What’s going on with Red Bull over controversial aero move on camera position?
Innovation
Controversial-camera-positions
Posted By: James Allen  |  22 May 2014   |  4:08 pm GMT  |  60 comments

Red Bull raised some eyebrows at the start of the year by positioning the on board TV camera in a place which, while clearly innovative in the thinking behind it, other teams felt was not permitted.

In Monaco the situation appears to have been resolved with the FIA instructing the team to fall in line and place them outboard, as the rules indicate.

So what does this mean and how significant is it?

As always, JA on F1 technical adviser and former McLaren, Williams and Toyota senior engineer Mark Gillan has the answer:

The interaction of the cameras with the rest of the car, and in particular the inboard legs of the front suspension, is important – clearly Red Bull effectively removed that interaction by cleverly embedding the camera housing in the ‘vanity’ panel region; a relatively aero benign area (see picture from early races above)


Spain
Pictures above from Spain show Renault and Total livery appearing to have been moved closer together to give an impression of a different longitudinal location for the camera.


Monaco
The latest pictures from XPB at Monaco show how Red Bull have had to adopt a more conventional camera location (for FiA camera location #2), with ‘ears’ connecting the camera housings to the chassis and the removal of the step in the vanity panel, which was used to house the camera.

Red Bull will have done their best to minimise any aero loss from this set-up, but given their delay in adopting it the new design is probably at best aero neutral and more likely to be slightly detrimental to their performance.

* The FIA regulation on the TV camera mountings is below: Click to enlarge graphic.


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60 Comments
  1. Gaz Boy says:

    It’s called finding or exploiting a loophole until the other teams or FIA (or both) catch up………
    Any design team that follows the regulations to the letter of the law is foolish at best and missing a trick at worst. F1 design teams should always try to exploit the regulations. Not break the rules – just be ahead of them!
    That’s possibly where Ferrari and Macca are going wrong…………they have designed cars that fully comply with the rules instead of creating a machine that is border-line legal but very competitive……
    Even with the regs being incredibly stifling (compared to the past) F1 rewards creative and lateral thinking in terms of lap time.

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      PS What exactly do the drivers do on the Friday off? Get together to play backgammon or roulette at the casino? Go swimming in the ahem, pristine waters of the med? PR work? Meet and greet? Or just go back to their teams motorhomes (that’s assuming the teams can actually find space for their gin palaces) and analyse the date until their all blue in the face?

      1. J Hancock says:

        Promo, promo, promo.
        .
        Except for Kimi who will be sat on his boat in the sun drinking vodka and eating ice cream.

      2. Lindsay says:

        Kimi knows what’s important.

      3. adrianha says:

        I think they go to this fashion show https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MR91rujGjF8.

      4. build says:

        You gave Aussies a laugh with this typo “analyse the date” in Aussie slang … well see for yourself.
        http://www.koalanet.com.au/australian-slang.html

        beers,
        build

      5. Gaz Boy says:

        Thanks! I never knew that!
        That’s probably what a driver thinks when he’s coming up to lap/get past Pastor……..

    2. Mhilgtx says:

      It’s always better to beg for forgiveness than to ask perdition in these things.

    3. Simple says:

      Mclarens rear suspension isn’t pushing the limit of regs? It might not work, buts bushing the limit.

      1. Alec Tronnick says:

        If the Maccas were dominating instead of the Mercs everyone would be complaining about their rear susp!

    4. FletcherB says:

      Gaz said”Any design team that follows the regulations to the letter of the law is foolish at best and missing a trick at worst.”

      Actually… its the letter of the law (i.e., exactly what is written) that ABSOLUTELY MUST be followed… It’s the intention behind why it was written that you can try to avoid…

      You’ve sucesfully found a “loophole” when your design avoids the intended meaning while still fulfilling what’s actually written….

    5. C63 says:

      @GazBoy
      Any design team that follows the regulations to the letter of the law is foolish …

      Surely it’s the letter of the law that they follow rather than the spirit? That was how the Bulls got away with their tricky engine map that was originally declared illegal and then allowed on appeal – if I remember correctly the FIA reworded the reg’s before the following race to close the loophole .

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        Actually C63, you are spot on – the spirit of the regs and the actual meaning are very different………..
        As I said, a good designer will always be ahead of the rules, not actually break them! Think double diffusers and exhaust blowing………just clever manipulation of a grey area in the regs…..

  2. Pkara says:

    Red Bull are always trying it on with F.I.A regs. They seem to think the rules should be on their terms. Toys out the Red Bull pram & no more sugary sweets for M.r.Horner et al :-D

    1. Jonathan says:

      sugary sweets? He has no use for them – all he has to do is consume a bit more of the poisoned water his employers make!

      1. maanz says:

        awww,,,harsh words ….dont be so jealouse if they performed better than others over the past few years….and if you guys blame them for bad show then curse mercedes as well .. ;)

      2. Jonathan says:

        for once my comment had nothing to do with F1. All fizzy pop drinks are poison!

        I am no fan of the way RBR have gone about their approach to some of the rules but one has to admire their dedication and attention to detail – all of which makes you wonder why Vettel has taken so long to adjust his driving style for this years cars.

  3. franed says:

    You have been told before, you are not Ferrari so cannot do as you like!

    Mind you it makes one wonder how the scrutineers missed it so many times!

    1. Doobs says:

      I think they were asked to fix it sooner, but didn’t.

  4. Victor says:

    James, it took me a little while to appreciate the features in the pics. Maybe encircling the interesting features in red (or other marking) would help for a quicker reading. Thanks for the insight!

    1. Steve JR says:

      +1

    2. Paul says:

      I still have no idea what I’m looking at here. Highlighting would be much appreciated.

    3. Agree – I struggled to appreciate what it was we were looking at. Then when it dawned on me (i.e. the “hump” on top of the section just in front of the suspension arms) you just have to bow to the way Mr Newey’s mind can work out where the gaps are in the wording of the rules. On first read of the rules, coupled with the diagram, you think it is pretty plain cut as to what you are required to do, but read the rules without reference to the diagram and what they came up with fits within the wording. Maybe a breach of the intent of the rules but not the wording. You would think the rule makers would do a better job of the wording if this is an area where they don’t want any design lattitude (such as defining the type, style and placement of camera housings). This is interesting because I thought the camera housings were FOM-supplied pieces that the teams HAD to use to ensure no aero advantage/disadvantage when they wanted to run cameras on specific cars.

      1. Alec Tronnick says:

        My understanding is that they did use the FOM housing but they placed inside the bodywork with a small hole for the camera to see out.

  5. Jock Ulah says:

    They’re clearly doing it to have some fun.
    Gives the ‘rule-breaking’ brigade something to whine about.

    Entertaining nevertheless, although virtually benign.

  6. ManOnWheels says:

    Interesting: The rules don’t say any word about the cameras having to be outward, it’s just the drawing that suggests an outward position, but then again places the inner rear edge of the camera housing inside the nose body (if you take a very close look) and it doesn’t give any measure either. Taken seriously though, the pylons on the nose of the merc would be illegal too, as the housings touch the nose cone in that drawing, not any pylon that touches the nose.
    I find this a shaky argument, to be honest.

    I would rather opt for changing the rule for the next season and keep it like it is in this season.

  7. KB Davies says:

    This is not “finding or exploiting a loophole”, it is taking the piss.
    The FIA regulation on the TV camera mountings clearly show them ALL outside the cars – something all the teams apart from Red Bull managed to understand.
    I am surprised it took this long to issue them the order to rectify it. There is being smart, and there is being silly. RBR’s action is the latter.

    1. I disagree – the diagram serves only to show the “location” of the camera mounts, not the size, design or whether they HAVE to be inboard or outboard units. The wording is what is relied on to clarify the design elements and, in this case, it is lacking to the extent where the RB design falls within the prescribed parameters. I would say clever exploitation – outside of the intent of the rules maybe by not outside the wording.

      1. Ieuan says:

        The “location” of #2 is OUTSIDE the nose. unless you take it as a position from centre and have a massive wide nose then I don’t see how this could be possibly interpreted in any other way.

        They did not place it in the correct location, end of story.

  8. Phillip says:

    I thought I heard Martin Brundle suggest that a reason RBR had put the camera where they did was to prevent FOM fitting a rear facing camera and therefore showing to the world the underside of their car. Any merit in that argument?

  9. DaveC says:

    If it complies with the regulations it complies with the regulations. I’m sick of the FIA changing the rules half way through the season. You can’t make the rules and then go moving the bar cause someone came up withan innovative way of abiding by them.

    1. kenneth chapman says:

      @ DaveC….correct.

    2. Robert says:

      But they didn’t comply. The FIA diagram CLEARLY marks the location of the cameras as outside the box of the bodywork, not inside it. If they are in a bulge on the vanity panel then they are inboard of the body box, and illegal. There isn’t even any wiggle room on that diagram. Now, if they had gone to Charlie and asked for an interpretation, then perhaps it might have worked if he decided in their favour. But they didn’t, and so are clearly illegal.

      1. DaveC says:

        Article 20.3.4 states the cameras must lie within a box that is formed by two vertical lines 150mm and 450mm forward of the front wheel centerline of the front wheel centerline and two lines 325mm and 525mm above the reference plane” the RB10 complied with this, I think there solution is much more astheticly pleasing and think the others should follow suit

    3. Ieuan says:

      If it complies with the regulations it complies with the regulations.
      ——–

      I agree, but it DOESN’T comply. The diagram is part of the rules and clearly shows the position required. That’s the reason there was no need for third dimension in the actual text.

  10. Jb says:

    It is sad that FIA prohibits creativity.
    Now, what say we get rid of all those d0ng noses.

    1. Cos says:

      @ Jb … hahaha somehow me thinks that wont happen…next season, well we live in hope. To be fair I am all for function over form…but this years cars really are the exception to the rule. Ive read and hear many arguments both pro and con…all I can say is, if its a safety thing surely the pinical of motorsport can come up with something more asthetically pleasing whilst also being able to do its job….I mean just look at that piece of foam/plasticc the drivers lift the edge of the cabin to allow egress and entry.

  11. L Dalton says:

    Not like FOM even bother utilising the different camera positions in the coverage anymore, just the same angles from the same cars year after year! boring

    bring back the late 90′s attitude with the onboard cameras!!!!

  12. deancassady says:

    This innovative solution, well within the rules as documented, should have been allowed.

  13. Pedanticoldgit says:

    There was a time in F1 when the scrutineers were asked to judge the legality of four front wheels (for better turn in), a huge horizontal fan (for more downforce), active suspension, (computer controlled), and other ground breaking innovations.

    Now it’s the position of a TV camera to the nearest millimeter.

    Have we lost the plot?

    1. I agree – there are far, far bigger issues to be addressed than this. If they want a “standardised” location, format and shape of camera hosuing then they should write the rule (for next year) accordingly and maybe even provide approved parts to the teams to ensure compliance. Otherwise, accept that the rules allow some design differences and let them get on with it.

      1. Random 79 says:

        A you suggesting that all the teams use an FIA approved Gill’s camera mount? ;)

      2. Random 79 says:

        Of course that should be “Are you suggesting”.

        I really shouldn’t be doing this at 3am…

      3. Ieuan says:

        What? The issue probably took up 1/2 hour of the FIA’s time, so it hardly detracts from the bigger issues does it?

    2. Docjkm says:

      Very well observed. This is either mindlessly prissy, or criminally late, depending on the real impact of the violation, which I won’t pretend to understand (or care).

  14. John H says:

    Reading the regulation 20.3.4, it seems the Red Bull camera positioning is absolutely fine.

    1. Doobs says:

      What about the rest?

    2. Ieuan says:

      Yes it would seem that way if you only read half the regulation.

  15. Wild Man says:

    I have often wondered about the effect that these cameras have on aerodynamics. They look like they would not be beneficial to this very technical area of F1 design.

    So it is not surprising that Redbull would do something that removes this little “niggle” from the aerodynamic performance of their cars.

    1. Random 79 says:

      They’re supposed to be aero-neutral, but I suspect you might be right.

  16. uan says:

    the saddest part is that the other teams complained about the positioning, because they didn’t come with it themselves.

    I thought the camera position was one of the most interesting and fun design element of the entire season — considering how ugly the noses were.

    1. Random 79 says:

      “I thought the camera position was one of the most interesting and fun design element of the entire season”

      That’s probably the saddest statement I’ve read regarding 2014 :(

  17. chris says:

    It seems it’s a commercial issue (http://www.grandprix.com/ns/ns28053.html). I haven’t heard whether the change was compelled by the regulations (I suspect not) or the fear of pissing-off Bernie.

    1. Robert says:

      That is the most helpful post in the thread. So apparently their innovative mounts restrict Bernie’s TV Rights camera views…so Bernie wasn’t happy.

      That makes FAR more sense than the FIA and Charlie Whiting reviewing the impact, assessing the letter of the law, and coming to a reasoned judgement. Because as we all know, Bernie’s TV Rights trump all in Formula 1.

  18. Tom in Adelaide says:

    Shouldn’t the rules encourage the most efficient design?

    1. ManOnWheels says:

      Not at all. Rules should just encourage a design that meets the rule maker’s expectations, but designers are encouraged to find the most efficient design that meets the rules.

  19. Scott77 says:

    Have Red Bull actually changed this because the FIA said so, or have they changed this because it gives more downforce at a track where they are looking for every bit of downforce they can get. Yes, I know it also creates drag, but there are few straights at Monaco. Maybe they will change it back in Canada as I can’t see anything in the regs above that say the cameras must be mounted outside the nose. Maybe it’s mentioned elsewhere.

  20. Ahmed says:

    I have a question fr th experts. This regards RBR’s 2010 flexi front wing. Can anyone explain how they were getting it to pass scritineering and at the same time flex away during th races?

    Sorry, I know its an old topic

    1. juzh says:

      Test was conducted with 2 loads of 50kg being applied to both ends of FW. wing didnt flex then, but during the race the load on fw is much higher than that and so it could flex. fia subsequently repeatedly increased the loads on static load tests in order to prevent fw flexing. Its pretty much non existent now.

  21. Ahmed says:

    Its important to note tht a regulation isn’t simply read in isolation, the intention should as far as possible be given effect to

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