The controversy over the holes in the rear floor of the Red Bull, which appeared during the Bahrain Grand Prix in a car which has gone on to win two of the last three races, has been resolved.
After much discussion and threatened protests in Monaco, the FIA met with all team technical representatives after the race and issued a clarification at the end of the week in the form of a technical directive – like the ones banning off throttle blowing of the diffusers, issued last summer.
In essence, the FIA had originally accepted the concept from Red Bull as legal. But it was once implemented on the car and having heard representations from other teams about it, they’ve changed their minds and now say that the fact that there isn’t explicitly a rule banning the idea, doesn’t make it legal.
They now say it’s illegal, because it’s presence on the car must contravene other rules by association.
Red Bull’s idea is to have a hole in the floor ahead of the rear wheels, through which exhaust gases can blow into the channel of the diffuser, gaining downforce at the rear of the car, which has been severaly cut by the ban on blown diffusers this year.
Red Bull suffered rear end stability issues at the start of the season, which is why they got off to a slow start this year. The “enclosed hole” solution went a long way towards fixing that problem and the team has scored 45 points including two wins with it – more than any other team in that period.
Now they will have to find another solution to boosting rear end downforce.
This process is similar to the one that rival teams launched – unsuccesfully – against Mercedes over the double DRS system at the start of this season.
Because the FIA likes teams to run ideas past them first before implementation and then is open to reviewing their decision if other teams have an argument which proves illegality, the team is allowed to keep its results during the period the idea is on the car.
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