to increase downforce (something which I think was tried, and almost immediately banned, many years ago)? In other words, aren’t the current teams effectively using their engines as a “moveable aerodynamic device”? If this is right, it would follow that these special engine modes probably ought to be outlawed anyway.

    1. Jo Torrent says:

      The difference is that the exhaust gas is there to use while the fan is “artificial”. With exhaust, the over run mode is artificial. Otherwise, it only consists in using waisted energy.

      1. Born 1950 says:

        Yes, but the exhaust gas is only there because they’re tweaking the engine management system. The question I asked before about how they’re doing it is answered on the BBC website…

        “A major problem with the technology has traditionally been an instability created when the driver comes off the accelerator in a corner – as no gas is coming out of the exhaust at that point, meaning downforce suddenly reduces.

        Teams have solved that by keeping exhausts gases flowing through the exhausts even when the driver is not pressing the throttle.

        They do this by continuing to burn fuel in the engine but retarding the ignition by as much as 35-40%.”

        I understand it now. They’re igniting fuel with the exhaust valves open so it just produces gasses, not power. Clever, but not the way F1 should be going.

      2. Baktru says:

        It is pretty much what WRC turbo cars have been doing since the Toyota Celica GT-fours. Except they use the ‘bang-bang’ engine retardation to keep the turbo spinning, which is driven by the exhaust gases after all.

        What I am wondering about now is whether the FIA will allow ‘bang-bang’ like systems on the turbo engines of the future, where the benefit will be in power rather than aerodynamics.

      3. Born 1950 says:

        Interesting point, Baktru. Perhaps the technical committee are thinking ahead to 2013 and that makes the decision more complicated?

  14. MR SERIOUS says:

    As Mclaren are said to have several upgrades this weekend I am glad the rule stands. They are struggling as it is and such a change may take them even further away from the front? given the teams uncertain start and understanding of their car early on.

    I think Merc however may get between the rest and RB this weekend.

    There will be a lot to play out this weekend if the track proves up to a decent scrap.

  15. Tyler says:

    For all the high tech of F1 those sheet metal pieces in the photo look quite crude and last minute. The L shaped guide vane looks like it was cut with a pair of tin snips and bolted with hardware store fasteners.

    1. d.h. says:

      Not forgetting the gaffer tape!

    2. Blade Runner says:

      Agreed, looks very “home made” having said that I have a friend who owns an ex works Metro 6R4 and that is very similar.

    3. terryshep says:

      Race mechanics are very pragmatic types, they have to be. They are usually working against time and having to come up with instant solutions off the top of their head.

      More to the point is the oversight by the designer not to have considered that outflow properly, such that it needed such a ‘fix’

      1. Born 1950 says:

        Of course, in the designers’ defence, it’s a hell of a lot more complicated factoring exhaust flows combined with airflows into CFD and wind tunnel testing at the design stage. This leaves a lot more room for practical experimentation in real world situations.

        I bet the race mechanics are loving this as they get to tinker with things like airflow that for many years have been fixed by designers before the cars even hit the track.

  16. Rafael says:

    F1 is about technical innovation as it is much about driving skills and fast cars! I agree with Bernie when he recently said the FIA should only be policing the rules that teams write, and not create them themselves. As a die hard F1 fan, I don’t only follow the sport bec. of the racing, the drivers, the politics and the interesting personalities but also bec. of the technology that create the cars. I agree that sometimes they’re too much, but it’s part of Formula 1′s DNA.

    The FIA should really look around and see what’s happening: If they want to cut costs, then they should leave the rules alone (technical regulations, especially) bec. every time they close a loophole, teams spend even bigger to find a way another way around it – The rule book just gets thicker and thicker and costs just go up. The only way to cut costs is to make the cars and engines single make – like the IRL or so. But that wouldn’t be F1, would it?

    1. Born 1950 says:

      ‘Trouble is it would be very difficult for two teams at the extremes — say like Lotus and Ferrari — to agree on rules. I bet Lotus would want to keep things relatively pure and simple, whereas the teams with lots of money to chuck at detail prefer high-tech complexity, which provides good marketing differentiation for their road cars.

  17. It’s the same theory as anti-lag systems for turbo engines, used for decades in WRC… retard the spark, open the throttle and pour raw fuel through the combustion chamber and into the exhaust. The only pioneering I would see is that they use it for an aerodynamic effect rather than a turbo boost (anti-lag) effect.

    From that, it will only really affect them when off-throttle, which means they will lose downforce when braking and on turn-in. If you watch in-car videos closely, F1 drivers don’t get on the throttle until the apex – if any racing driver is on the throttle before the apex, they entered the corner too slow!

    Obviously, this means that they will have to do some very significant work on the set-up of the car, since the balance will certainly change on turn-in. Also, since they trail-brake into corners, setting up for the entry to any corner is of utmost importance, as trail-braking shifts the balance of grip forward, making the car inherently unstable. Off-throttle diffuser blowing would greatly help this, as it produces most of the downforce at the rear of the car, which provides a stabilizing effect.

    Perhaps a change in driving style will come into play, where the driver leaves his foot on the throttle slightly longer to provide a bit more downforce. I am not sure how viable that would be, but it would be interesting to see throttle traces when the rule comes into effect.

    But I agree that the main reason behind this is the increased fuel usage. The headline that came out after Australia, where Renault and Red Bull used 10% more fuel just by pumping raw fuel into the exhaust, can’t be looked at as very positive in the eyes of the FIA. Here they are trying to be green with hybrid F1 cars and a move to smaller engines with more of a hybrid effect in 2013, and two top teams are greatly increasing their fuel consumption; this certainly is a bad image to convey to the general public.

    1. One more thing:

      While Renault and Red Bull may not be pioneers in the technology, they are certainly at the forefront of its development. A year ago, they were only able to use it for a few laps at a time, so clearly the technology was far from refined (too much heat, etc.).

      Now they can run it for the entire race distance, which is a huge technological advancement, in terms of making the exhaust tough enough to handle burning fuel and the excess heat generated, ensuring everything around the exhaust can handle the heat, as well as anything downstream of the exhaust outlet.

      In case my words are taken the wrong way, I didn’t mean to imply that such a system is easy to incorporate, just that it’s been done before.

      1. Born 1950 says:

        Thanks for the technical detail — it’s appreciated.

        It’s the technology of race cars that I love — all the glitz and glamour leaves me cold.

  18. MAS says:

    Thank you James, that does answer some questions that sprang to mind when I first read about this.

    I still think the timing of this decision was very poor (regulatory politics notwithstanding). If I understand the technology correctly, the ability to retard the ignition is very important for the EDB to work and without it, it can be quite unstable (most of my understanding of the issue comes from here: http://scarbsf1.wordpress.com/2010/07/10/red-bull-map-q-the-secret-to-the-teams-q3-pace/ ).

    So it seems to me that banning the over-run will have major consequences for a. safety and b. the direction of car-development and with the latter the teams’ finances. So while I mostly agree with the reasons for banning the practice I still don’t think it was right for the FIA to try to do it this so suddenly, on such short notice.

    Furthermore, they knew about it since last season and there have been more opportune moments to implement a ban of this magnitude. I can think of no compelling reason this should be rushed through now. Putting the ban on hold was definitely the right thing to do (again, presuming I understand the technology).

  19. quetric says:

    These engine mappings aren’t new, the’ve been used last year as well by RedBull, maybe others, so the FIA had their chance to ban the device fairly, before the season started. Now it just looks like they want to reel RedBull in and have more competition. Don’t the teams have any say in this?

    James, can you provide any insight into how much fuel is wasted over the course of a GP by the over-run? How much time is gained by downforce and how much lost by fuel weight?

    1. James Allen says:

      I saw Renault claiming it was around 20%

      1. quetric says:

        Going by your estimates in your previous article on F1 fuels, that would amount to about a minute lost because of extra fuel weight over the course of a GP (might be more if we account for the extra tyre wear). Obviously they get more back from the downforce, seconds per lap maybe.

        Engineering is often the science of compromise and this is a great example of that. For me at least technical innovation is as much part of the show as the overtaking. It’s a pity really that innovations keep getting banned. I guess the upside is we’ll get to see something new and unexpected next year. There will always be loopholes in the rules.

        Another question for you James: how much do the teams pay for fuel? All that research into additives can’t come cheap. If the FIAs goal is to cut costs and be more ‘relevant’, wouldn’t it be better to use regular fuel?

  20. Cyprus-Toon says:

    I bet Christian Horner wasnt too far off the mark with his comment above & if it’s anything to do with Jean Todt’s, you can bet Ferrari have something to do with it too…. maybe its them who’ve fallen behind this season have made there feeling known & Jean Todt’s has put pressure on the F1A to do something about it before the season gets away from them completely… at least McLaren were there or there abouts in regards RB’s lap times…

    1. AgBNYC says:

      ahem… on my Television feed, the only ones giving Red Bull a tough time in Turkey was Alonso who had no new tires (RB saved theirs in Q3)…..

    2. Tone says:

      This Jean Todd conspiracy is getting boring. If memory serves, JT was kicked out by Montezemelo. Do you really believe he would want to Ferrari any favors?

    3. Andy c says:

      Don’t agree. Ferrari are completely anti the new engine rules so I doubt it would be Ferrari led.

      I think the whole story originated when Renault told everyone how much fuel they were wasting. Hardly fits in with the fia green agenda does it ( not that manufacturing batteries for kers is environmentally friendly).

      1. Christopher Snowdon says:

        JT has more honour that I assure you, and I’m sure James will testify as much!!!

  21. As I understand it, and perhaps James can clarify this, the basis for the change is that they are considering the throttle to be functioning as a moveable aerodynamic device.

    1. Jonathan Lodge says:

      Interestingly the throttle is no longer a throttle! The pedal on the Red Bull has become a spark timing device. So there is no moveable device as such as the pedal would now be a potentiometer and merely alter electrical signals.

      On another point I see that the Red Bull and Lotus Renault are the 2 teams most noticeably using this concept. They probably have most to lose as the Renault power plant is often cited as the most fuel efficient. This would mean they would ordinarily use less fuel and have a bigger margin to play with.

      I believe that Red Bull’s ability to use the overrun effect all race long this year would be almost entirely down to the build of the exhaust construction. I have stated before that I believe the concept can actually cool the engine as the fuel remains unburnt in the cylinder and combustion mostly takes place in the exhaust manifold.

      1. If they have indeed removed their throttle body and associated valves then perhaps that explains why the FIA have now reversed their decision to ban the overrun effect for Barcelona. Maybe they can’t cite the moveable aerodynamic devices as a means to eliminate the overrun?

        This is cool stuff! The engineers in F1 are amazing.

      2. Tone says:

        I wonder how input the driver has in all of this, from the sounds of it – not very much. So therefore, can it be seen as a driver aid, thus banned?

  22. jonrob says:

    “Also the turbo engines of 2013 will not work so well with the devices anyway as the turbos and the generators for the hybrid system will take a lot of the energy out of the exhaust gas”

    Ideally of course as far as the engine efficiency is concerned you need the exhaust gas to be cold with just enough energy to flop out of the pipe. (this is very nearly achieved with compound three cylinder steam engines)
    All sound and heat coming from the car is an energy loss. (So somewhat bemused by the debate on giving electric cars artificial car noises)
    Using the exhaust gas as an energy source is theoretically using energy which would otherwise be lost. This new rule stopping extra flow during the overrun will of course remove some downforce as the driver lifts in order to brake for a corner leading to back end awaydays. Another option (which one used to use in low powered karting) used in rallying is to keep the foot firmly on the throttle whilst braking thus still generating the gas flow, and taking trail braking to an interesting level.
    Clutch slip would be another way or some other transmission slip, (magnetic fluid clutch or some type of CVT to auto rev up)

    Is the tunnel floor truly dead yet for 2013, or have we to wait a little longer?

  23. Sasquatsch says:

    IMHO opinion, the clampdown is to close a loophole in the technical regulations (3.15 in particular), just as the F-Duct was banned.

    Since the over-run of the exhaust is purely to improve downforce/aerodynamics and has no other function, it is not allowed according to (the spirit of) the rule. One can argue about moving parts of the car being applied (such as brake or throttle pedal). By mentioning the engine as part of the car in these rules the over-run becomes illegal.

    But that’s my interpretation of this rule.

  24. ram says:

    Its just another example of the fia chaos.They couldnt run a carwash properly.nothing they do or dont do is a surprise.Think logic,and then do the oposite.

  25. ed24f1 says:

    The fact that the decision has been delayed for 3 races means that even more money will be wasted, as Ferrari, McLaren etc. cannot afford not to further develop their engine mapping for the sake of their performance in these three races.

    The whole situation is absurd.

  26. Steven says:

    I honestly dont see a problem for the EBD, or a reason to ban it. F1 is about technical innovation, not about being “green”. Its not a safety issue as the drivers dont have to do anything for it to work. FIA, just leave this one alone…

  27. jonrob says:

    It’s a little ironic that what started off as a brilliant use of previously wasted energy, has ended up using more fuel than before.

    Still if the “reheat” is banned then there should be about a 20kg fuel weight saving.

  28. Steven Lissemore says:

    Why don’t the FIA just designate where the exhaust can exit, i.e. either side of the rear crash structure? And only into open air, not up against a surface.

    1. Rich C says:

      In fact, why don’t they just specify *everything and then there’s be no need for all the R&D expenses! No more wind tunnels, no more special “fuels”, no more endless miles of testing!

      We could have a spec series! And all the money saved could be put to better use in all the PR stuff like motor-palaces and entertainment!

      1. LT says:

        and just be another Indycar??? No thanks!! Big part of what keeps me interested in F1 is the technical innovation

      2. Rich C says:

        Me too. But sadly the FIA seems hell-bent on stifling innovation in the name of… whatever.

        It seems all their announcements, pronouncements and rules changes are aimed at one thing: telling designers what they can NOT do.

        Elsewhere in these pages people have listed all the advancements they attribute to F1. They may or may not be correct, but I would challenge them to find very many of those advances actually *on an F1 car today!

        Grandma’s Caddy has more technology on it than an F1 car!

        No, LMP is the “pinnacle” of motorsport today.

  29. Luc Charlier says:

    My guess is that FIA don’t want both Championships decided too early so… they have probably aimed at main RB advantage (their massive downforce).

  30. Dr Prozac says:

    Thanks for some information James. Two things :) :

    Firstly according to Craig Scarborough and Jean Claude Migeot exhaust blowing in turbo cars was actually twice as effective in cars with N/A engines (as far as the gas momentum is considered). Keep in mind that the turbocharger forces more air to the system, allowing the engine to burn more fuel. This produces more exhaust gases.

    My second point will be in regard to this quote
    “Well it’s not very efficient for a start. It increases fuel consumption and is not environmentally a very attractive thing to do.”

    The green racing thing is plain BS for me. But I can understand that the marketing/PR people need to take this fashion into account.

    The problem is that they are completely missing the point! It is said that Renault and RBR have such aggressive engine maps because the Renault engine is efficient. This allows allows them to safe fuel and use it in a different way.
    So the more fuel efficient engine gives those teams an edge over their competitors with thirstier, but more powerful engines. And this advantage comes in aerodynamics, which are (practically) unrelated to engine technology.

    I mean this is an marketing dream!

    And you’d be surprised how many F1 fans actually consider lack of road relevance (which in fact is, and always was, mostly a myth) a good thing. And how many hate the fact that FIA bans every interesting or exciting technology. Many people will say that they did it to slow RBR down – this isn’t good for the sport’s image.
    We want to watch world’s best drivers racing in world’s fastest and most advanced cars.
    If I’d want more road relevant cars I’d watch rallying, touring cars or perhaps endurance racing.

    And how exactly does this constant changing the rules encourage cost-cutting? It’s quite the opposite.

    Regards,
    DR.

    1. Dr Prozac says:

      I’ve meant that diffuser blowing was twice as effective on turbo cars than it is on cars with N/A engines. Sorry, I haven’t had much sleep this night ;)

      There’s actually a different issue here. The current cars were built around the EBD concept. They were tested with it. Retarded ignition is a big part of it, because it helps to eliminate one of the biggest problems of diffuser blowing – throttle position related aerodynamic balance.

      Banning it during the season is actually quite irresponsible. It will not only cost the teams some performance, but it will also make the cars more twitchy and decrease safety.
      On top of this they’ve reduced the overall downforce (especially on rear wheels) by quite a margin compared to last year. Most of this downforce was regained by the beam wing and EBDs. And the drivers need to exploit DRS as much as possible during qualifing, which makes diffuser related downforce even more important.

      It reminds me a bit year 1994. I know that I’m exaggerating, but banning all driver aids at once had a similar effect – the teams weren’t prepared to deal with it. And testing wasn’t even banned..
      We don’t know how this contributed to Senna’s and Ratzenberge’s deaths, but I’d expect FIA to be more cautious with rule changes..

      1. They can set up the cars to work without it. They managed to do it in 2010, when the system was only used in qualifying. They’ll have to change the set-up, but I doubt it’ll be a safety issue. Might just set them back for a race or two (if that) while they dial in the car.

      2. Actually, I bet Red Bull could dial in the car in the simulator and 7-post rig, and show up at Catalunya tomorrow with pole-worthy car.

      3. Dr Prozac says:

        It’s different than in 2010. As I said, the cars were built around the EBD concept. 2010 cars weren’t (except RB 6, though the EBD was more of an addition to the package).

        In 2011 they reduced the diffuser-generated downforce greatly by decreasing the maximum hight and closing the DDD loophole.

        Given that a big portion of that downforce has been regained by more efficient diffuser blowing solutions, banning retarded ignition* will have a bigger effect on car’s balance.

        Keep in mind that throttle sensitivity was the reason why teams abounded diffuser blowing in the past.

        And think about Renault’s solution. Who knows how it will behave without it?

        While I doubt that it will be really dangerous and expect teams to cope with it, the decision is still bad also from safety point of view. It’s also bad for many different reasons – this was more of a digression than the main point.

        I wonder if they will find some sort of a loophole. I hope so :)

        * actually reducing to almost non-existent it’s effect by limiting maximum throttle opening

      4. Andy c says:

        There is so much conjecture about Ayrtons death, but I don’t see a direct link on driver aids. Yes, the 94 Williams handled badly but I don’t think that was directly involved.

        Similarly ratzenbergers crash was supposedly a technical failure.

        I do understand your point though that banning things is not always positive.

      5. Dr Prozac says:

        As I said, it was a exaggeration. But IIRC many drivers, including Senna, said that it was a dangerous decision.

        Ratzenberger lost his front wing, driver aids wouldn’t have helped him.
        As for Senna, it depends on which of the numerous theories is true.
        If it was due to too low ride hight, bottoming out or some similar instability they would help. It wouldn’t help with the steering column failure, of course.

        But as you said, this wasn’t my point ;) If they really want to ban it (which imho is a stupid decision), they should wait till the end of the season.

    2. iceman says:

      Exhaust blowing from a turbo being twice as effective as from an NA engine – what is being compared there? Engines of equivalent capacity? If so I’m sure it’s true; as you say, the turbo engine will be stuffing more mixture in and getting more exhaust gas out.
      But if you compared engines of equivalent power – say a 2l turbo and a 4l NA both making 500hp – then I suspect things will be different. They will both be burning similar amounts of fuel to make that power, so producing similar amounts of exhaust gas, but the turbo will then be robbing some of the energy from the exhaust.
      If the new turbo F1 engines make similar power to the current ones, then I think it’s probably true that they will be less effective at blowing the diffuser.

  31. B Martin says:

    Hasn’t the majority of the research money already been spent on this? It should have been banned last year when only RB had it. Also, the cost saving argument doesn’t seem to hold water. Those engineers would be working on some aspect of tuning the design if there wasn’t a blown diffuser to work on.

    1. Andy c says:

      Absolutely. Just as with the f duct, the money has been spent I guess the only saving is continual dev.

      1. Dr Prozac says:

        I wouldn’t consider it saving. The money they won’t spent on continual development will be spent on developing something different (which will give a smaller gain).
        The money they’ve spent on the initial development will be simply lost. Thrown away. And I guess that in many cases it’s much bigger than the future spendings (F-Duct for example).

        In this case it’s even worse – you can’t exactly develop engine-maps more. And lack of retarded ignition will make EBD development harder. Or even make some of the current developed solutions worthless.

        But the FIA will still say that their decision saves money. They always do.

  32. negat says:

    I’m slightly confused about why F1 has to be, or seen to be, environmentally sound. Grand Prix are effectively one off spectacular events and are about innovation and speed. And I furthermore don’t get the reason why it’s considered virtuous for F1 tech. to be motor industry compatible. Who came up with these ineffectual ideas. They only amount to swanky PR anyway.

    1. F1 influences the world around it. F1 made turbos cool in the 80s, and tons of road cars had them. F1 can make hybrids cool (and they are starting to).

      Having them dump raw fuel into the exhaust to make more downforce via an exhaust-blown diffuser is definitely counter-productive.

      Also, try telling that “isolated” story to sponsors that are also trying to get a green image. They won’t be happy when the headlines say that their team is using up to 20% more fuel when they are off-throttle just to get more downforce.

      1. Dr Prozac says:

        It is not counter productive. Firstly, nothing that makes a race car faster is counter productive. Saying so is ridiculous.

        Secondly, it can be turned into good marketing/PR easily. Even very good one.

        Renault has a less powerful, but more fuel efficient engine. This efficiency allows them to use the saved fuel to gain an edge over their competitors by better aerodynamic performance.

        Instead of saying that they use more fuel*, just say that having an fuel efficient engine is a big advantage. And that this advantage comes from better aerodynamic performance directly thanks to the saved fuel.

        It’s good marketing on so many different levels. Interesting technology, sophisticated aerodynamics, engine efficiency better (at least in the PR image we are creating) than bigger power etc. You just need to market it in a clever way.

        But of course no one cars about the sport’s image. The FIA just wants to show that they are the good, environment friendly people, and the teams are those bad, fuel burning ignorant ones.

        And do you really think that a casual F1 fan knows how EBD work, what’s retarded ignition, how much extra fuel the teams are using to make it work? Or that the above marketing talk is half true/half BS (as always)?
        Do you think that the average F1 viewer cares that they use some fuel in a different way?
        If you tell him over and over again what I’ve wrote above he will believe in it and prise it.

        Hardcore F1 fans will know better, but still it’s true in many aspects (just exaggerated, as all marketing talk).

        *- which isn’t bad if it makes the car faster. That’s what fuel is about, isn’t it?

      2. Ok, that may work for Renault’s website and press releases, but how are they going to get all the news agencies to toe the same line?

        Simple fact: they aren’t.

        The news will pick up on the fact that 20% of the fuel is being dumped through the engine.

        That IS counter-productive in the overall scheme of things, taking into account the image of the team, the image of F1, the sport’s credibility on the world stage, and lap times.

        It would be like saying “lets get rid of the roll bar!”, and saying it’s not counter-productive because it’ll make the car faster. Even though the car is faster, overall it is counter-productive because if the car rolls, the driver will likely die.

        Basically, teams can spin the news in their press releases, but Autosport, BBC, et al, will all see right through it and report on how fuel is being dumped through the engine and into the exhaust to burn. Then all it takes is someone to point out that not all the fuel will burn completely in the exhaust and that LOTS of VOC’s will end up being pushed out the exhaust-pipe on over-run, and environmental groups will be jumping over F1 far more than they already are.

        All the average viewer needs to hear is 20% more fuel used and fuel being dumped into the exhaust, and even the most casual viewer can draw their own conclusions from that. People talk about the “casual viewer” as if they have an IQ of 40, watch American Wrestling, love NASCAR for the crashes and have the math skills of an 8 year old child.

        Let me put it this way:

        Burning 20% more fuel = bad.

      3. Dr Prozac says:

        Plus allow some fuel-efficiency tweaks in the engine. Reasonably limited.

        Than the manufacturer will be able to say that they improved their engines to be more fuel efficient and gained performance thanks to it. And that this experience will help to make their road car engines greener (sure it will :) )

        The FIA could say not only work on better rules for the future, but also act now to encourage development of environmental friendly engine technology.

  33. Rich C says:

    Y’know, I have gotten sooo damn tired of the FIA farting around with things that I would now support *any breakaway series that did not need them as a sanctioning body!

    Even if it meant letting 3-Car Monte run it to his own benefit.

  34. Oliver says:

    Hi James,

    Read a story on F1 Fanatic, that states Red Bull deny breaking the testing regulations.

    This comes after the driver they used on a “straight line test” reported that his neck muscles were hurting after 400 km of testing in the rb7 on twitter… Sounds fishy to me..

    Is there anything more to this?

    1. James Allen says:

      Dunno, but it seems everyone is accusing them of breaking rules in every area. That’s what happens when you are winning…

      1. MrExasperated says:

        When any team has such a debilitating advantage over the rest, its only to be expected that there is accusation of breaking the rules.

        I actually believe Red Bull are bending the rules by about as much as the front wing is bending!

        With the very real threat of both championships being sewn up prior to the summer break, Red Bull may like winning and making it look so easy (especially in Q3 where they seem to ‘switch something on’), but they are actually doing a dis-service to F1 because if I see that the championship is decided by half distance, I wont even bother watching the remainder of the races, and I am sure there must be many who feel the same.

        Maybe it really is time for a spec series so we can see a real shoot-out between drivers in equal cars and not designers.

      2. Christopher Snowdon says:

        Utter nonsense, how can a team be doing formula one a disservice by winning? Red Bull allegiance is to itself and it sponsor’s, not to formula one fans. However if they did what you say and slowed down to keep the spectacle going, then they would be doing formula one a disservice, on the basis of they are not throwing all their effort at it.

        Ps – I support the Force India team, they will probably not get a podium this year, doesn’t stop me watching and supporting them, and enjoying the spectacle that is F1.

      3. “Maybe it really is time for a spec series so we can see a real shoot-out between drivers in equal cars and not designers.”

        It’s called GP2. We get to see it every year.

      4. MrExasperated says:

        To answer Christopher because I cannot seem to reply to him directly;

        Maybe I didnt express myself clearly enough, what I mean is that by Red Bull obviously bending at the very least the interpretation of the rules, they are doing a dis-service to F1.

        I am sure Newey is clever enough to do it without all the ‘grey areas’ and tricks.

        And to answer Malcolm;

        They are making the car so devastatingly fast that you could put Luca Badoer in it and win :) How’s that a drivers championship??

        I am still waiting for Vettel to show us he can really overtake without binning it (eg. Turkey and Spa last year).

    2. Craig says:

      Are the neck muscles also not used during braking? Less so during acceleration because you can rest your head against the back of the cockpit.

  35. Michael says:

    This makes me think back to some cars from to the good old days, the Chaparral 2J & the Brabham BT46B.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cvY2UFgFQs&feature=player_embedded#at=124

  36. Simon K says:

    As quoted “It’s also an area which has zero relevance to the road car industry or to society generally” Whilst there are innovations that eventually reach road cars I don’t see why this is an issue. With the risk of sounding un’pc this is the pinnacle of motorsport and do not see the relevance as to whether an innovation on an F1 car will have any significance to a road car or society. F1 is not here to save the planet and think the green issue is getting completely out of hand. Also as mentioned in previous comments we constantly here about cost cutting so why are changes made as often as they are? Confused as to the FIA’s thinking as all these changes cost money.

    1. Rich C says:

      The words “FIA” and “thinking” do NOT belong in the same sentence. -1 for you!

  37. Gravelrash says:

    Great article James . Keep the tech stuff coming. This sort of info was impossible to come by even a couple of years ago. Now it just adds to the interest in F1. You seem to have just the right mix of technical and strategy articles…. For me at least.
    Hope to see more of you on OneHD

  38. RDW says:

    Mclaren has environmental considerations in it’s mtc.

    It is an incredibly green building. Does that mean f1 is anything but resource sapping? No, but not because of fuel usage. The carbon footprint from travel outweighs anything else the teams do or could do to lessen their ‘footprint’

  39. Alex W says:

    This is nothing more than a form of racism for pistons over diffusers. The piston is moved by aerodynamic downforce (higher pressure on top of the piston than below) so it is an aerodynamic device, the only difference is the downforce on the piston is used to turn the wheels, whereas the diffuser downforce is used to push the wheels down.

    And this talk of waste is rubbish, it isn’t wasteful otherwise they wouldn’t do it. By the “waste” logic, wings are wasteful because the add drag, and by definition, fuel consumption.

    1. Dr Prozac says:

      And engine is wasteful because it burns fuel.

      Maybe the road relevance talk isn’t BS – they will construct a perpetuum mobile :)

      Tires are a waste too – due to friction they increase fuel consumption. Let’s make them less grippy!

  40. Matt says:

    I’m getting fed up of the suffocation of innovation in Formula One since 2005, in the name of being environmentally friendly. The points you make in the article James are well noted, such as the lack of relevance in the overrun effect to road cars or society. But I doubt that the *majority* of the public will ever view F1 cars as relevant to society or the cars they drive.

    F1 has brought many innovations to road cars that people take for granted such as crumple zones, traction control, semi automatic gearboxes, carbonfibre construction among others. Yet many just write F1 off as “that boring sport where people drive round in circles.”

    Another post on this site made a very good point about F1 being green when it suits them. F1 is not about to save the planet or lead the way in so-called environmental friendliness. F1 looks environmentally frivolous-OK, I would struggle to argue that it is not-but on a global scale it’s contribution is negligible.

    It’s a shame that politics-and very incompetent politics at that-from the FIA in making the rules is taking F1 towards a spec series.

  41. kirbs says:

    Red Bull have done a fantastic job with the blown diffuser and use it to probably its maximum advantage as they developed it initially and probably base much of their car around it such as running a high rake which enables them to get their front wing so close to the ground. But there have been many examples of teams coming up with fantastic ideas which are subsequently banned (the double diffuser and McLarens F-Duct to name a couple).
    What the FIA are trying to do is minimise the performance gap between the cars so as to make the championship more fairly geared towards the driver as well. With Red Bull and Sebestian Vettle runaway leaders after only 4 races does nothing for the championship. Who wants the championship to be over before midway through the season?
    All this about the blown diffuser being inefficient and not related to road cars is just a smokescreen to change the rules to make the cars more similar so that qualifing is won by maybe a tenth or two and not the 8 tenth’s to 1 and a half seconds Vettle is dominating it by at the moment.
    We will then see even closer racing which is what everyone wants anyway.

  42. Tom in adelaide says:

    Couldn’t they stick the gearbox into N under breaking and keep the revs high whilst cornering?

    Obviously im missing something……!

  43. Al JAckson says:

    What would happen if the fans started to object to illegal cars, if the gap between pole and last is over 107% you would have to be crazy not to raise the legality aspect for your sponsors sake more than anything else. This is going to ruin this season as cheating is always a hard pill to swallow when it starts to be branded about, this could seriously affect the support of the leading teams and the brands they are sponsored by. It needs proving one way or the other, if it is to be banned anyway at the end of the year why not make the method and gains public to help understand how the FIA and the teams got it so wrong.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Top Tags
SEARCH McLaren Mercedes
JA ON F1 In association with...
Download the chequered flag podcast today
Download the chequered flag podcast today
Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer