The Red Bull Renault engine map controversy
Posted By: James Allen  |  23 Jul 2012   |  10:38 am GMT  |  265 comments

F1 technicians are always in search of detailed innovations, which will give a competitive edge over their rivals, especially where the rules are not clearly worded.

At Hockenheim this weekend at the German Grand Prix, we saw an episode where an innovation from Red Bull and its engine partner Renault was allowed through because it was not covered by the rules, so even though the FIA’s own technical delegate Jo Bauer, felt he had found something in the engine mapping which was not allowed, when he referred it to the race stewards on Sunday they felt they had no choice but to let Red Bull race with it.

The Stewards’ statement said, “While the stewards do not accept all the arguments of the team, they however conclude that as the regulation is written, the map presented does not breach the text of Art 5.5.3 of the Formula 1 Technical Regulations and therefore decided to take no action.”

The F1 Technical Working group is meeting today in London and this will be on the agenda. In all probability the FIA will follow up this week with a rule clarification (known as a Technical Directive), which will outlaw the Red Bull/Renault idea before next week’s Hungarian Grand Prix, but it certainly served its purpose in Germany.

The idea was to use engine mapping to cut the torque at medium revs, which would certainly have helped with driveability in the wet conditions of practice and qualifying in Germany and would also have an aerodynamic benefit in slow corners; some of the fuel/air mixture finds its way into the exhausts to create post combustion – which blows hot exhaust gas under pressure down through the diffuser to create rear end downforce.

It’s very clever and shows the lengths teams will go to to find extra downforce. Bauer felt it was illegal because the rules say the connection between the opening of the throttle and the torque demand on the engine should be linear and in his view Red Bull was introducing a deviation in that process. Bauer had observed that the torque demand was less than at other recent races.

The rule that he felt Red Bull and Renault were trying to get around is new for this year and is designed to outlaw the practice of engines blowing exhaust gas into the diffuser even when the driver’s foot is off the throttle in a corner.

Engine maps are one of the dark arts of F1. Teams have various maps, controlled from the steering wheel by the driver; settings for fuel saving in the race, for example, for overtaking, or for setting the engine at the pit lane speed limit.

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I think this type of behaviour by Red Bull is very unsporting. They always seem to be the ones pushing the rules to the absolute limit - flexi wings last year, hole in the floor this year now EBD when its outlawed this year as well.

However you have to also say that the FIA are making a rod for their own backs here as well. If they really wanted the end to double diffusers and or EBD at the end of last year and to reduce the reliance on aero grip to allow the cars to follow each other more closely, then why not have a regulation whereby u have two exhaust pipes coming out of the rear of the car? Red Bull can then employ whatever maps they like to bend the rules to the limit or in this case the FIA have said well its not allowed but we haven't written the rules clearly enough so go on, carry on cheating and next race it will be banned. Its farcial.


As far as I'm concerned RBR have done absolutely nothing wrong. They didn't even find a loophole, it was a glaring omission! The rule only relates to 100% throttle - nothing else. Why the hell no other teams saw this HUGE opportunity I don't know.

Let's not forget McLarens F-Duct, Mercs double f-duct. Everyone pushes the limit of the rules and regulations because F1 is not just about 24 drivers driving around a circuit, it's a technological and development race.

RBR have not cheated, as suggested by many. Cheating means that they have broken the rules and they haven't. Simple.

Adrian Newey is the RBR designer, so you can be sure RBR will always be pushing the envelope, and that is a good thing. Innovation is what F1 is all about.

If they all had exactly the same cars - chassis, engine, the lot - you'd all be bitching that there is no innovation in F1 and that it's not a team sport any more and that it's boring.

I know this for a fact, cause we've seen it - A1 GP anybody???


I don't particularly like Red Bull but I admire how they come up with novel technical solutions to the problems imposed by the rules. The fact that the other teams are complaining and not doing the same thing is nothing to do with sportsmanship - they just simply aren't capable of doing it.

Let's forget all the silly rules, put a spending cap on each team, mandate safety critical design aspects and then let the teams do as they please! Let's have some variety. I want 6-wheel drive, 8 litre W12 engined cars where the driver faces backwards.


RB did not break any rule nor infringe on the spirit of the rules.

As i understand it, the regs specify a min torque @ min pedal and max torque @ max pedal.

IE they define 2 points for pedal / torque function.

--The regs do not specify (or infer) a linear or any other type of relationship.

Fair play!


Sorry Chris, (1) I don't agree with you. (2) [mod]. (3) I don't see that what they're doing is "cheating".
I reckon "Good on RBR for their inovation/thinking abillitys". Btw they're not blowing the difuser, the exaust gas/fumes/air pressure actually flows over the rear wing, not the difuser.
One thing that pisses me off though is the way the FIA quickly bans any ideas that teams come up with! I reckon they should encourage inovation.
It seems there are 2 lines of thought re what RBR is doing, (1) opening the throttles less than the accelerator pedal is requesting, (a form of traction control) or (2) achieving full throttle but not producing the amount of torque full throttle would normally produce, (achieving a coninued amount of exaust flow volume over the wing which helps to maintain rear downforce but without making enough torque to spin the wheels, and a form of traction control), (this would have to be related to ignition timing and/or fuel delivery). I don't have a problem with that sort of developement, I mean, it's not as costly as building/fabricating different engine /chassis /body /suspension components.
I suport Mark Weber 100%, RBR 50%, Vettal 3%, so I'm not sucking up to RBR, but I do admire clever inovation! It should be encouraged! Otherwise they should all be racing hotted up Formula Fords.


Thought the gasses were being blown into the hole of the starter motor which is part of the diffuser. mclaren tried this a year or two bk but were asked to widen the hole lessening the effect.


Ok so from using James' site my now enhanced understanding of this issue is as follows:

RBR have aimed their exhausts (as many others have too) at their rear wing to promote downforce. I think there is nothing wrong with this and it shows innovation by the teams to claw back the downforce lost from EBD's.

The issue for me remains in that RBR have intentionally altered their engine map to 1) keep a constant or higher than normal exhaust flow towards their rear wing and 2) to lower the torque from the engine at certain throttle positions which as a by-product is a form of traction control.

I believed that from prior regulations both using engine maps to blow diffusers or other other areas and for sure traction control were both banned.

This is why I personally think RBR are not adhering to the regulations as I understood them.


So innovation according to "PK" isn't designing and developing a new idea but going back into the past, looking at what was banned and then developing a underhand way to put on their car for 1 or 2 races before the FIA issue a technical directive banning its use (again).


Interesting thought, Chris, but my understanding is that because the EBD is banned this season, teams are still trying to achieve some benifit from the high speed exhaust gas energy, (and rightly so), by directing as much as possible of it to combine with and speed up the flow of air over/under the rear wing thereby helping to increase the downforce achieved by the wing. This means that RBR are not continuing with something that was banned, (as you suggest), but have branched out on a different route/inovation. (Which, incidently, most of the teams are doing). Regarding the engine mapping issue, it is clear that they havn't blatently "cheated" as some are saying, but are trying to achieve the best they can within the rules. They didn't break the rules, if they had the officials would have taken action. But due to the fact their interperation of the rules showed some clarification was in order, the stewards are now rewording it.



Chris: I don't know if you're new to F1 but pushing the boundaries is what makes this sport what it is. If a rule doesn't explicitly ban something, it's open to interpretation and exploitation. Red Bull isn't the first team to innovate around the rules.

As far as I'm concerned anything you can't be banned for is fair play. It keeps the sport interesting.

And "unsporting"? Give me a break. Leave sportsmanship to the drivers and let the engineers get on with innovation.


Lindsay, I am not new to F1 I have watched for quite a few years now and am enjoying this season especially where the cars are very closely matched.

To restate a reply earlier in the post I am not against technical innovation. Brawn's double diffuser, McLaren's F duct, Mercs double F duct - the list goes on - teams should be applauded for these innovations.

However Wayne adeptly explains what some people are starting to think of Red Bull:

"There is a difference between technical innovation and deliberate setting out to evade complying with the aim of a rule. The aim of the rule was very clear – to eliminate any form of induced traction control from the engine map. [and using the gasses to blow the diffuser] RBR have found a way to induce traction control from the engine map. They absolutely knew for a fact what the rule was aiming to do and ignored it completely"

They are of course using these gasses to hot blow their diffuser - something that apparently Vettel struggles to drive without - but anyhow again this is a clear move to go against complying with the rules.

Again to re-iterate this for me is not technical innovation - EBD was so last year.. This is about knowingly setting out to break the rule for 1 or 2 weekends - reep the benefits and then go back to normal with the technical directive comes out later this week.


Perhaps the point of the new regulations was to keep exhaust gasses from blowing the diffusers, but engine mapping wasn't the only thing the FIA legislated to stop it. That is what all the new regulations about exhaust pipe locations were about. If the aim of that rule was to keep exhaust gas away from the diffuser then every team has deliberately set about breaking the spirit of the rule by strategically designing side pods etc to direct gas flow back to the diffuser. Formula 1 is all about getting maximum performance within the regulations AS THEY ARE WRITTEN, and no team is aiming to meet some notion of the spirit of the rules. When the FIA limited wing size to reduce cornering speed I don't think there was a single team that didn't immediately begin work on clawing back that lost downforce. And I am 100% sure that no team said "We are just going to drive little slower through the turns because that is the spirit of the rules".

There is no spirit of the rules, and most of the rules are about slowing the cars down and the objective of the engineers is to make the cars go faster - it will always be a struggle between these two opposing forces and the more imaginative the engineer the harder the job is for the rule makers.


Vettel seemed to manage ok in Valencia....


Breaking news!: F1 team is first in history to push the rules to the limit! Fans outraged! Sky is falling! Stay tuned!

OK in all seriousness, no F1 engineer worth his salt will not try to find a loophole in the rules. If Red Bull were blatantly trying to cheat, wouldn't it follow that they would have attempted to hide the evidence of what they were doing?


Horner kept mentioning 'Renault think this... Renault that...' If Renault were the instigators why are these non-TC/non-Exhaust blowing maps on the Williams or Lotus or Caterham.. Horner deflecting again..


Completely agree, I'm sick of hearing about it. RBR constantly bring the sport in disrepute by pushing beyond the spirit of the rules and gaining short term advantage. They always seem to get away with it too. Who cares if it is banned for this weekend -they got the benefit of it this weekend. The rules may not have precisely legislated against that specific issue but they should be penalised properly foir taking the piss constantly (no idea how you legislate for that but there is a moral issue here).

This coupled with SV's constant sulky petulance must be harming the team's image with their fans surely? I certainly find nothing (other than Webber) to like about this team.


Wayne you hear about RBR pushing the limits of the regulations because they are the world champions and therefore are more likely to get the column inches in the media. However every team do it, its just that some never get reported. For example there wasns’t much reports in the media when Mclaren were told to change their floor before the Chinese GP as the FIA deemed the floor used at the first two races didn’t actually total comply with the regs.

I would also suggest that some people here go and read article 5.5.3, as there is no mention of mid rev range in this article therefore I personally can not see the FIA delegates point.


(+1) twincarbs i have to agree regardin article 5.5.3


So you think the Mclaren team should be beaten with a sackful of doorknobs for inventing the F duct in 2010 right?


F duct was deemed legal by the FIA no? So that is a totally different story.

This story is rather about a team constantly putting parts on its cars, that are shortly later found to have been not allowed. It races with those parts, have un unfair performance advantage from them and scores championship points with them on its cars. Later FIA kindly tells this team - fine just remove them and everything is fine. The points earned? Oh, no problem keep them.

If a team feel they have the freedom to say "there is nothing called the spirit of the regulations" and operate with that in mind, they should also take the consequences when they go over the limit. Had it been Ferrari doing what RB is doing now, media would be all over the place crying for them to be punnished. In RB's case nothing. I am not a Ferrari fan, but I will cite what a certain boss said once apon a time " enough of this hypocrisy"!


No Alex, if you followed the development you would KNOW that McLaren asked for got approval from the FIA to run the F-Duct before they raced it. RBR constantly choose not to do this because they know what the answer will be so they do not ask the question. Charlie is on record as saying he would prefer it if teams rane 'grey' develoopments past him first, some teams chhose to do so and some teams choose to hide what they do.


Moral issue? Please. This is the sport of Prosts, Ecclestones, Sennas, Briatores, Piquet (Jr)s, Schumachers, Balestres, etc. etc. etc. A 'moral' character would be eaten alive!!!

You don't legislate a morality; especially in a sport that explicitly rewards those that can work around, yet not break, those rules.

Newey, Brawn, Fry; these people are geniuses. And geniuses don't get paid to think inside the box (of regulations).


Technical innovation brings the sport into disrepute? Good heavens man, what are you thinking?!

This is Formula 1. The difference in success and failure here is measured in the time it takes to blink. If you think grasping at any and all methods to make the car faster is morally wrong, you're watching the wrong sport.

I do however suspect that were this McLaren or Ferrari, there would be a lot more posts patting them on the back for their own ingenuity.


Landon, is this engine map REALLY innovation and you and other keep claiming? Really? Isn;t 'innovation' a bit strong a word in this case? [mod]


I don't subscribe to this at all. There is a difference between technical innovation and deliberate setting out to evade complying with the aim of a rule. The aim of the rule was very clear - to eliminate any form of induced traction control from the engine map. RBR have found a way to induce traction control from the engine map. They absolutely knew for a fact what the rule was aiming to do and ignored it completely.


I don't think this post is about Technical Innovation - EBD's are not new of course. The point for me in Red Bull being unsporting is that the EBD was quite specifically outlawed at the end of last season yet now they have intentionally altered an engine map to hot blow the diffuser. Everyone knows that EBD was outlawed and its a shame the FIA didn't write the rule exacting enough - but its a clear move for me by Red Bull to break the rule and cheat to gain a short term advantage.

However Sebee makes a very good point above.


You are kidding me, right?

If it were Ferrari, everybody and his dog would be crying out about the Ferrari International Assistance they have on their side. Plus Bernie paying them extra for being Ferrari.

Don't believe me? Look at how Ferrari were viewed between 1999 and 2008, they were villainous, mafia linked and downright arrogant.

1999, with the barge board measurement tolerances in Malaysia?

Then throughout till 2007, when they were practically guilty of gifting their secrets to Mclaren.

To this day, elements of the British media struggle at the fine imposed on Mclaren and trying to justify their actions and claiming that they don't behave like that!

This may sound unbalanced or possibly racist, but it's not meant to be.

How many times have British "garagisti" stretched the rules to gain an advantage.

The 6cm skirt that passed scrutineering yet on track was skimming the ground.

The water tanks that needed filling up at the end of the races.

Lead ballast in fuel tanks...

Maybe it's Ferrari's culture born nearly a century ago with Alfa Romeo, but they are not an organisation that pushes the spirit of the rules. If having an engine foundry, private test track and other associated divisions gave them advatages, they would utilise them all, but breaking sporting ethics wasn't amongst them.

In fact, I'd suggest the only time they did was during the Brawn era there.

Maybe the English teams have it in them because for many decades they were fighting the might of Ferrari, so innovation was the only way to beat them. I think back to Lotus from the early 60's and onwards with countless great British teams.


F1 has never been about the spirit of the rule, it's about the letter of the rule, which makes this sport so fascinating as far as the technical aspect is concerned.

Regarding the exhaust positioning, I think a fair amount of people are probably wondering the same. An I totally agree with your point of view there.


Maybe it's time that the spirit of the rules became a little more important! We do, afterall, refer to F1 as a sport (regardless of it actually being a mishmash of business and politics) and 'spirit' should have it's place in sport.

Because something has 'always been this way' does not mean that it should be. And I'm not conveniced that even that much is true,as with everything there were probably charecters with 'honor' in the 'good old days' who would buck at the idea of skirting the spirit of the rules.

One man's fascination is another man's tedium after a while when the same, in prinsiple, issue keep arrising week in and week out. How must F1 look to the casual fan who outnumbers us 100 - 1 when every week there is another scandal involving the same team? Innefectual? Divided? Crooked?


'and spirit should have it's place in sport'.

It does, eg: Lewis' spirit was broken after 1 lap last weekend. I think I should retire! Sniff..


Damien, Martin - there is a difference in my opinion between innovation completed in good faith and a deliberate attempt to bypass the rules. This is contrasted rather nicely by the difference between the approach of McLaren's F-Duct and the constant controversies with RBR. McLaren sought guidance on legality from the FIA beofre racing the upgrade, RBR do not approach the FIA first because they know that the answer will be no so they don't ask the question. This despite Charlie openly saying he would prefer teams to run their ideas past him first so the controversy can be dealth with out of the public eye, without putting race results at risk etc.


I'll refer you to Sebee's reply above.

If no one explored the loopholes in the regulations, F1 would become a bore. It's the Colin Chapman and Adrian Newey of this world that make this sport stand out compared to other racing/spec series.


Hi Wayne,

You can't apply the spirit of the rules outside of the on track racing regulations. The technical regulations do not have "grey areas". Things are either legal or they are not.

There has been cheating in motorsport for a long time. Finding loopholes in rules has also been around for a long time, but it is more obvious now as the rules are so tightly controlled. If we didn't have tightly controlled rules then the cars wouldn't be as close in performance and the racing wouldn't be as good.

In my opinion a lot of this is driven by the envy of fans of teams that aren't coming up with the good ideas. Red Bull got more attention with its ability to run the front wings in ground effect, where Ferrari got less, because Red Bull was winning more often. McLaren didn't pursue it in part because it went down a different design philosophy with less rake to the car, which was slower. So what it did was complain that other teams had a better idea. Is that in the spirit of the rules, to object when your competition is better than you?


Let me play Devil's advocate.

Think of all the developments which would not have been realized had Red Bull not been finding these loop holes and pushing the rules? All of these engineers in the compeating teams would have been paid their millions without doing much. What's happening here is Red Bull is clearly the agressor on the development side, and if I may point out are the double champions because of those efforts. Other engineers have nightmares trying to figure out what they will come up with next.

Also, let's remind everyone that if Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren, etc. pushes the rules to edge of "cheating" they risk the link being made to their product as being "inferior". If Red Bull pushes the rules to the limit, what will you think about their beverage? Nothing. They risk nothing by pushing the rules in F1, because these cars ad space for an entirely automobile unrelated product. So pushing it further in F1 has no impact on their sugar water, outside of another article in JAonF1 with a Red Bull brand all over it.


One thing that also comes to my mind is Sennas quote after '88 Monaco.

"The last qualifying session. I was already on pole and I was going faster and faster. One lap after the other, quicker, and quicker, and quicker. I was at one stage just on pole, then by half a second, and then one second... and I kept going. Suddenly, I was nearly two seconds faster than anybody else, including my teammate with the same car. And I suddenly realized that I was no longer driving the car consciously."

"I was kind of driving it by instinct, only I was in a different dimension. It was like I was in a tunnel, not only the tunnel under the hotel, but the whole circuit for me was a tunnel. I was just going, going - more, and more, and more, and more. I was way over the limit, but still able to find even more. Then, suddenly, something just kicked me. I kind of woke up and I realized that I was in a different atmosphere than you normally are. Immediately my reaction was to back off, slow down. I drove slowly to the pits and I didn't want to go out any more that day."

"It frightened me because I realized I was well beyond my conscious understanding. It happens rarely, but I keep these experiences very much alive in me because it is something that is important for self-preservation."

Now that would be perfect marketing for them. Their drivers getting super human performance. But there is only one Senna. 😛


That quote is an amazing insight into the mind of a man totally at one with himself and a skillset that has been practiced and perfected over a number of years!

... I love quotes liked these 🙂



Sounds like a man who knew he would become a Legend.


Red Bull beverages also pushes the limits of legality, synthetic taurine and cocaine are illegal in drink preparation in many countries.

On the edge seems to be the brand mantra.


I won't sit here and tell you I never had a Red Bull, but I'm not fond of it and I don't drink it for reasons above. I feel best beverage is water. And if you want to have "wings", get good sleep and rest. I'd like to see Vettel drive an F1 car after not sleeping for 2 days and drinking a 6-Pack of Red Bull.

I've tried it to see what the hype was about. Personally, I think the whole Red Bull taste is ripped off from a classic communist Polish beverage - Red Oranzada.


Not sure I follow the logic in your second paragraph. I would have thought that blatant cheating would have a similar adverse effect on any brand. However, I can't see that McLaren or Ferrari would lose any potential or existing customers by merely pushing the rules to the limit (as Red Bull have done in this case) which to be honest is what they are all trying to do. F1 teams are the worlds greatest hypocrites in this regard, protesting other teams one week while developing their own rule-bending ideas the next.


Yes, a case can be made for your point.

To clarify my logic.

Ferrari's primary product is high performance cars. If they have to "push it beyond fair play" on their F1 cars to win it takes away from their image of excellence as a car manufacturer.

Red Bull's primary product is sugar water beverage. If they "push it beyond fair play" their on track activity is not in any direct way linked to their product. F1 is simply a marketing vehicle for Red Bull - vehicle the used to sell drinks. They can basically go further in my view than car companies, because Ferrari cheating - especially on a mechanical item related to the engine would really paint them in bad light.

Not sure if I'm putting the logic down in the clearest possible way.

Also - I don't think James was agreeing with that thought in the second paragraph. I think he was more in agreement with the idea that interesting technical developments have been made in F1 by RBR pushing the rules.


Here's the thing, why do RBR not take their developments to Charlie before they race them? Why do they hide what they do from the governing body, wait until they are discovered and then deal with a controversy that clouds the entire race weekend for everyone?

A lot of people are using McLaren's F-Duct as an example of other teams that are as guilty as RBR, but here's another thing - McLaren ran the F-Duct by Charlie BEFORE they raced it (Charlie has suggested that all teams do this) and got approval. The same cannot be said for RBR. Why? Because they know the answer would be no, they get a race or two's worth of advantage from their huge resources and are happy with that before the sport can react to ban their latest 'innovation'.

There is a difference between innovation and a deliberate attempt to derrive a short term advantage from the sport's innability to react to every tiny detail on every car in time. Basically, RBR are taking the piss, seriously we all know it don't we?

Damien, Below, likess to keep referring to how boreing the aport would be without innovation (I don't think that the RBR engine map is innovative at all personally - it's just sticking two fingers up to the FIA), but - isn't having to deal with this same issue with RBR just as boreing and tedius?


Here is my thinking. If team thinks it's borderline they ask Charlie. If they are confident they can defent the "infraction" due to poor wording and rule being open to interpretation - they don't ask. I wouldn't either.

It's not just about 0.1s as someone above mentioned, it's about maintaining that 0.1s advantage for a few races. You don't want to let the cat out of the hat unless you have to.


Well to be fair, thay are doing the same thing with their "sugar water".

I do thing its a matketing thing, since the point of energy drinks is to get more out of you, which having an image of "pushing the limits" works for them.

I think it would work out even for car companies.

Red Bull's New Cola: A Kick from Cocaine?,8599,1900849,00.html


Interesting point. Pushing to the limit and beyond is indeed actually good for this brand.

As I said a some time ago, Red Bull has the perfect model in F1. They are using it for it's intended purpose. Others think it's an automotive showcase for premium car brands. Red Bull seems to be the only one to figure out it's much more. After all, how many of the 100M weekend viewers are driving a Ferrari or a McLaren or even an AMG? Exactly! These brands are not isolating their target audience. They are shooting wide hoping a % of that audience fits their customer profile. Meanwhile, to Red Bull every single one of the 100M is a potential customer. Their product is not out of reach - at $3 a can anyone can have a Red Bull, just like the F1 World Champion! And imagine the preception of the small % who do have one of those cars - their precious brands being beaten by a sugar water manufacturer! How humiliating! (Yes, I know Ferrari is finally on a roll - stand by, 10 races to go still!)

And James, son born 5 days ago. Name: Sebastian. 🙂 Not after Vettel, rather after his dad. But it doesn't hurt to have a F1 world champion with name as well.


I agree with this pint and second it! Infact I was just about to write something similar but not sol eloquent!!!!

If it wasn't for the teams that stretch the rules, then we wouldn't have advancement at all especially with all the restrictive rules we have I'me very extreme in my thinking about what is supposed to be the "King" of all motor sport. For me it should be no holds barred... No rules on technology and make the car go as fast as possible!! I know about the fair part in the budget theme and I know about the safety issues. But I'm just being selfish I suppose.


I cant say I completely disagree with you, although that would be thrilling to watch, Group B Rallying was very much the same, ("no holds barred") but before too long people were being killed Because the cars were simply too fast. Group B had arrived at a point where even the drivers were afraid of the very machines they were trying to tame.

I guess in the not too distant past it was formula one that led the charge in technical innovation, other spots duly followed, so recapturing that essence wouldn't be a bad thing.

In 1994, if traction control & hydraulic active suspension were still permitted Ayrton Senna may not have crashed at Imola, having said that, had Roland Ratzenberger been black flagged he would probably still be with us too.

Technical innovation, safety regulations and entertainment value are often at odds with one and other, as a consequence, they breed a very, very fine line.


Thanks for the complement. Not sure it's so eloquent. I never spell check, never proof, sometimes get interrupted - I am at work after all! 🙂


Brilliant point! And RBR is a brilliant team. If the regs don't outlaw it, then it's fair game.

All teams do it: double diffusers (Brawn, Williams, Toyota), J-dampers (Renault), f-duct (McLaren), active brake height assist (Lotus), double DRS (Merc and Lotus).

This is what F1 is all about! I do NOT want to watch a spec open-wheel series, there is Indy for that.

I know its frustrating for fans of other teams (e.g. Ferrari) watch their teams get trounced in a tech battle, but that's not reason to change what F1 is all about.


Great reply, this is what F1 is all about, my outlook is if it's not in the rule book then do it until they say you can't , that's exactly what they did


There is absolutely nothing illegal about "something that shouldn't be legal". Very big difference. Breaking Alonso would be illegal (I'm sure that's actually codified in a number of places). But arguing the definition of a "hole-in-the-floor" is shear brilliance.


I very much doubt there is a FIA rule banning teams from breaking Alonso's legs... So that coud be considered legal,for one leg at least? before they add the rule to the book? Not every sporting though.

I realise I have taken this point to the extreme and in hinde sight there probably is a rule that says all teams must not break the common law of the country the race is happening in. I exepct this would cover assualt.

But they knew what that rule was trying to ban. It's not a great leap of thought for the team to look at their solution and see that it shouldn't be legal.


This is exactly why I love F1 and will stay up to 2am in the morning here in NZ to watch quali and the races throughout the season, but only have at most a passing interest in IndyCar.


"I know its frustrating for fans of other teams (e.g. Ferrari) watch their teams get trounced in a tech battle, but that’s not reason to change what F1 is all about."

Luckily for the other teams (e g Ferrari) and their fans, they seem to have real top notch drivers, who are able to top the standing even though FIA has no complaints what so ever about their cars' compliance with the sporting rules - so do not worry.


Hey Sebee! just make sure you do not drink to much of Red Bull, you may suffer from hot exhaust blowing coming from the rear of your body.... not so much unrelated right?


Until you consider that continuing down the path of pushing legality will soon associate the Red Bull brand with Cheating.

I think every organization should be concerned about that regardless.


Not quite true, I have decided to NOT buy RedBull product ever.


Now thats thinking outside the square!


i agree. Seems to be a similar story every year.


Agree and agree! Either Red Bull is playing the 'oh we did not know' game or they are just cheating!

Everybody knows, including us the fans, that FIA implemented many rules to stop "hot exhaust blowing" they extended the exhaust system, last year they limited engine mapping, etc, etc... come one, RedBull stop being the smart ass in the grid and play by the same rules like others I doing!


Being smart is not cheating. Any law has its holes and the smart ones find them first...


This is not calling Smart, this should be call Cheating.

Everyone know how to write the map they want for the character they want. but anyone else feel this kind of map is illegal, so they don't do it, just RBR make the interpretation like it legal.

Even FIA clearly said that they don't beleive in what RBR try to lie to them. How to call this is Smart


I often wonder if the stuff we know about from RBR (like this) is what they want the world to know about so all the teams and the media concentrate on that and miss the really clever stuff they are doing!


Do I recall reading that Vettal said in his defence about the pass that he managed to out accelerate Button even though he was on the'slippery paint' marking the edge of the track. Traction control would be great at doing that I think???


It would possibly help to a small degree if it existed, which it didn't. The drivers are pretty well adjusted to modulating the throttle inputs so that while there is some wheelspin, the impact on acceleration is not huge. The cars across the field regularly run on four cylinders in slow corners anyway.

I have a general dislike of drivers who are being overtaken, firtsly defending up the inside of a corner and then leaving no space on the exit so that the car trying to pass has no space in which to complete the move. It basically means that the passing car has to complete the move in the braking zone. By being on the outside the passing car has a longer distance to travel, so that gives the defending car a chance to make up some ground.

If the passing-defending rule was extended to say that if a driver moves to the inside of a corner to defend, then he must leave a car width of space on the exit, then you'd get a lot more side-by-side action, and rather less robust defending of positions by the likes of Webber and Hamilton in particular.

In Vettel's case, it could be that what he said was true, in the that he was uncertain where Button was, but I think Malcolm Strachan on this site was right when he wrote that Vettel planned used the run off area and so got on the throttle much earlier. Therefore he was still on the race track when the key wheelspin phase would have been relevant anyway.

In my view Seb broke the rule, but since he went around the outside of a driver defending, taking a "long-cut" it isn't a rule I car for.




Lol, well 'slippery paint' I guess equates to 'high-grip run off area'.

The only possible defense for Seb's move (e.g. the only precedent for overtaking off the track, on the outside, and getting away with it) was Kimi at Spa in 09. But it hardly applies.

Not Seb's finest moment, but every driver out there has tried to skirt blame for one incident or another (Massa, for instance, has never been at fault, at his word).


As Martin Brundle has consistently said for years, these guys need to be punished if they are going to try and use parts of the track outside of the lines to pass people. I can completely see why on the outside of high speed corners there is high-grip tarmac to slow the cars down for safety reasons, but after a slow hairpin I see no reason why that tarmac should be there. It isnt part of the circuit's drag strip. If you go off there it should be gravel so you pay a penalty for it.


I do agree, but my guess is they tarmac it because a car could get stuck in gravel, slowing the whole race down while they have to recover it, whereas it can drive away from a tarmac area.


Agreed. China 2007 comes to mind 😛


if you're talking about the run-off out of turn 1 into turn 2 at Spa, Kimi used it at the start only to avoid the inevitable collision. It is not a hard surface, it is unstable soft mucky mud and most likely will make the tyres lose grip, so it's not exactly ideal. DC and Brundle explained at the time that you gain absolutely nothing from taking to this route and rejoining the track, except escaping trouble.


Funny, I remember Brundle (it was with Legard at the time, so take that for what its worth) saying that Kimi was able to carry so much more speed through the run off (as opposed to tip-toing around the hairpin), that he had a massive speed advantage over Fisi. Making him easy pickings up the hill.


The very fact that Vettel and RBR tried to defend that move encapsulates much that is broken about current F1.


Could someone explain why they were not penalised? Either the throttle curve is linear or it's not.


The rules don't say the torque map has to be linear. The intent of the rules was to outlaw blowing the aerodynamic parts of the car, but of course the problem is how do you define "blowing". Jo Bauer believes the Red Bull torque map shows that they are "hot blowing" the diffuser, going against the intent of the rules, although their map complies with what the rules actually say.

The FIA always seem to come up with these convoluted and indirect rules to try to regulate things, and it never works. Just like the flexible bodywork argument last year. I can see why they do it - they try to frame the rules only in terms of what they can easily measure. But a new approach is clearly required. The rules should have simply said "no using the exhaust for aerodynamic benefit." It's something that would be difficult to prove, so it has to be backed up with stiff penalties: teams might think they can get away with it, but if they know getting caught will mean disqualification from the championship, would they risk it?


I agree 100%! Look at the lotus ride height supension thingy. It was stopped because the rule contains wording of intent regarding gaining aerodynamical benefit. The rules should focus on the ends, not the means...


I've never seen a linear torque curve - that's why its called a 'curve'.

Usually peak torque is not at the redline, but tails off.

That's why you have a gearbox - to keep the revs in the 'power-band'.


My take on the rule:

At any given RPM, the torque at full throttle must be equal to or greater than any other throttle % at that RPM.

So say in the last few races they had a torque of 240 at 100% throttle, and 200 at 50% throttle.

This race they could have had 200 at 100% throttle, and still 200 at 50% throttle and it is still legal.


I would love to see the graphs. Overlay RBRs throttle map with the intended one, and see where the differences lie.

Is "linear" up for debate?

Very curious how something that is supposed to be linear, isn't, and yet doesn't contravene the rules as written.

Holes in floors that aren't holes, non-linear linear throttle maps... Brilliant!


Something about the written rules only 'literally' specifying certain positions (0nm torque at 0%, some value at 100%) and RBR applying their map changes to other positions.

The Stewards basically said 'it's wrong and you're blatantly breaking a rules but some idiot didn't clarify every percentile so we can't punish you'.

I suspect the TWG will drawn up a simple 1:1 graph of torque to throttle position and say 'it must match this, end of'.


I don't believe that any throttle map is absolutely linear at all. There's surely much more to this than what's being said publicly. James, any comments form other team's engineers about throttle linearity?


Torque is not linear as in the position of a pedal. You cannot just make it that simple. Torque follows a predetermined curve based on the charachteristics of the engine, Fuel, throttle etc. However, it will not change from race to race, or deviate from its know characteristics, hence it was easy for the FIA to spot but they only outlined the principle of what they wanted.. which is silly really when you are dealing with engineers who work in absolutes!


Exactly. It's not even as if the amount of torque an engine produces has anything to do with throttle position, it's a matter of RPM's.

So maybe what the maps were doing was limiting revs at specific throttle positions.


I said it before and will say it again. What RBR team is doing, is noting related with being innovative but it is just word theatricals.

The aim of the rule is very clear, it is there to prevent teams to use excessive exhaust gases for diffuser feeding which they need a special engine mapping to do so.

We have seen enough buffoonery from this team, stewards (FIA) are just putting themselves in a fool position.


Yes, they make the FIA and the stewards look stupid race in and race out. Enough is enough. Three years RBR have been doing this, spawning controversy after controversy - but if they are allowed to keep getting away wtih it.....


3 years they've been trying to innovate and develop a car, its only because they're winners all the Mclaren or Hamilton fans starts moaning, in this case their F-Duct was against the spirit of the rules, Renault's mass dampers and Brawn's double deffusers should have their 06 and 09 titles stripped off them, and the Mercedes double DRS should be out lawed! Imagine if Lotus and Ferrari were allowed to keep their active ride height systems this year, Redbull has done nothing wrong and Vettel will win this title.


I am reminded of the Sir Mervyn King from the Bank of England and his comments at the Select Committee the other week about Bank bosses who sail close to the wind - something about those who do so seven or eight times or more should be looked at more closely.

I'm all for innovation and inventiveness; but I think the FIA have made it clear what they feel about exhaust gases and diffusers - perhaps they should be innovating in other areas.

If the regulations are going to be exploited in this way (because there is no specific rule against this particular technique) then maybe 'engine maps' should be banned along with diffusers - chicanery thwarted!


If Sir Mervyn King were Charlie Whiting, the FIA would just now be [pretending to be] surprised to learn that teams used something called wheel shrouds in 2008.


Scotto, I wouldn't disagree with you!


Nice comparison with Mervyn King. Perhaps one of the lesser Teams could find an improvement by employing Alastair Campbell, perhaps in aerodynamics.

You know, super-slippery.


@Peter C


Belly laugh from me!


Who the hell are those guys? No don't tell me , I'm not interested.



OK, Paul.


don't get us started on these characters please.

The moderator would be up all night .....


OK, James.


The problem is a) engine maps are needed to control other things (i.e. pit lane speed) and b) engineers can't unlearn things.

If the mappings were locked in the ECU to an FIA standard, they'd just develop something else to achieve their desired goal.


It's interesting that as exhaust blowing rears its head again, Webber loses his relative pace to Vettal all over again...

Strange that it should make such a difference to driveability.

Does anyone know what actual effect it has? A more stable rear-end, is that all?


It's always Webber's bloody KERS that fails as well, anyone else notice that?


It was Vettel's on Sunday...


Vettel's KERS was shown to be working perfectly, thanks to the nice graphics shown on Dutch TV. He used in defence against Button, and he used it in attacking Button too. He did switch it off at one point during the race, presumably to keep the heat generation to an acceptable level. Webber's KERS was dodgy at best throughout the race. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. Hamilton's KERS was also shown to be out near the end of his race.


No conspiracy there !!


darn you JA 🙂


Its the stability under braking which I believe gives vettel the advantage over Webber when using EBD.


no, it was more about flattening the delivered torque (in effect Traction Control) to make the cars easier to drive in the wet.

As a 'side effect' (planned or not as the primary influence of the design) the fuel that is not used in driving the car forward is used to blow the defuser... thus giving it better downforce, and in turn making it easier to drive.

In fact the overhead shot of Seb vs Button clearly showed hwo much better the RB traction was (ok tyres would come into but...), as Jenson lit up his tyres leaving some dirty great big tyre marks trying to hammer the throttle whilst Seb just drove away and not a slightest hint of wheel spin.

Either way, the map and delivery of torque should be an easy thing to regulate these days given the tighter ruling, but clearl a novice like me has much to learn. FIA must do more/try harder as clearly the Stewards are!


I may sound a little unfair on this one. RedBull are pushing the F1 limitations a lot these days, from RRA to engine maps. This cannot go on. Yes there must be continuous improvement from the technology front but this as well require strict and unbiased policing from the FIA. There's a team (I think Caterham) whose idea was shut down early during this season, no questions asked. Now...if teh R26 mass damper was plucked off, Brawn GP DDD was shut down, why was RedBull allowed to race the entire season with a BD? And now a revised version via a torque system? The engine freeze might as well be called off and ECUs not standardized. And we can get back to fairer competitive racing...



They are pushing because they are getting beat.....


simple. toss the ecu, force a proper steering wheel, gearshift and third petal, dump the floors & diffusers, trim the wings back to say 40 some years ago. lets see who can drive!!! leave the video games to the little rug rats 🙂


Disagree with that... it's not like their operating under a different name are they ?? .. Red Bull Racing is still Red Bull is it not . With social media and news wired to your pocket every single minute of every day even people who don't even know about F1 iare not that stupid to miss the connection. Hell look at Ferrari and their subliminal marketing -they haven't even advertised the cigarette co name in what ??15 years but every knows don't they!

It's boring as bat sh.. That we keep talking about Exhaust blown diffusers when clearly the FIA and most of the teams agreed they don't want it. If your talking about new ideas and keeping the engineers in the game stuff like the Lotus self adjusting suspension tested last year and shot down earlier this year was a lot nearer to being within the rules than this & they didn't even get a chance to run it.

The FIA needs to open up the rules a little and introduce budgets then teams don't keep on with the same limited scenarios they have in the last few years.

If the FIA dont have some kind of bias they should penalize RBR by taking results of Hockenheim away from them because everyone knows you cannot have exhaust blowing regardless of whether they have managed to circumvent the wording for traction purposes. They have still attained a benefit of EBD indirectly (or directly I say)

I bet you they won't because RBR with Torro Rosso investment have become Bernies little paddock darlings havent they !


What are you talking about ? As soon as the teams agreed to stop -F duct ( mainly cost constraints for smaller teams)- new rules were written to prevent it - now no team runs it or try's to run it !!! - which is exactly the point!!- Red Bull effectively are still trying to run EBD despite it being outlawed ! Do you get it


Exhaust blown diffusers, hmmm. Wasn't McLaren and Sauber who presented the first EBD at the preseason?

If everyone knows that you cannot have exhaust blowing, everyone also knows that you cannot have F-Ducts, right? But that has been allowed.

What if RBR had pioneered those two things this season? There would be a lot of talk surely!

RBR have been winning for 3 years, that's why the other teams are trying to throw dirt at the fan!

Bring Back Murray

I'm not going to get too bothered about a team such as Redbull trying to bend the rules all the time. Braun basically won an WDC by doing so a few seasons back. Teams are trying to get a competitive advantage any way they can, it's only natural. If the other teams are pissed off about it they can always compain to the FIA and the FIA can take action on it.


It's only natural to skirt the aim of the rules in F1 because 'we' allow it to be. There are still sports where people who make mistakes hold their hands up even at the costs of a point in a Tennis or snooker match for example.

Football is bay far the worst offending sport, however, where players actively try and cheat in every single game played and are encouraged by their fans and managers to do so (trying to get a penalty by leaping to the floor, trying to get other players booked etc etc).

Public indifference is what makes it possible in F1, the multitide of casual fans dont understand and don't give a hoot - they just want to see pretend undertaking with KERS and DRS and think the crashes are the best bits. People who post on sites like this are rarely casual fans and, in the main, RBR bothers us more because what they do isn't 'sportsmanlike' and we understand a bit better what it is they are up to.


I have to agree with you here. Well said, but having said it -- maybe it's time for the fans forums and other possible fan-input channels to be heard by the FIA, teams, circuits, designers, etc. Within the dedicated fan-base there are some very knowledgeable people who have been following F1 for a lot of years. We have seen the best and worst of F1 and now it is neither - it is just commercialised out of sight. I take nothing away from RBR - they are doing very well, but would fans not prefer a "real" motor-racing team based on some form of production car instead of a fizzy drink? What if fizzy drinks are suddenly banned for health reasons? See New York's ban on big bottles of pop if you are laughing at the possibility. Motor racing at any level has to have a greater degress of road relevance and F1 has wandered off track a bit too much. I have been muttering about low-profile tyres, a budget cap, simple technical regulations, less aero, more innovations like unlimited KERS, etc for a while now. Having said that - I still follow the current crop of upside-down aeroplanes to hear how the drivers and teams are coping but I don't watch any more, the racing is too artificial.


I have to agree with you here. Well said, but having said it -- maybe it's time for the fans forums and other possible fan-input channels to be heard by the FIA, teams, circuits, designers, etc. Within the dedicated fan-base there are some very knowledgeable people who have been following F1 for a lot of years. We have seen the best and worst of F1 and now it is neither - it is just commercialised out of sight. I take nothing away from RBR - they are doing very well, but would fans not prefer a "real" motor-racing team based on some form of production car instead of a fizzy drink? What is fizy drinks are suddenly banned for health reasons? See New York's ban on big bottles of pop if you are laughing at the possibility. Motor racing at any level has to have a greater degress of road relevance and F1 has wandered off track a bit too much. I have been muttering about low-profile tyres, a budget cap, simple technical regulations, less aero, more innovations like unlimited KERS, etc for a while now. Having said that - I still follow the current crop of upside-down aeroplanes to hear how the drivers and teams are coping but I don't watch any more, the racing is too artificial.


Still I dont understand why this is accepted as legal, maybe someone explain to me:

"The rules say the connection between the opening of the throttle and the torque demand on the engine should be linear"


"The idea was to use engine mapping to cut the torque at medium revs"

That means the engine has to react linear to the throttle position (throttle position in itself doesnt have to be linear to the travel of pedal I guess).

If RB cut torque at medium revs to have more exhaust blowing it can only be because of a further opened throttle (for the same torque) thus ignoring linearity between throttle position and torque demand of the engine?


Actually, what that statement says is that the engine SHOULD react linear to throttle position, not "has to". There is a big difference in meaning between must/shall and should (i.e. you must/shall pay taxes or you should pay taxes).

I understand that the quote is not from the regs, but this is a big area of contention in many areas (I work as a regulatory consultant (not motorsports) and this is a very important term) and there is always discussion around it whenever it comes up.

Red Bull seems to have employed some very, very crafty people in their rules interpretation group; they always seem to find these little areas. It may not always be sporting, but it is always interesting to see what they come up with.


That's not it... the word "should" doesn't appear in section 5.5 of the technical regulations (engine torque demand).

The rules do not say the connection between the opening of the throttle and the torque demand on the engine should be linear, it's as simple as that.

Effectively what they say is that zero throttle has to really be zero throttle, full throttle has to really be full throttle, and in between the engine torque must increase with increasing throttle. It doesn't have to increase linearly.


Thanks Roman, this gives me a better understanding of what is going on.

It comes to a point were all this has not so much to do with brilliant technical ideas itself but more like how can I misinterprete rules in my advantage.


Technically it was accepted as legal, but Red Bulls argument was around the wording of it which Im sure will get clarified later today in their technical meeting.

Seems Adrian Newey can not let go of the whole EBD idea !!


If I recall correctly standard ECU's were brought in following Benetton's illegal use of traction control, allowing the FIA to see what the teams were getting upto. It's good to see the transparency.

I'm not quite sure how Red Bull thought they were ever going to get away with it in the long term.

You can't beat a bit of skullduggery in F1, and seeing Christian Horner getting in a right flap with Ted Kravitz on route to the Stewards - a sight to behold.

It would be interesting to know what reasons Red Bull put forth and why the Stewards didn't believe them.

Whilst they were allowed to race and were not penalised, I thought it looked a bit embarrassing for Red Bull - they were not only caught but their honesty seemed to be questioned.


The FIA standardised ECU was only introduced in 2008.

Prior to this, everyone needed to make their ECU's available to the FIA, but of course every system was different so enforcing subtle stuff was impractical.


I don't have a copy of the regs, but taking a quote from another site, the regs specify the torque when the pedal is fully up, and when it is fully depressed. There is no regulation of the torque between these two values, and this is what Red Bull exploited. It also explains why the stewards had to accept what they were doing. Jo Bauer was wrong to say that there must be a linear relationship between pedal position and torque. The regs don't say that. Also, "linear relationship" means that if a graph of torque versus pedal position is drawn, the result will be a straight line. I doubt that any petrol engine has such a relationship.


Very well put, Peter.



The relationship isn't between the pedal position and the torque, it's between the pedal position and the percentage of available torque. So when the rules say that when the pedal is completely pressed, 100% of torque must be supplied, it's not the maximum torque output of the engine, it's the maximum torque available at the current revs.

So technically the Red Bull is legal at 0% throttle and 100% throttle and against the spirit, if not the wording of the rules on part throttle.



I think that you are saying the same as me, but in different words. The FIA only specify what must happen at 0% and 100% throttle, so RB are regulating the torque at intermediate throttle openings.

It is perhaps also worth mentioning that although engines develop maximum power at maximum revs, the maximum torque is developed at lower revs - I would guess a couple of thousand revs lower for an F1 engine. This is why the FIA specfies 100% of the AVAILABLE torque at 100% throttle, and not 100% of the maximum torque.

I would expect that all teams modify the torque and power characteristics to suit the circuit, and this will make the FIA's job of writing loophole-free regs all the more difficult.


He's not wrong, that's his interpretation.

We'll see if it's spelled out in the next Technical Directive


The only thing up for interpretation is whats in the rules. I disagree James, if its not explicitly mentioned then how can it be interpreted or in Jo Bauer's case assumed.

Simply, they should have covered this better when they introduced what seem to be sloppy rules.

People need to accept that to win you have to push.

Its not just one thing that gives a team/driver a WDC or a constructors championship.

Its like this, if you are not being pursued by your competitors and the rule makers you are not pushing hard enough.

Similar to asking for a pay rise. If you haven't been knocked back you aren't asking for enough.


Hi James

What about the other Renault engine teams? Would they have been aware of this new mapping was available and decided against running it?


Technically the ECU is manufactured and supplied by McLaren Electronics (

"McLaren Electronics is the Official Electronic Control Unit Supplier to the FIA Formula One World Championship"

Part of the McLaren Group, but separate from McLaren Racing (the Formula One team)


Good question. RBR is Renaults works teams, they don't pay for the engines.

ECU maker would have to know I would have thought


Dont forget the ECUs are programable, so the teams are able to set them up to suit their specific engines and specific "maps" that they deem important, eg behind the safty car/wet track/pits/warm up lap/fuel saving/max performance etc.


But they don't have areas that can control things like active difs/active suspension/ auto gear changes/ABS/traction control/cam timing/kers/drs etc.


As far as I know the ECU maker only provides a limited platform for the teams to run their own programs. Which programs they're running is entirely up to the teams. Lenovo don't know what you're running on their notebook computers either, all they know is what their Notebooks can do and what seems to be out of question.

Renault should have known about the mapping. I'm sure some of their engineers played a part in designing and testing Red Bulls idea.

But I'm also sure that every team has a non disclosure agreement with Renault regarding their engine mappings. I may be mistaken, but I suspect that each engine maker has a set of their own basic mappings that they provide along with their engines, but each team should have a contract that includes working out individual, private mappings with the engine makers engineers and testing facilities.


I thought McLaren made the ECUs?


thats the key point isn't it? The word at Hockenheim was that McLaren had protested the map.


Aren't all ECU's in F1 made by McLaren?


That would be McLaren?


I dont think they would James, the ECU, as you know is supplied by Mclaren, but the software\configuration that runs on it, is unique to each team.


So McLaren have access to ALL team's engine maps?

That's some pretty useful information, is it not?


I correct myself, they would know, it was reported that Mclaren notified the FIA.....


Actually i think RBR is Infiniti works team as Lotus is Reanults works team so neither of them have to pay for the engines.

I believe that was the move Renault and RBR agreed so both teams (Lotus and RBR) could have Renault engines without paying a single coin and Infiniti (owned by Renault) got some "free" publicity by just changing the name of the engines. Something like this is what I listened some time ago...


¿Really? Didn't know, sorry then...


Lotus is not Renault works team

Robert Gunning

ECU manufacturer (i.e McLaren)


Hi James,

By ECU maker do you mean McLaren?

Or I guess Renault load custom software on to the McLaren made ECU?


James, you talked about driver etiquette and unwritten rules in you earlier article.

In your opinion is this against the spirit of the competition?


No but I think a lapped car needs to have no influence on lead battle, so unlapping needs to be done with great care


I miss the times when lapping and unlapping was entirely up to the drivers and there were no penalties for not letting the lapping car pass immediately. It always added drama and excitement when someone was approaching a car to be lapped, while someone was catching up. Lapping was an art back in the days and some drivers were very good at it. And why the leader might have played it safe the runner up was often taking more risk which made it thrilling. Back in the days the lapped drivers did not have to get out of the way, they didn't put up a fight either, as it made them slow. Some of them were gentlemen enough to let one pass on a part of the track where they thought they would not lose too much time, others did not care. It also a display of a drivers personality.

It makes me sad to see how much some drivers destroy their own lap, even though they might be in a fight, to not risk a penalty. In the end, they're racing on a closed circuit that includes one can lap another, go deal with it! Why should the slow one compromise his lap for the fast guy? He's in a race too!

And as far as I see it, that stupid blue flag rule has robbed us from the possibility of a great strategy to get Button into a striking distance or even past. That could have been one for the history books, thanks to the rule it's just mediocre.


God help us he had held Seb up.. He pulled away from the guy and we have all this nonesense.

A smart guy would have tried driving in Lewis DRS zone a couple of laps and made a few tenths chasing down Fernando


It was Vettel who chose to defend strongly against Lewis, caused his own problems.


James you would not have won best commentary in 08 Brazil if thats the case... Kubica made LH run wide by unlapping inturn Vettle zooms into 5th....


Why? It's a team sport nowadays apparently where team orders are permitted. Surely then it is ok to use one car to inetrfere with the another to the benefit of the second member? The team should be allowed to use every piece they have on the 'board' to manipulate things in their favour, especially if they have a car that is fast enough to do so? This obviously does not include things like deliberately bringing out the safety car, or deliberately causing a collision which would be unspeakable.


Team orders are allowed, but teams are not allowed to do anything that will "bring the sport into disrepute".

Anyway, they would have wanted to hold up Alonso as he was the leader, and Hamilton couldn't get past him so I doubt there were team tactics at play.


Surely he had little choice - dropping back into his teammate's path might equally have influenced the battle by slowing Button down.

Moreover, it seems that Hamilton was following team instructions.

Martin Whitmarsh:

"Racing drivers race," he said. "He was quicker, he overtook and he pulled away, so I'm not sure what stupidity there is in that."

Sam Michael:

"He came out and he was fast.

"We said to him that you've got blue flags for Jenson.

"When you get a blue flag, you have two choices. You let the car past, or you speed up significantly.

"So we told him to speed up significantly and overtake Vettel and he did so. He didn't hold Vettel up at all because Vettel couldn't keep up with him. So it didn't have any material impact on Vettel's race and it's completely legal."


But its a team sport, and if in unlapping himself a driver helps his team mate whats wrong with that? Thers plenty of precedent (Piquet, Mansell) for teams and drivers strategically controlling races - without resorting to Schumacher 1st era team orders.


and are both parties not equally responsible for ensuring this is the case?


Even Christian Horner said Lewis did nothing wrong, and is entitled to unlap himself if he is faster. what's worse having a faster car behind you with better stopping potential on new rubber and the chance of him running into the back of you or just let him go. Vettal could have just let him past and not lost himself any time and could have used the drs to follow Lewis helping him catch Alonso


James is it possible this was a one off? Or just the first time it was picked up?


It's been evolving in recent races


Possibly since Valencia, where with a new spec car, they suddenly found 0.3 per lap?


Pretty fair assumption - Hero ..I know they had other updates also- but something " smelled "of last year watching Sebs Quali. If they don't get penalized for this Id be dirty if I were another team manager ! No one one wants innovation more than I -as long as they are within the rules


Given that the FIA steward said that the data differs from recent races and the fact that Webber struggled to show any sort of pace with no apparent reason (except for unconfirmed reports about KERS issue that I came across in some of the articles), I have a feeling may be this is the first race RB introduced this. Since this sort of difference between Vettel and Webber seen last year was attributed to Webber's inability to cope with EBD (even C Horner mentioned that technical regulations this year have helped Webber this year to close the gap to Vettel).

Just my 2 cents 🙂


I don't agree, as this is:

A) cold blowing not hot like we had last year and

B) the degree of downforce created would not be as significant

If this is as powerful as last year's EBD then surely Red Bull would be way further ahead and tyre management would be simpler (as they will have the necessary downforce to generate heat).

I just think Webber didn't perform well because this isn't a strong track for him. Surely an advantage like what EBD brings would have allowed him to beat his rivals at least, but he really struggled with traction as could be seen in some of the overhead shots. I thought this was a set-up issue.

To be honest I am still not sure why an engine mapping would create off throttle exhaust gases, engine maps surely dictate the torque curve when the accelerator is pressed, are we saying the Red Bull drivers are pressing the throttle through the corner or into the braking zone? Otherwise where are the exhaust gases coming from in reference to the torque mapping? Is it in lifting the throttle that the non-linear torque mapping is also been applied?


In practice, it must be very hard for a faster car to just let it be and stay behind the leading car? It would seem a bit false.

He may as well retire the car if he effectively cannot compete...


Is it time that the exhaust exit behind the car rear to the diffuser. No more problems


My understanding of the rules this year is that you can only have two exhaust exits and that the final 10cm of each pipe must point upwards at between 10 & 30 degrees.

So there is some latitude to point the exhaust gases at an element of the rear wing but I don't know how you can get it into the difusser?


I though this. These rules seem to be a bit a half-arsed and were always going to be exploited. Make the exhaust have to protrude from the very BACK of the car, and make it required to be pointing UP at an angle of at least 10 degrees (and no more than 20), just for good measure!


2014 rules will finish with it.


time to think up the next square device that fits a round loop hole. If we're quick we could get Mr Virgin Branson interested in it


They might not be violating 5.5.3 but aren't they violating 5.5.5?


Not necessarily. The 5.5.5 verbiage states "At any given engine speed the driver torque demand map must be monotonically increasing for an increase in accelerator pedal position."

Therefore, it would be permissible to create a very low or even flat torque curve over any portion of the rev range.

If the FIA wishes to remove a completely flat demand curve then all that is required is to insert "strictly" before "monotonically", as the mathematical definition of "strictly monotonically" is well-defined and, therefore, understood by the engineers.

f(x) > f(y) for all x > y


f(x) >= f(y) for all x > y

Or they could explicitly state the demand map mathematically and be done with it.


It's my understanding that the scrutineers are comparing the torque curve-to-throttle opening curve evidence to examples from earlier in the season when it is assumed there was no fiddling, so if there's a variation that exceeds their chosen limit, (2% I think), at any point throughout the racing rev range, then they get suspicious. It's not the amount of torque that they think should be produced at specific throttle openings, that would be ridiculous.



I'm sure Seb will bounce back from this and at least be Fernando's main challenger in the 2nd half of the season, out law it, ban it just like the holes on the floor banned this will not slow the car down and with a hot and tight track at Hungary expect Vettel to have a good weekend, as will the Lotuses, Im sure Fernando will also do well, Dereck Warwick, Mansell or whoever is the stewards next race, please do not start acting like you're the boss of something, and please do not call Schumi "an amateur" he has achieved more in F1 than the whole english champions combined in history.


Schumi has not acheived more in F1 than 'the whole english champions combined'.

Taking all the English F1 World Champions (so all British ones minus the Scots - Jim Clark & Jackie Stewart) you get the following:

WDC: MSC 7 v England 9

Wins: MSC 91 v England 117

Podiums: MSC 155 v England 294

Points: MSC 1540 v England 3275 9/14

Poles: MSC 68 v England 119

Fastest Laps: MSC 77 v England 102

Don't even get me started on Schumi's WDC 'win' of 1994 when he crashed into Hill to steal it by a point.


Well lets put that in context, don't even get ME started about the 2 race ban Schumacher got that same year for overtaking Hill on the formation lap of the British GP. The title chase wouldn't have even been close that year otherwise.... Concidence??? I think not.... That has to go down as one of the most unfair penalties in f1 history, & a blatant attempt to close the title gap that year & create a bit more excitement in what otherwise would have been a Schumi whitewash of 1994.


.....AND why does this matter, these statistics...WHO cares..It is not about stats


This is directed at

Charlie Reply:

July 23rd, 2012 at 3:33 pm


Still, the Brits needed a few men to beat Schumacher alone by a small margin.

unfair to say the least....



The Brits all won their championships racing against the field and their team-mate.

We can't say that about Schumacher can we??


I'm not disagreeing with the fact that Schumacher is statistically the best F1 driver of all time (even excluding 1994 & 1997). I was just pointing out the inaccuracy of the earlier post!


I wonder where Schumacher would be without British engineers and British based teams, or British car designers.


All these regulations are making F1 tedious to follow.

Let the teams experiment new solutions, tires, engines, whatnot, just put some sort of cap on R&D so F1 doesn't come prohibitively expensive.


I don't see anything in the regulations that say the relationship must be linear.

There are two fixed points defined at either end of the range (5.5.3) and a requirement for the mapping to be monotonically increasing, with a minimum gradient defined for the upper range (5.5.5 & 5.5.6), but that doesn't imply or require a linear relationship.


Would be good to have the pertinent detail of the Art 5.5.3, exactly what RedBull did, and why they got off covered here.


totally agreed: would add a lot to articles like these, james.


This seems to be happening too often with Red Bull to be a coincidense. It's not right that you can flout the reg's but get away with it thanks to an exepensive legal team. Sure the FIA will close the loophole this week but if their own technical delegate says the rules have been broken they should be backing him up and not shying away from the big decisions!


They don't flout them with a legal team - it's never gone to court or anything.

The development team are just picking out grey areas in the rules and using the teams huge resources to develop solutions to exploit them quickly.


intriguing points to ponder re maps. what i don't quite understand is that this year the exhausts vent to atmosphere externally in locations defined in the rules/regs. if the bodywork is designed to channel some of that exhaust gas towards the diffuser how can less torque[reduced engine reves at mid range] deliver any increased downforce?

help please.


Torque is not the rate of engine revolution, it's the measurement of the power going to the wheels from the engine.

By reducing the torque at a given throttle position, the wheels are receiving less power (hence, less wheelspin) but as the throttle is still open, fuel is still flowing into the engine and the resulting exhaust gasses are still flowing into the diffuser.


Torque is the measurement of force acting on an object.

Power is the measurement of Torque & Speed.


Exactly!! Less torque = less exhaust gas = less downforce!!


But the wheels are still getting the same torque, because the driver compensates by pushing the loud pedal harder, the upstroke is more exhaust gas for the same delivery of torque.


Interesting that Red Bull is so short on aerodynamic areas to develop they have to go back to this well that is theoretically closed off. Before Germany the pundits seemed to think the McLaren was at the end of the development road, this would tend to suggest that Red Bull at the very least see this as a road that requires less effort and worse that the potential for the car to be refined is limited. On the other hand McLaren take new development path and come up with a big step forward, the car handles well in the hands of both drivers and Button suddenly gets on better terms with the tires. Now they need to master the tires in the wet and over longer periods.


McLaren's "big step forward" only made it competitive with the Red Bull. And frankly if you want to compare the two's true performance outfit a Red Bull chassis with a Mercedes engine and you will have your answer.

Therein lies the difference ..


If you fit a Mercedes engine to a Red Bull, it would be a total lemon as nothing would be designed to work together. I know what you're trying to say but there's a whole lot more nuances to it than 'McLaren have the best engine, Red Bull have the best chassis'.

For a start, the majority of Red Bulls parlour tricks rely on the characteristics of the Renault engine, particularly its fuel economy and driveability. If Horner had his way in 2009 and switched to Merc engines, the whole blown diffuser thing would never have happened because the Brixworth engines drank fuel by comparison.


Would that lemon be comparable to the 2009 Brawn?

You remember, the car that was designed around a Honda, Honda withdrew, Brawn took over for pittance, managed to get Mercedes engines and slung them together.

Maybe I don't understand...


I guess one problem is the RB8 is an old car. Even Adrian Newey admitted that it was heavily compromised from birth, as it's an evolution of the RB6 & 7, which were designed around off-throttle blowing of the diffuser area.


As history has shown, dev'ing a new car would do RBR no better, as evident from Newey's MP4-18 that never raced. They have a better chance with an old car.


Perhaps this could be like crown of the iceberg 🙂

Darren munford

Nice explanation as always.


So they had traction control + a throttle-induced blown diffuser ?


I don't think there is anything wrong with this kind of clever technical nous. This is what F1 is all about. The job of the F1 designer is to work to the letter of the law, not to the spirit of it. If the FIA ban it (as expected) for the next race, then fair enough. They'll need to revert back to the 'legal' engine mapping, and then come up with something else. There have been many examples of this in the past, and these kinds of controversies just add to the drama and spectacle.


There's to much complaining of RBR the designing a car within the rules, there not the first team to do so! Does anyone remember Ross Braun when jenson won? He had a double diffuser when rules stated they weren't allowed?! He was just clever and seen a loop hole, if he wasn't so clever button would never have been champion!!

Despite the cars F1 is about politics and defineing the rules!! Enjoy the forever evolving debate!!



What did they have in the old days? As you never heard any talk of engine maps until recent years. Would it be feasible to go back to how things where then?


Sure, if you go back to carbuerators, with mechanical linkages.


I don't have a problem with the Red Bull innovations. Every team is doing what they can to make improvements, and if it's within the rules, then good for them. The same can be said for the legality of the hole in the Mercedes end plate operated via the DRS wing. I think the FIA just need tighter rules or standards that define the design/operation of components, and if a team works out a way around them, then good luck to them. If the FIA doesn't want a component modified, then it is up to them to define the standard and test for that prior to the start of the season as they do for example with the safety aspects of F1.


James, you mention that "It’s been evolving in recent races"...

A few of us that were at the Montreal GP last month mentioned in the comments that we heard what sounded like the old "bag of nails" sound from a blown diffuser coming from the RBR cars in some corners. Sitting at turns 6&7, I thought the same thing myself and made mention of it. Could that have been related? Has this controversy been going on for over a month and a half now?


I was sat at Village B during qualifying at Silverstone i noticed the same 'bag of nails sound' from the Red Bulls (also mentioned on here at the time)


Form what Martin Brundle described in the last race, the "bag of nails" sound is when they (legally) cut the engine to 4 cylinders to reduce fuel consumption.


Ah, thanks for the clarification.


Am I the only one confused by this? You can define a top point and a lower point, but you can't draw a straight line without 3 points.

Great site James, thanks a lot and keep up the obvious hard work which helps all of us!


¿? For every two points there is only one straight line.

Just join both points and voila you have drawn your straight line. In fact with three points you usually are unable to draw a straight line.


With three points you have an infinite amount of possibilities to draw a straight line:

A---C---B. That line is pretty straight, don't you think? The line between A and C and the line between C and B just need to have the same direction to be combined to a straight line. And there are infinite combinations that fulfill that criteria.

This is why it is so hard to come up with good rules, as soon as their wordings are too naive, they will be butchered by an engineer.


I thought the exaust gases shouldn't blow in the difuser. So i dont understand why engine maping helps if the exaust doesn't blow the difuser.....thougt it wasn't permitted this year....


You can blow the diffuser (it's impossible to stop that without having exhausts out the back of the car), you just have to have forward-mounted exhausts whose exits are visible from above (hence you can't place the exhaust exits in/next to the diffuser) and you can't have trick engine mappings to mess with engine throughput off throttle.


Red Bull with Renault r funny with their engine maps and definitely smarter than the Fia.

It looks like they had developed the engine maps so much more than other teams and more than Fia could think.

It is normal that after all this work in the field they are the ones to come up with new ideas and interpretations and everything. They just had such a big edge that they find every trick in that field first.


Does anyone else think that the medium and soft is a very conservative tyre choice for Pirelli for the next race. Think super soft and soft should be brought to Hungary like last year. Pirelli should go agressive rather than conservative.


Then everyone moans when we get 3 stops...


Black = White

Tall = Short

Cheaters = Red Bull


Sour Grapes = Non RBR supporter


[mod] Lest we forget Benneton during Michael's time there, then Ferrari, not to mention Williams before that.
Pushing the envelope of the regulations is part of the F1 game, it always has been and always will be since there will always be loop holes for the teams to work around.
Out and out cheating I don't think is very common, but working around loop holes is. Is it cheating? No. Is it unsporting? that is open for debate.
The point is, that it is not just RBR that does this, they all do it to different degrees.


EIf I was Red Bull, I would continue cheating because when you're caught, you get a slap on the wrist and your points are never taken away.

Heat from the brakes coming out of the front wheel hub, Vettel gets to keep the victory and points from Barain.

Hole in the floor, Webber gets to keep the victory and points from Monte Carlo.

Illegal engine mapping and "ghetto" traction control, Vettel has a 20 second lead after only 10 laps in Valencia. Thank God for Karma.

Illegal engine mapping and "ghetto" traction control, Webber gets to keep the victory and points from Silverstone.

Did you hear Vettel's reaction when he was told that he couldn't use the illegal engine mapping to catch upto Button? "Are you kidding me?!"

To show you how much of a difference it makes, Webber qualified 3rd for the German Grand Prix, but was passed by both Saubers in the race. After the grid penalty, he started in 8th and finished in 8th place.

I'm just wondering what Adrian Newey and Red Bull are planning next. Rockets on the back of the cars? Don't laugh. They will get busted, but they will get the victory and keep the points.


I thought "are you kidding me" was about the Kers overheating and being unable for use.


there was something murky also at monaco that webber got the benefit of, that something that the other teams decided not to protest .... now what was that, I'm trying to recall...


As you said, it seems that if a team has some people very good at finding the tiniest misstakes in the rules book, they can get away with intentional breaking of the rules - got to love the risk-free nature of it. When detected worst that can happen is getting forced to remove the "innovation" - kings of arbitrage. This is were you get when teams can state "there is nothing called the spirit of the regulations"...

I found it interesting when Horner was using the expression "legal but not sporting" when describing his thoughts on Hamiltons move on Vettel. While agree on the statement, you would think he should keep to what he knows something about - the legal part.


Hi James,

If Renault was involved, wonder if Lotus also could have gotten the benefit? Or these types of things are really team specific even if you are using the same engine supplier?




Yes, RBR is Renault works team


"...some of the fuel/air mixture finds its way into the exhausts to create post combustion – which blows hot exhaust gas under pressure down through the diffuser to create rear end downforce."

I thought steps were taken to stop diffusers from being blown?


They moved the exhausts forwards and ruled that the engine couldn't deliver a full exhaust flow off throttle. The engineers wanted the flow to remain, so sculpted the cars to drag the flow down into the area they wanted it.


Red Bull are pretty much like any other racers out there .. they see a hole and they go for it. Meanwhile tell me all about how F ducts, double diffusers, brake vents with flip ups, etc were any different, except that they were perhaps more aggregous. It was that same outlandishness that in the end made them all legal.


Very good site and the people on comments seems to know a lot of the technical details. I'm just a huge F1 fan and curious about the techinical details. I would just like to say that with these cheating, RB is adding good points to their pocket. They need to be punished, or there is no sense to have regulations. They are achieving what they want, as every race is another gamble, and the points are still valid one after the other. As someone said, Brawn GP won a title with an illegal car, and the excuse was: the next year we fix things...


We need to stop saying the cars are illegal. They've been ruled legal.

If further rules / clarifications get written post race that just means that the cars need to change for the next race. It does not mean the car previously was illegal.

I don't think it's fair on the drivers of teams to call their cars illegal when they've been signed off as legal.


Lets face it. Most of the people complaining about the innovations that Red Bull (Newey)has made are Hamilton fans. They don't like the fact Vettel is beating their wonderboy.


i cannot understand how or why people are getting upset with Redbull over this......its kinda their job to find loopholes in the regulations and push the boundaries.

You cannot blame them in any way for trying - you have to lay the blame squarely at the FIA.

Its a similar problem with accounting or law in America Versus UK. In America, the rules of accounting and the law are very prescriptive, as a consequence theres much more rules....but also more opportunity to find loopholes around them - hence the litigation culture in US.

In UK, the rules are based on principles and intent of the rule/statute. This is what is required in F1 rules - if you clearly word what the intent of the rule is, then it would be impossible for teams to find loopholes and get away with it on a technicality, they would have to comply with the intent - in this case, no blowing of diffuser, period, whatever the situation.

i cannot understand why the rules of F1 aren't written in this way.


a) Because it's not that easy: What exactly means "no blowing of the diffuser"? Does it mean that no part of diffuser gas may enter the diffuser at any time? How would you like to measure that and which concentration is okay and if you say: 0%, how do you deal with the exhaust gas coming from the car in front that flows around the car behind?

And does it mean that blowing over the diffuser (to suck the air out of it) rather than into the diffuser is allowed?

B: It opens the door for arbitrariness:

For example I find it awkward that the mass damper has been deemed a movable device to alter aerodynamics. Normal dampers are movable and they alter the aerodynamics too. Even the steering that will move the tires, which will change aerodynamics. The mass damper was, in effect, a device that stabilized the car by calming the suspension movement. This is exactly the same thing what the "Inerter" does, which McLaren introduced, and that can be found in every Formula one car today. Thanks to that device no one needs a mass damper anymore, but why is the mass damper illegal and the Inerter is not?


It doesn't open the door for arbitrariness - thats exactly what it doesnt do, if you wrote rules stating clearly the intent of the rule, rather than specifically, as the FIA rules do, how each rule should comply with specific parameters.

Its those specific parameters which allow teams to find loopholes - obviously for certain things like dimensions, engine output etc. can be specified, but in grey areas like blown diffusers, instead of saying somewhere 'no part of the diffuser to be blown by any kind of exhaust gas' they put in a badly written rule which Redbull managed to get around, and got away with it, literally, on a technicality in the wording. This would not have happened if the intent of the rule was written as a main heading.

You could easily put clarifications in response to your questions, for eg 'no blowing of diffuser from gas which the car is producing itself' that would sort out your query about if gas is coming from another car...

Also you're forgetting that if the intent was 'no blowing of the diffuser'...that would automatically force teams to place the exhaust somewhere where no gas could possibly blow on the diffuser i.e. they would all end up placing the exhaust so it stuck out the back somewhere.

Thats the power of writing the intent, it puts a plug in the gaps which prescriptive rules leave open.

regarding the mass damper, to answer your question:

extract from Racecar Engineering magazine

While the FIA’s banning of TMDs on aerodynamic grounds was tenuous, but matched common understanding of the system at the time, was more related to fears that ever heavier and complex TMDs would be fitted creating a safety fear should they break loose. The Inerters advantage is that they are lighter and a recognisable part of the suspension, thus are well contained within chassis in the event of an accident. Again Sam Michael explains "These are different to mass dampers and fully legal because they are part of the suspension system".



Well said. I agree the FIA need to have better rules written in areas where they don't want any issues. Pretty silly to leave out a sentence that states that the torque map between the 0% throttle and 100% must be linear.

Why is Red Bull the issue here? The holes in the floor, according to the wording of the rule presented stated that a hole is OK in the floor but you must not be able to see the car through it from underneath. Everyone else had put razor thin lines to technically make them the edge of the floor.

Double diffusers were Brawn using the same thing to get an advantage. J-Dampers by Renault were the same.

Where would F1 be without each team, and lets not pretend it's just RBR trying to push the rules.

Different where it's specifically excluded, Benetton Option 13 in the ECU or Renault's Crashgate....

You want to put RBR in the same league as an organised race fix with a crash, or a 'hidden' option to allow TC???

This is not the same, it is interpretation of badly written rules. I am sure the FIA could employ a few more lawyers to write better rules and we wouldn't have this discussion



i cannot understand why the rules of F1 aren’t written in this way.


because controversy is great for the business. F1 will be debated all week long... keeps interest.


Christian Horners comments and attitude towards Lewis Hamiltons overtake of , are telling.

Whilst he agrees the Hamiltons pass was legal , he was miffed that it affected his driver.

Perhaps he might like to consider his traction control and diffuser blowing might be legal , but it affects 23 other drivers and there teams , not to mention the fans and supporters of all the teams who aren't Red Bull.

Can't have it both ways Mr Horner


I had the luck to be part of the FIA Rally TWG during many years. Usually these meetings are attended by FIA technical people, some high profile FIA staff, and a representative and an engineer of each team/manufacturer.

You could not believe how incredibly smart those engineers are. They are miles ahead of everyone there, and when you suggest a writing for a rule, they already are viewing the loophole. Some times it opens a heated debate between engineers from different teams, something really interesting to see. I think most technically oriented F1 fans would love to see those sessions on live TV!

These engineers, among the best in the World, are paid to be bright, and if they would see any advantage opportunity in what's not written, they would take it. This is why FIA is appointing more and more high-profile ex-F1 or ex-WRC engineers to be their technical men.

The beauty of motorsport at this level is this engineering race too. Without these bright men you would have never seen wonderful machines as the 1978 Murray's Brabham BT46B "Fan Car".




Maybe it's time to simplify the formula! Cut out all the detailed rules and allow the teams to be innovative how they make the car work within a few strictly defined specifications. That way they wouldn't be continually trying find little wrinkles in the regulations. I do appreciate that some of the rules have a cost cutting motive, but surely over-complicating the regulations makes it more costly for the teams to push the parameters?


Here are the tires you have to work with, here is how much gas you get to run the race, here is box that your car must fit inside of.... Go for it boys!


Must give penalty for Red Bull. Every race they breach policy, after the race they give some unwanted explanation. This is not sporty behavior.


thanks for the explanations chaps but i am still confused. my research tells me that torque is related to engine revs. if, as has been stated, that in the mid range[of engine revs] there is less torque being delivered to the wheels then there is also less exhaust gases being generated. how can that aid downforce directed via the bodywork to the diffuser as there is less volume? there has been no suggestion of OTB in anything that i have read.

thanks again


Torque is a function of volumetric efficiency, it is the physical turning force that the engine can develope measured in lbs per foot, (Old school), or newton mtrs or whatever you work with. Horse power/killowats/geegees/BHP,(etc) is a mathmatical calculation based on a formular, eg bhp (brake horse power) is torque (in lbs/ft) multiplied by rpm devided by 5250. Torque/volumetric efficiency tends to drop off as rpm exceeds the point where the design of the engine causes the breathing to be unable to keep up with the rpm increases. The engine can still rev higher and continue to do good work, due to gearing, but the torque is falling off, there reaches a point where if you exceed certain rpm the torque is so much reduced that the engine has stoped producing useable power. (So you change up a gear). Your power calculation can continue to increase even though torque is dropping off, (a function of the rpm increase), but there comes a time when the calculations show power is declining, so it can be seen that max torque point in the rev range will be at lower revs than the max power point in the rev range.



sorry to double dip chaps but i have one other small query. how do RB reduce torque below that which is supposed to be normal at a mid range point of throttle depression.? surely that would be a function of gearing et al and nothing to do with engine revs.

obviously i am struggling...bear with me.


By retarding the ignition timing and/or leaning the air/fuel ratio. This is done by writing an apropriate map into the ECU and having it selectable by the driver. (Along with other maps he may be instructed to select according to the circumstances throughout the race).


Tom in Adelaide

I'd hate for F1 to end up like cycling, where everyone feels they have to cheat to be in the running.


The frustration many have over Red Bull exploring legalities on engine mapping is not that they are pushing the limits, in my opinion. Instead, I think it's just based on visibility. Engine mapping is invisible to fans—aside from what some of us are sharp enough to hear when cars are off-throttle—and thus hard to understand or geek-out on. It's effectively computer code.

On the flip side, this year's rules for exhaust placement have made aerodynamic design—exhaust bulges, ducts and coanda effect shapes—a feast for the eyes. Same thing goes for pullrod suspensions, ductless brake cooling, and Williams' small gearbox. We can all see it, and we can thus relate to it. You can't say that about computer code.


I love the comments, the bias that is shown is unbelievable. It was reported but not widely commented on that Mclaren had been using the floor flex limitations to the max and the FIA had told them in Barcelona that they were taking advantage off the regulations. They had been doing this for a few races.

My question to all of you is why didn't you go on about that then.

Hypocrisy and double standards

Rules are there for clever people to circumvent that is not illegal or morally bankrupt it's reality

If it falls within the rules it's not illegal obviously it might not be there intention but it points more to the people writing the rules not being as smart as the people that have to work with the rules,


It is interesting to read the opinions of the posts here and one cannot help think that a lot of them are based more on team/driver preferences and emotions rather than the actual question of rules and regulations. So let us say McLaren were doing it, then the McL supporters would be claiming it as ok, not ‘cheating’ as some have suggested. (insert your favourite team name for McL). If the internet were around for the last 50 years then we would be having this discussion every year.

Firstly I would like to see Webber do well and win races however one cannot help feel for him that when RB ‘fiddle’ with the EBD and engine maps etc that it seems to hurt him but suits Vettels style of driving. There is more than just a coincidence that his loses pace when these aides are added to the car IMO. Given this, one could say that I am against what RB are doing. However I am not.

RB is doing what every team, past, present or in the future would do if given the right resources. They are not cheating as some have exclaimed, they are however looking for any advantage they can in F1, within the regs and within the spirit that is F1. F1 is about innovation, it is about engineers doing what they do best and it about getting the most speed out of the package to the guidelines.

Has any RB device been determined to be illegal and failed any tests? NO (that I am aware of). Have loopholes been closed and clarifications made by the FIA or Technical Group. YES. Has this occurred to other teams in the past as well?. YES.

To the people that they say RB are cheating I would then suggest that they should look at past champion drivers and cars that have been found to have used illegal items/designs. Do we proclaim that they should be stripped of there championships since they cheated or had illegal systems on their cars? One particular team and driver come to mind.

Was Chapman a cheat? NO. Was Brawn a cheat?. NO. Did they push the boundaries? YES. The list goes on.

There would be very very very few teams that actually went out and consciously cheated. (apart from Bennetton who we now know did). Are RB cheating?. NO. Are people who are criticising RB for pushing the boundaries wrong?. In my opinion, YES.

I say well done to RB whilst the others, except Ferrari, are still playing catch up.


I am a Ferrari fan and let me be very honest. If it was Ferrari, I would not crucify them in this forum for pushing rules to the limit. In fact, I would praise them for being super smart and bold to do it. So, Red Bull did nothing wrong...they did something that was on the limit, but did not cross it and therefore they were not penalized.

Now, I would assume that the clarification is going to follow and either Red Bull will stop doing it or other teams will start doing it.

So....I would also assume that all people complaining here are not red bull supporters and are rathrer upset that it was not the team they support that came up with a performance advantage, be in right on the border of rules.

I think they are super smart.....


Hi James,

Will we have an clarification or any rule change on engine mapping before Hungary race so that we are clear with the rule and other teams also can take advantage of that rule change.

What if the teams are given clarifications after hungary i.e. in the summer break..will Redbull be asked to run their engine maps with older configurations as the rules are not clear yet or all the other teams will modify their engine mapping in order to get traction control coming out of corners and less wheel spin...


Cards are marked for this weekend, I'd expect a TD as long as they can draft it in time.


I don't think FIA will get things right at all, unless they hire Newey, Brawn and the top notch technical specialists to keep the rules at bay. But I kinda like it though as there's great form in being creative and innovative which others will say it's cheating.

Noticed year in year out it has been the same, somehow, somewhere there will be rules broken and it will never change. There has never been the spirit of F1 rules, but I've been enjoying F1 for many years.

Looking forward to Hungary.


Id like to know whats going to occur, in 2014 when you have ;

a. turbocharged engines with 15000 rpm limits

b. total fuel flow that will probably mean peak power is around 12000 rpm

c. typical massive ramp up of power from a turbo sized to deliver 800 hp or so, with a 1.6 lt engine. simply said, lagmonster. i expect the kers/electrical harvesting to impact the turbo and im not smart enough to say how, but i believe all these factors will impose massive costs as the teams figure out ways to beat their competitors.

my take: the rules makers need a 3-4 year holiday. Leave the bloody sport alone. you are influencing which drivers become dominant simply by ensuring the team with the best engineers 9and we know who that is dont we) become the most dominant team.

funny how the fia didnt play with the rules so much when MS was dominant for years.


To gentlemen that associates RBR with cheating, I think you are missing the point of Formula 1. If you are not pushing the rules boundaries, and be creative in your designs, in my opinion, you shouldn't be in F1.

Many intelligent engineers push the rules to the absolute limits so that they could bring an advantage to their respective teams. On the other hand, those special designs will eventually inspire applications on or off the race track- either directly or indirectly. If you ask me, I actually think the rules in F1 can be relaxed and should allow even more innovations and ideas.


People complain about Red Bull always been on the limit (And beyond) of legality, Yet isn't this always the case when a team gains an edge?

I've been following F1 since the early 60s & can recall hundreds of examples of dominant teams pushing things too far & those chasing them doing the same to try & catch up.

The Brabham Fan car, Lotus's un-raced twin chassis car, McLaren's 2nd brake pedal, Various bits on the Ferrari's of the early 2000's, McLaren's un-raced 2003 car, Red Bull's flexi-wings, McLaren's F-duct, Brawn's double diffuser just to name a few.

All examples of teams reading the regs & then pushing right upto & occasionally over them.

If you don't like this sort of thing then don't watch F1 because this is a big part of what F1 is all about.


Exhaust blowing is one thing, making the engine more drivable is quite another.

I don't understand why the regs seems always to be half-cooked (or over-done) leaving (or leading to) loop-holes.

To fix exhaust blowing, why not state there has to be two exhaust pipes with circular orifices that terminate 100mm beyond the aftermost bodywork (like they were for many years).

As for mapping to make the engine/car more drivable - age-old issue (even the venerated Cosworth V8 had to have its throttle cam re-profiled to make it drivable initially) - so it is fine as long as they don't exceed any defined power-torque-revs profile. In fact that sort of mapping is where the sport could contribute to ordinary motoring.

By the way is all the air for the engine pulled-in via the opening above the driver's head? That is, there is no room for using suction to help aero?


It's you missing the point, the FIA and teams agreed not to pursue technology related to hot air blowing as a means on achieving downforce. RedBull cheated, plain and simple. The victims are Vettel and Webber whos successes will be tainted in the years to come by the knowledge that they were driving cars with an illegal advantage.


The whole German Gp was very unsporting for Red Bull and Sebastian Vettle and to what lengths Red Bull will go to put their golden boy on top over his team mate and other teams and their drivers.

It also puts a question mark on Red bull and Sebastian WCC and WDC in prior years.



I have NO problem with hugely talented drivers/engineers/strategists/Team Principles pushing the limits of the regs.

#1. own up to getting slapped from time-to-time

#2. muzzle your highly paid lab rat 2 X WDC

#3. kill off your Team Advisor press association

#4. get down to business...

when the hell did unlapping oneself become a talking point??

let's line the track with 2 foot diameter trees, 8 foot ditches, and farm houses - then let's see what the "fans" would be chatting about this week - maybe the biggest massacre of the World's "best drivers" in history...

and the chatter about Seb's move being moral, ethical, and legal?? not buying into it !! not for a half a NY heartbeat !

while defending Red Bull/Seb and their program for awhile now, I have now officially gone over the edge for their incomprehensible *** Bull crap.

I am forever over it...


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