Buried deep in the transcript of yesterday’s FIA press conference at Monaco is an explanation from Red Bull’s Adrian Newey of why the FIA had to row back on the off-throttle exhaust ban they tried to introduce in Spain.
Clearly the exhaust valve cooling was Renault’s argument that persuaded the FIA to relent on the ban on a technology that is known by F1 engineers as “TD015”.
Other rival engineers tell me that this argument doesn’t really stack up, but here’s how Newey explains it,
“The key to 3.15 (the article in the rules which the FIA says the system violates) is that it talks about ‘driver over-run then the throttle should be closed’ then in brackets ‘idle speed’ so it seems to be implying that the throttle should be closed at idle, which it clearly is,” said Newey.
“What the throttle does on over-run at other times is not clear in the regulations, not as expected.
“Certainly, in the case of Renault, then they open the throttle to full open on the over-run for exhaust valve cooling, and that’s part of the reliability of the engine. It has been signed off through the years for dyno testing and for them to change that would be quite a big issue, because the engine’s not proven that it would be reliable if the throttle remained closed in that situation.
“Obviously if other people are going further and perhaps firing the engine on the over-run then clearly exhaust valve cooling is not part of that and that would be something that presumably they would need to explain to keep Charlie (Whiting, technical delegate) happy.”
Last I heard the teams had been given until Silverstone to phase it out.
Newey also admitted in the same press conference that he has underestimated the value of KERS and hasn’t staffed the team appropriately to deal with it. In races this season KERS has been unreliable, with the effect that the drivers have really only had it at the starts and not much more of the time. As McLaren close in on pace, this is becoming a big problem for Red Bull,
“It is not our forte, we are an aero chassis manufacturing group rather than a KERS group,” Newey said.
“The department is quite small, with hindsight probably a little too small, and there is a lot of inertia to these things. It’s quite difficult to react quickly to a problem.”