F1 Winter Break
Horner dismisses suggestions Red Bull are using banned traction control system
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  03 Oct 2013   |  7:25 pm GMT  |  193 comments

Red Bull’s team principal Christian Horner has dismissed suggestions his team are running a form of traction control – which is banned – on their car.

Former F1 team principal Giancarlo Minardi suggested Red Bull were using the system – which stops the rear wheels spinning and has been banned since 2009 – after watching the action trackside at the Singapore Grand Prix.

At one stage in the race, Vettel was lapping an incredible two seconds quicker than anyone else as he clinched his sixth victory of the season on the Marina Bay Street Circuit. Minardi said Red Bull’s Renault engine sounded “similar to the sound made by the engine when the traction control system was used in previous seasons”.

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton then added to the speculation in the Korean Grand Prix paddock on Thursday when he said: “If you look at the onboard [camera], he is on the power full throttle at least 20 metres before anyone else, which is a huge advantage. The last time I was able to put the pedal down that quick was back in 2007 or 2008, when we had traction control.”

But Horner said: “You’d be fairly stupid to introduce traction control onto a car that is governed by a single ECU that is granted by a tender of the FIA and that is scrupulously checked by the FIA. I can’t imagine any team in the pit lane would even entertain it.

“The electronic controls on the car are so tightly governed because it’s a controlled box we have. The settings in both the [Red Bull] cars are absolutely identical and they fully comply with the FIA rules. The FIA should be able to verify that and it’s a standard unit that all the teams are using. Any suggestion of traction control is either purely mischievous or wishful thinking.”

Red Bull’s reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel, who leads the championship by 60 points from nearest rival Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, added that his team’s system was simply better than anyone else’s.

The German said: “We are pretty proud of the system we have because other people will never figure out how we have done it. Constantly we try to improve the car, that is part of the homework we try to do.”

And off Vettel’s impressive pace in Singapore, Horner said: “The facts are he drove an incredible race, he had incredible pace and maximised the most out of the car. He was a driver on absolute peak form. Is it a distraction? No. Will we lose any sleep over it? Absolutely not.”

Alonso was also adamant that rivals Red Bull’s car is legal. The Spaniard said: “They are using something different compared to the other teams but something that is completely OK. They pass all the checks every race so it’s up to us to do a better job.

“I think this engine noise difference has been all year there with Red Bull. It’s true that maybe in Singapore it’s more obvious because it’s a street circuit and people can watch in the corners but if you go to a winter test already in Barcelona we were in the corners following the test session and the Red Bull is a different sound.”

Featured Video
Behind the Scenes at the track
Behind the Scenes at the track
Featured News in ferrari
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

Lewis is funny how he acts like he is not adding any controversy, but is completely doing just that. This is not 1994 and '95 it is 1000 times harder to sneak stuff like that now with a universal ECU. Reality is the car is great and the driver is great. Most teams have moved on to next year anyway so let's hope the field is closer down the road.


I was surprised by Alonso's response saying that RedBulls speed was a legal improvement. Then I remembered Alonso is a friend of Webber and I think that Webber has probably blabbed to Alonso what the new tech RedBull/Renault have come up with.


alonso is level headed, the response he made is to push himself far away from this controversy as possible. he knows what he has to do and for the past 6 races he has done everything in his power to be right there, that fact is inarguable, however the outcome is always the same, redbull ahead. yes alonso is fustrated, he has every right to be, as does lewis, only difference is how they handle thier own fustration. as for his friendship with webber, they are close, but webber would not sell out on redbull despite how much he may not like vettel. i dont think redbull is "cheating" i think it comes down to the chassis, remeber its a renault powertrain, all RBR has to be concerned with is the chassis. that is whre the .5 second differential is, nto in the ecu not in the driver, trust me you put alonso in an identical car, he would teach vettel a thing or two, and vise versa.

Scuderia McLaren

Don't worry Michael S.

Lewis will backflip on this by the end of the weekend. The headline will be something like, "we need to fight Vettel in the last races, he's our focus and he's just doing the best job out there. Full respect to him". Or something like that.

The paddock doesn't put any stock into Lewis's words either. He's not very bright I hear.


Exactly 😀


So Lewis is not very bright, how interesting...

Who did you hear that from, his school teachers, have you spoken to Mr A Newey's teachers too by chance?

Scuderia McLaren

+1 @Jim


You can be intelligent without having qualifications. And you can have qualifications without being intelligent.


My goodness you do sound bitter, you should try an extra sugar in your tea 🙂

If you watch the drivers press conference (where the comment was made) it was clearly tongue in cheek.

Scuderia McLaren

Tried that sugar Tim. I think the amount required to sweeten this bitter ol dog up would give me diabetes!


But back on topic, my observations of Lewis jealousy extend beyond this press conference. Yes he did have a cheeky smile but so did Vettel when he made recent comments about balls, replicating parts etc. That didn't stop the world lambasting him. Lewis opens his mouth, crap comes out. He can smiling if he likes, makes no difference.


Most of the pit lane by now will know that Red Bull have something that no one else has, and while it is not traction control par se, it could be something that has a similar effect that is outside the control of the ECU. The Red Bull team are very clever at thinking out of the box. Lewis is absolutely right to point out the huge advantage that Red Bull have in terms of how quickly they are able to use the throttle of of corners. Christian Horner likes to keep it clouded in mystery for obvious reasons by saying it is Vettel, however the cat is out of the bag, and it is only a matter of time before engineers are able to identify what Red Bull are doing, but it will be too late for this season. The idiots who thought it was Vettel doing it when it was clearly the car now are shown the truth of the matter.


Hahaha whats next eh? Seb has next year's ERS already? 160hp for 33 sec you can bet on it there's no way Seb can be this quick... oh but he can, Hamilton should worry more about containing Rosberg rather than obsessing over Seb's dominance, if the boy can score points as a teenager and stand out in 2007 and 2008, in this car he is untouchable just face it even next year unless merc and ferrari has a car advantage of over 0.4sec they can forget about the title.


I think Lewis made those comments before Minardi so I don't think he was trying to create mischief.


Minardi said it in Singapore, Lewis in Korea.


Are you sure? I thought he said that post race in Singapore.


LOL, he made them during the press conference to ensure the maximum stirring was achieved.


Haha ... wasn't it a 0.6 sec advantage (that Merc and Ferrari would need) on another post of yours?

Which is it?


Whilst posting on the 'astonishing speed- thread he claimed 0.5 seconds - 😉


It is indeed wishful thinking, but I believe Red Bull. Any team doing that would have to be made up of complete utter fools - which Red Bull is not. Newey would't do that.

But if the FIA (or anyone else) prove me wrong then no complaints from me 😉 (That was wishful)


Hamilton, at Korea 2012, had a rather suspicious engine note himself:


I don't recall any outcry about it though.

I just heard the offending sound from a fans video in Singapore... not only is it no different to the "off-throttle rumble" that all Renault engine cars had at Silverstone _2012_, but Monza 2012 too (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jTTMxtv2PY )... there isn't anything unusual about it. Those who have been at GP's this season have said the same thing; they all have it. The other engine manufacturers give off different sounds, but all of them do it (the Merc's is more of a high-pitch VRRR if I recall)

You can even hear it from the on board clip of Vettel pole lap in Valencia last season:


(0:28 in particular. Headphones recommended, else it is hard to pick out)

In any case if it were traction control I, personally, would have thought it would be active when he is on throttle, in contrast to all the clips where is clearly mid corner.


If I read right, It was GIANCARLO MINARDI that said something about engine sounds. Hamilton only observed how early Vet seemed to get on the power, full throttle, and it's Ham that gets all the flak. For your argument to hold water, maybe you need to present evidence that Ham does seem to get on the throttle much earlier than he claimed. I'm tired of all this Hamilton this, Hamilton that.


2012 was last year, since then the engine maps have been tighten and restrictions on exhaust positions have also been introduced to decrease the blown floor effects for this year I think matey.


@Spinodontosaurus, I stand corrected buddy it was 2012, my mistake. I think they tightened up the mapping after that at some point.


2012 was the season that introduced the restrictions on exhaust blowing, and there wasn't any change to these regulations for 2013.

Those who were at Australia this season have said that the sound was present then.


If RBR were going to illegally program the ECU surely the first thing to do would be to give Mark launch control.


i was thinking they are using the clutch/gearbox as traction, as mark has so many problems on a simple launch - something is going on in that area i think .....i mean if i mashed the throttle and the clutch was disingaged to 80% then re engaged pretty quick - that would work........

Scuderia McLaren

+1 Simmo.

The other thing is what about Webber's car? Why cant he match Vettel? Or some say RBR didn't put the "part" on Webber's car.

lol. Come on, we all KNOW if Webber was missing even a single cup of tea as compared to Vettel, then the tea lady would be hauled over the coals and the worlds media would be sitting in a Mark Webber compaintathon conference.

Fact is, Vettel is excellent in going with the story and misdirecting. It's quite good that he's only focused on the 4th WDC.

Lewis should do the same, maybe try to focus on winning consistently for a change. He's got a car that has 8 poles already. MSC and SEN would have many more wins with that in their heyday.


What is with all your Merc and Lewis bashing, this topic is more about the mighty Vettel and the very clever Red Bull. MSC and SEN would have also struggled with a car that overheated it's rears in the race when on high fuel. Fwiw, I to do belive Senna would have had more poles than Lewis though.

MSC was racing last year as part of a 3 year stint with Merc, do you remember this or did you only start watching F1 this year?

Anyway, what happened was MSC got beat 3 years on the bounce by some very fast lad called ROS, who happens to be Lewis's teammate this year..

On Webber, it is not inconceivable that Vettel has parts Webber doesn't now is it, remember the front wing at Silverstone.


You STILL don't know that Webber itself stated in Silverstone that he doesn't feel difference between old wing and new wing and he actually doesn't care??


Before I begin, clarity - I'm not saying RBR have TC.

I have always said however that anything related to car technology or F1 rules can always be pushed further by RBR than others. Let's say RBR had TC against the rules and were caught, what would you do? Stop drinking $2 cans or sugar water? F1 car they make has nothing to do with the beverage they sell.

Let's say Ferrari has TC agsint the rules and were caught, what would you do? Perhaps not buy a $300K car from a company that needs to cheat on the very automotive competition that is supposed to showcase their supperior engineering skill to win? Ferrari on-track activity is directly linked to their off-track products. They can't afford to go as far. Neither can Mercedes - as they learned with the tire test. Nor any car brand racing in F1.

Now back to this TC. If it's not done electronically, it's likely done mechanically. Is TC achieved via mechanical method legit? It's strictly electronic TC that's banned, right? Anything mechanical is fair game?


Given the limits on what the differential is allowed to do, with variations in the locking level and that's it, I don't think much that is mechanical is fair game at all. Your optional torque vectoring differential on a Boxster is more advanced than what F1 is allowed.

If it is purely mechanical, than the only thing the system - if it exists - can do is compare the velocity and acceleration of the wheels. The differentials in effect do that already, so it is just the style of diff that they have that could vary. To have variable locking levels points to clutch plates (which are electronically controlled via a switch on the steering wheel), so I suspect the room to move is small.

Fundamentally, the best way to aid traction is to increase the downforce, even in first gear engineers have found (Frank Dernie has written about this for one) that aerodynamics are the most effective set up change to aid traction. Roll bar settings help in long corner exits at the expense of understeer, but in general it is most likely aerodynamics and using the exhausts.


@Sebee "If it’s not done electronically, it’s likely done mechanically."

I thought much the same thing - seemed to me that the only thing CH denied was using some form electronic TC directed by the common ECU. In fact he seemed strangely keen to focus all attention on that very thing. What he didn't do was deny that the RB car is automatically modulating engine power output in some way that doesn't involve the ECU.

Maybe RB found a loophole, maybe they're hiding something shady, or maybe car and driver found a perfect sweet-spot in Singapore.


Serious question. Would setting the engine map so that two cylinders are always cut below a certain speed threshold count as traction control? It strikes me as an 'easy' way to make the engine more tractable out of slow corners and since it's connected to speed rather than wheel spin it's 'not' TC.


hmmmm hancock, let me research this a bit, i have an idea of what redbull has done differently, but im not one to speculate... when and if its announced, or other teams find out the recipie for thier own cars ill see if i was right or wrong, on this question however, i dont think a cylinder shutdown would be the best hypothesis, think of the engine and the valvetrain for example, its a pnuematic valvetrain, not mechanical, its not driven off a cam sensor, its simply a chain, like an old big block. the biggest disadvantge of a cylinder shutdown would be the unburned fuel dumped into the cylinders,which could in return damage the engine or over the course of the race decrease performance. that being said, the only way red bull could use a cylinder deactivation with out hampering performance overall. would be with an ecu program for the injectors to cut off to the corresponding cylinders. which would be clear to the FIA after post race inspections. further more, this would have been reported, as im sure many other engenieers and teams have thought of ways to implement TC under the radar.


While i think red bull have found a form of traction control I don't think they are using engine electronics to limit wheelspin but possibly the KERS system as some form of drag brake to help stop the wheels from losing grip. If so then i dont know if this is illegal or not but if its a legitimate way then I tip my hat to them. Certainly the issues they always have with KERS seem strange and can't always be blamed on the packaging of the car.

Also does anyone remember in 94/95 when Herbert or verstappen had to use schumachers car to qualify after bring nowhere they popped in a quick lap and after commented that that car felt so different to drive than there own but couldn't figure out why. Maybe they aren't running this on webbers car or a different setting as mark is certainly not 2 seconds off vettel in the same car surely?

When I watched the red bull at silverstone test they were so much more planted through fast corners and if they are finding a way to control the wheel speeds on traction zones combined with the extra downforce they have now this will help with tyre degradation and wear which allows them to have such amazing speed in the early laps


The regulation is very broad and very clear. ANY traction control system is banned. Mechanical, electrical, egotistical, neurotical, ectoplasmical - it doesn't matter. All banned.


9.3 Traction control :

No car may be equipped with a system or device which is capable of preventing the driven wheels from spinning under power or of compensating for excessive torque demand by the driver.

Any device or system which notifies the driver of the onset of wheel spin is not permitted.


I agree if there is a real possibility to slow the car using the KERS system- as many hybrid cars do ( think the panamera does this at low speed) then the driver can get back on the throttle sooner on low speed corners. This application can be developed further next year also. I do appreciate the hybrid systems on road cars are quite different but the concept can be translated to F1 cars !


An interesting idea. I suspect the sensor path would be pretty obvious in the control ECU. KERS charging is monitored and to have it occur when the brakes are not engaged would stand out pretty clearly.

The cars have more low speed downforce then any other time in F1 history and the last time they would have had so little torque from the engines would have been the 60s. The gearing allowed by 18000 rpm gets much of this back, but traction is not the issue it was in the 90s. The driver's right foot can do an extremely good job of getting pretty close to the maximum.


They are not charging the KERS but in affect reversing the way KERS works which causes the drag retardation of the wheel. The same way car manufacturers are now able to do away with a starter motor and use the alternator to either generate power by neing driven or be driven and start the engines through the auxillary belt


Then where does the energy go, if not towards charging the batteries? You cannot have an electromagnetic break without generating a current.

It would be a pretty good idea to use the KERS harvesting as a form of traction control, but I don't think it can be done undetected.


Hi Paul,

If they are using the KERS motor generator in its generating mode, then the electrical charge that is generated by the back EMF has to go somewhere. It cannot just vanish. The standard place for this is the battery - that's what I meant by KERS charging, not just the motor generator unit.

To get any meaningful traction control benefit against a 500 kW engine, the KERS unit would be working flat out or close to it. Dumping 60 kW isn't easy to do in an undetectable manner. It would also be a difficult control problem as motor-generator is constant power while the engine closer to constant torque. At low revs in slow corners, say 10,000 rpm, the KERS braking effect is nearly twice what it is at 18,000 rpm. To work effectively it would have to be mapped to all the engine modes. The only place this can be done is in the ECU, which the FIA can easily analyse.

It is an interesting idea Paul. I'd suggest saying "you heard it here first", but don't put any money you cannot to lose on it.





That is a great idea!

and more plausable given the ecu rules.

did you read this somewhere, or is this your idea?


I work for a car manufacturer and have been working in the hybrid drivetrains and seeing how the systems now operate (automatic handbrakes are the energy recovery systems simply being energised) made me think if there was a way to time the pulses against throttle input and wheel speeds it would help control wheelspin

The clue was possibly the funny tyre marks that webber was leaving out the hairpin in Montreal as if the system wasn't quite calibrated right...


Awesome! I cant believe how smart people have become (yourself definately included)

and scence Adrian is the smartest, something is definatly up!


Actually Briatore gave Verstappen Schumacher's car in Free practice and he couldn't improve his time.


Vettel has played a blinder today, not only getting journalists to take his clearly tongue in cheek comments at face value but also getting Rosberg riled up over some very benign comments.


Sounds like alonso wants an RBR ride.


Seems like quite the opposite to me. Alonso could just be saying this to try to get Ferrari's reputation back up (as opposed to being seen as cheaters trying to accuse other teams of breaking the rules), and by doing so his own.

Or maybe you're right 😉


Alonso is more sinister than that. If the allegations were true then why limit it to Singapore? Why not try and get the red bull banned from the whole season! Just saying...


Webber. He's decided to go to Porsche......

Scuderia McLaren

Turns out Robin Frijns doesn't. And wants to complain about not having opportunity in F1.


Interesting article and very similar to a piece from Gary Anderson who goes on to explain how and why Red Bull are leading the WDC championship this year.

It seems that Lewis is starting to get 'found out' by the likes of Gary and the F1 intelligentsia. Comments on matters such a traction control will do his cause no good at all.

Maybe he could find a new role by playing a bit part in 'The Book of Mormon'. I saw it last night, it was absolutely fantastic.


It seems that Lewis is starting to get ‘found out’ by the likes of Gary and the F1 intelligentsia.....

Ha ha, is that the same Gary Anderson who said the 2013 McLaren looks like a good improvement on the 2012 car (http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/21281256?

Forgive me if I don't hang on his every word 🙂

Scuderia McLaren

Yeah I read that too. It's a good piece. It certainly does show Lewis in a new light. He should probably focus on just being consistent for a change... the car he drives has secured 8 poles already this year. Hardly a slow car. Schumacher in his hey day, or Senna would have secured many more wins with that by now.


It's not Lewis that's been found out, but Vettel. Now we have the evidence that it is the car, which anyone with any intelligence already knew!


I can't see why everyone so far on this thread seems to have it in for Hamilton. He just made the verifiable observation that the onboard camera shows that Vettel is on the power at least 20 metres before anyone else, which is a huge advantage. He doesn't accuse RBR of having traction control.

The fact is that Vettel's car has a distinctive engine note in certain situations which needs explaining. Vettel's comment that RBR are "pretty proud of the system we have because other people will never figure out how we have done it", confirms that -- however much Horner claims it's just that Seb is a great driver -- Hamilton is right to point out that there is something special about Vettel's car.

Let's hope for the sake of the sport that other teams manage to figure out what RBR are doing. We want drivers to win because of skill -- not because one car is inexplicably dominant.


Well said.


Well said.


Red Bull is perfecting a “system” that is mimicking the effects of banned traction control, Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport reported on Thursday.



What cause and how has lewis been found out, along with every one else apart from vettal?


I'm already tired of all of this.


Yes, it seems like another small F1 drought has got the media and fans going again, but at least it's more interesting than watching Vettel winning races.


Correction on paragraph 3 - 'seventh victory'.

Except for Force India, Marussia and Torro Rosso, all the other teams are using the latest version of the ECU which is SR254. That means Red Bull must be having a clever system which emulates traction control.

I am not surprised that both the Red Bulls are identical and Webber is unable to get the maximum out of the car. In a way, I am happy about that because otherwise Webber will mess up Vettel's race. He is still harbouring a massive grudge.

What will be more worrying for the opposition is, Newey said the 2014 car is a cousin of the current RB9 and this clever contraption will be on the new car as well.


i'm not a vettel fan but even so, I think his performance was one of the greatest I have seen and I don't believe for one second he was using traction control.

i'm a bit confused though, I thought the ECU was a sealed unit made by McLaren so TC is impossible, but vettel said "We are pretty proud of the system we have, other people will never figure out how we have done it" can someone explain?


They can't explain they're just taking stabs in the dark, clutching at straws, expect more excuses next year too when Seb wins again.


Pretty sure he is referring to the car as a whole, not the ECU.


He was making a joke

Asked in a later question about Red Bull's 2014 car, the 26-year-old returned to the theme. "There's elements of this year's car going in to next year's...things like traction control will obviously be..." he grinned.

"We are pretty proud of the system we have because other people will never figure out how we've done it," added Vettel.

Rubinho's Keyfob

Sometimes, the best place to hide is out in the open 😉


i’m a bit confused though, I thought the ECU was a sealed unit made by McLaren so TC is impossible, but vettel said “We are pretty proud of the system we have, other people will never figure out how we have done it” can someone explain?

Which clearly means vettel and RBR are clever enough to use some illegal system in their car and still able to get away with it week in week out. FIA and other teams simply do not have any little clue what so ever


Not sure that's what it "clearly" means at all.

Agreed with Horner that they'd be stupid to try, but hey, people get caught having made stupid decisions all the time.

The downside is enormous though, if they were doing something illegal, and got caught ... no doubt exclusion from the championship this year, and raised suspicions of their previous titles.

Doesn't seem worth the risk to me.


There are three possible explanations:

1st: RBR have a very clever system to aid traction not linked to the ECU and is therefore presumably legal.

2nd: He's just having a little joke to tweak the other teams.

3rd: Both of the above 🙂


System can mean anything... and that was the tonguw in cheek bit...


I think Vettel is practising for a future as a team owner / principal.

He's talking loud and saying nothing, just to mess with everyone else's heads.


i think horner is telling the truth, red bull don't traction control, as we know it, on their car. something else legal and the other teams don't know what it is yet.


I like the sound of that yet! It leaves an open ending so other teams may be able to get there...


Alonso is right, if you are beaten fair & square take a loss with honor and dignity.

James, please shed some light on a new tire jack of RBR. Lots of talks about it being another innovation.


The sour grapes keep getting sourer. Be it the Italian media, be it Hamilton who seems to be obsessed with Vettel and trying to diminish him in each interview, be it Rosberg with his latest childish comments towards Vettel, be it the booers and the ones claiming they should be allowed to boo.

RBR and Vettel are doing the best job and extracting the most out of themselves, period.

If anyone should be accused of using a form of traction control, it's Ferrari with their alien like fast starts every time.


So Horner discredit the mention of Traction control, what is logic because it is probably impossible, but he did not deny the special engine mapping for a blown difusser. The question is, what would happen to SV if he is not in clean air and running in the pack. would he be able to challenge other cars with this setup?


Gotta say i loved Hamilton's comment to stir the pot...

"The last time I was able to put the pedal down that quick was back in 2007 or 2008, when we had traction control.”

Everyone knows this traction control story is a load of balderdash


Hes a world champion and probably the quickest one on the grid ....He just stated a fact.

Also if hes envious of Vettel I don't blame him as vettel has running shoes and all the other drivers have lead shoes it must be pretty frustrating for them 🙂


Who's this everyone? You mean all the experts on this forum. Your talking about the most complex cars on the planet. I doubt anybody on these forums has a clue about how these cars work or what can be manipulated. How long did it take before anyone noticed that RBR had flexable front wings? It even took the other teams by suprise. Does anyone on here understand the process that it took to produce that? This tc debate has gone from total rejection by people to some very interesting discussions by some very knowlegable who have some interesting theories. Try to keep an open mind.


The rules clearly state no traction control thats how anyone who knows anything about f1 knows, RB would be very daft to try that one, therefore lewis's comment was just to stir the pot


Not a clever comment at all. Its one from a person who shows every sign that he is filled with envy for another driver because he is working with his engineers and advancing his car, just what Hamilton should be doing. Another year and another WDC passes him by and that is what hurts him. Its bad sportsmanship when someone implies that the achievement of a driver is removed just because some stupid fossil says RB are using TC in their car. Its really bad Karma to try and use such a statement to your advantage when in fact all it shows is how jealous you are. Lewis should do what his fans advise every other driver on the grid to do, shut up and do his talking on the track and then perhaps he will earn some respect.

Scuderia McLaren


It's a little sad now really. At least Alonso is becoming somewhat magnanimous.

Lewis seems genuinely jealous to me. Someone needs to remind him his F1 gestation and birth was in one of the greatest teams in F1 and at he time the team with the fastest car two years running. He has had every opportunity to build on that and turn McLaren into a world beater in 2009,2010,2011,2012, but instead he just steered the team into the false development paths and subsequently left when they are down.

Not a good look.


Thats right McLaren brought new front noses to the races, lewis said that wont work, quickly drew a quick sketch of what he thinks would work, takes it to the factory builds it then sticks it on his car, thats why the maccas are struggling this year as there main developer has left the team, man you make equinox lok like a ham fan


Oh mate you really are a peach. Did you watch F1 last year? Lewis "really" did steer the mighty Mclaren into false development paths, he also put the incorrect parts on his own car and managed to fluff his own fueling, his own tyre stops, manufacture his own faulty parts and all this while Jenson was carefully steering the team in the correct direction, of course.

As a Mclaren fan I thanked god that Lewis finally left our team so we can return to glory this year, back where we should be in 2013.


Have you seen the drivers press conference, where LH made the remark? It was clearly tongue in cheek, he was grinning at Massa when he said it and several other drivers where smirking.

You are perfectly entitled to your opinion, but please try and get your facts straight first.


Somebody was saying Vettal has a switch/button under the steering wheel that switches off some cylinders and he can use it comming out of corners to enable him to accelerate earlier without the risk of wheelspin/oversteer or excessive tyre wear, thereby getting earlier exhaust flow benifit to help the difuser/rear downforce.



Your theory would support the idea that they would use less fuel for race distance by not firing all cylinders and would explain the great pace we have seen in the opening laps of recent grand prixas they can run ligter and don't wear the tyres so hard so have greater pace for slightly longer on the 1st stints. The weight difference becomes less as the fuel goes down but then with the extra pace this traction assist sytem gives them they become uncatchable.


That would explain the "different engine noise"


That's an interesting theory indeed. I had heard 2 other possibles, one is some kind of torsion joints in the gearbox to just soften the wheel spin tied up with a clever engine map and the second is to do with the kers unit and controling the harvesting/application of power to emulate traction control.

My own theory is that they are using some kind of clutch slip to prevent wheel spin.

If you can set up a clutch to slip under certain pressures and forces you could make the acceleration that bit smoother with regards power delivery to the rears wheels while also allowing extra revs to help energise the defuser area. So long as this system didn't use electronics or was controled by the driver it could be triggered by perhaps centrifugal force or some kind of physics based pasive switch. When Vettle said they had played about with it in practice suggests to me that they were adjusting this passive switch to allow the slight slipping of the clutch at just the right point for that particular circuit.

One day we will find out, 10years or so....lol


ha i had the same thought> just comented above.

i think its the most likely with neweys brain working a clutch - dam !


Hmmm Interesting !


Hi Paul, do you have a link or confirmation as to who said this ?


Under the steering wheel???

My mind boggles when think of how he might be activating it 😉


Thanks for that Random....

My mind just went somewhere it should never go 🙂


Rocky has to use some interesting techniques over the radio to encourage switch activation!


Heh Heh 🙂


"Vettel was lapping an incredible two seconds quicker than anyone else"

I'm not sure why that's supposed to be so "incredible". He's done it before and will presumably do it again.

And I can't believe that you repeated Vettel's sarcastic remarks as if they were said in seriousness. He was laughing as he said it, just winding up the press and his rivals.


Rosberg commented that with the rubber in his car it made him up to 1.7 seconds slower, so the 2.5 second Vettel was faster is in reality just under 1 second. Still a brilliant drive by Vettel, he did what was asked of him.


Red Bull keep raising the bar!

I wonder if this "system" will be useful next year.

And I was surprised that Vetel was talking about it in way he did.

What is this engine system exactly? I thought their advantage comes from using the exhaust gases in a better way. Is this still the same thing? Because exhaust blowing is forbidden, right? So what does this system do? Will anyone figure this out before the end of the season?


Exhaust blowing per se is not illegal, the rules on the exhaust positioning just make it harder to have the direct blown floor set up perfected in 2011. RBR just seem to have gotten most of the performance back towards the end of 2012 carried through to this year and now sorted some clever exhaust control mapping (still legal) that balances the car beautifully. It's not working for Webber simply because he's always said its a counter-intuitive driving style needed and he doesn't possess the ability Vettel has to 'go with it' and drive against his instincts.


Why it may be legal and clever, it is not very sporting when it's something that may replicate TC, getting more grip with better aero is one thing, but this is totally different.

it will be fascinating in a decade or so, when engineers from red bull start talking about some of there tech secrets to mags and the media,


You have to hand it to the teams that dissemble the rules and, more importantly, the tests used to enforce the rules, and create solutions that will not fail the tests.

Isn't that what the legacy of Red Bull-Adrian Newey V8 formula desimation of the competition with the Vettel-Red Bull package?

No illegal (t)ire tests required (that we know of - lol)


Has anyone heard Webber's car making this noise that sounds like traction control?


Probably harder to hear when he's stuck back in traffic or setting on fire...


Maybe the fire was related to what RB are doing with the engine... Something getting too hot when it's not in clear air....


Baked beans.

- Not conducive to clear air.

- Know generator of flammable gases.

Solved 😉


Certainly could be if they are cutting cylinders and blowing hot gases again through clever mapping. If it's a system that doesn't fit with Webbers driving style it could be a symptom. Or it could just be the ongoing curse of Mark Webber and his fabulous exploding car...


Lewis is spot on

Minardi's observation does clearly makes a lot of sense

RBR surely have some gimmicks up on their sleeve. Others or not even FIA simply could not find out what it could be, It's a clear shame to for us to witness some tarnished competition

What sounds very amusing is "We are pretty proud of the system we have because other people will never figure out how we have done it. Constantly we try to improve the car, that is part of the homework we try to do"

Lewis is such a fantastic driver who is miles quicker than vettel. Yet lewis has been let down by his respective teams in the past and present


Hahaha..It always amuses me to read your conspiracy theories (and Hamilton's)..just shows how much Vettel's incredible success has gotten under your skin and just how easy it is to wind you up.


RBC don't have anything that Mercedes wouldn't use if they had it, eh?


It's the sum of its parts now, isn't it? Engine mapping, KERS "engine braking", superior exhaust flow, aerodynamics, fluid dynamics, centrifugal-hydraulic suspension, bending bodywork points... And a driver that's basically a superior test pilot.

Sounds like a winning formula to me.


Vettel is pretty arrogant with his comments towards other drivers and teams. You still wonder why people dislike him and whistle him when he is on a podium?


Imagine for a second, if you could, that there's absolutely nothing to the rumours and you're Sebastian Vettel having just driven one of the best races of your life just to get boo'ed on the podium and now accused of cheating.

How would you react?

I basically see two options: sarcasm or anger.

While the sarcasm route he seems to have chosen might make him look a bit arrogant, any angry reaction would probably have triggered the media portraying him as a crying baby.

I think it's pretty hard for him to do it right at the moment and under the circumstances he's doing just fine.

Scuderia McLaren

the truth hurts sometimes I suppose. Vettel is playing this super well tbh. Red Herrings everywhere on Korea at the moment. Loved his misdirecting quotes.


+1!!! My thoughts exactly. RB heve been involved in a controversy before. And the kind of answer and explanations they give don´t make them look innocent.


You think they are cheaating?


Its being reported else where that they are using a traction control system, Vettel has been boasting about it, while Horner tried to deny it.

See here:


It is the usual F1 thing. They have found away to achieve the same thing as old traction control, but with in the rules, apparently. We have to take that on trust...


He still doesn't answer the question, "What is that sound, and is it some form of traction control?" Granted, there is no benefit to give away their secrets, but his answer is a non-answer. It is like arguing with my wife. If I don't ask her the exact question she will give me an exact answer to whatever I asked, even if she knows the question I am really asking.

So when asked if they are using traction control, he responds that traction control is not possible with the ECU. True, but doesn't answer the question. He should go into politics.

Still, I respect the guy very much.


Haha, your wife sounds like a politician! "What do you mean by 'is'?", etc.

My wife's the other way ... she'll give me the answer to the question she thinks I'm really getting at, when usually I really just want the answer to the question I asked!

Q. "What time is it?"

A. "We have time to go to blah blah and blah blah before we head over to your parents for dinner."

Q. "Huh? No, really, what time is it?!"

I swear it's just her way of boosting the enigmatic quotient. Drives me bonkers, haha. 🙂

As for Horner, he's up there in terms of political skills within the F1 paddock.


Yes, the onus is on Red Bull indeed to explain every bit of their car to the media and all tshe other team. (sarcasm).


There was nothing offensive in my post to not allow.


Whatever it is, Its one of the Newy's add-ons and give credit were its due. They are clearly on some clever tech or setup and until the rest of the paddock catches up SV will be mopping the floor with the other drivers all the way to the end of the season. I had a look at this video...can anyone shed some light or insight...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVJsFtUL72o

I dont believe its traction control but it must be something!!!


Do you think the surface of the road is perfectly flat?

Scuderia McLaren

And what of Webber then? Why cant he match or come close to Vettel? Or have then not put that part on Webber's car?

Come on, you really think if Webber was to miss out on even a cup of tea from the hospitality lady that the worlds press wouldn't be hearing about it from Mark's complaining?


Well he is a number two driver! Just like Massa to Alonso. Vettle owns that team and Mark know this, but also apparently SV spends a lot of time with Newy and Horner after sessions to go through data and make final adjustments..


See Gary Anderson's column:


Down to their respective abilities to extract the maximum benefit from the blown exhaust diffuser.


I have been thinking about this. We know from comments from engineers etc that they can see from telemetry when drivers are lighting up the wheels. So how hard would it be to link the engine map to the wheel over-spin and briefly bring in the rev-limiter when the wheels light up? Just adding to the conspiracy theories!


You just described traction control


Andrew that IS traction Control in normal form and the form that the single ECU supposedly stops.

However, for all the people saying the Single ECU stops this.

Don't forget Red Bull and others succesfully programmed the ECU for off throttle exaust blowing etc, so the ECU's are not as sealed and closed off as is being interpreted here...

Not saying they are or aren't doing it just that there is obviousley scope to program the ecu's to some degree.....


Funny how alternators keep failing in those Red Bull cars. Pity, otherwise I would use one to control power delivery in corner exits.


Traction control is banned but there's nothing in the rule book to outlaw torque control...

If the pneumatic pressures of an F1 engine can be controlled the engine loses power for a fraction,reduced torque loads on the driven wheels lessens wheel spin and the ECU may never know.....Just a thought.


Traction control & torque control are both banned:


9.3 Traction control :

No car may be equipped with a system or device which is capable of preventing the driven wheels from spinning under power or of compensating for excessive TORQUE demand by the driver.

Any device or system which notifies the driver of the onset of wheel spin is not permitted.


RB had used kind of TC eng mapping already five years but this is up to Renault f1 engineering skill not Newey magic and Vettel perfect driving.

After all should be returned back TC as normal to everybody for 2014.


James - shame on you. I watched the drivers press conference where Lewis made the remark about TC. It was clearly tongue in cheek, he was grinning at Massa when he said it and several other drivers also smirked. Yet it has been reported here as if it were a serious statement. One might be forgiven for thinking you are trying to fan the flames of controversy, as it where 😉


The picture of Horner, says it all, for me: does this not look like a man who would do anything that he most likely could get away with, to win?

Does Red Bull have the technie genius who could find a path, if one or more exists, through the uber-complex KERS system that retards and selectively boosts tire spin without showing clearly (enough) on the ECU to prove they are using it?

This is Formula One.


"The picture of Horner, says it all, for me: does this not look like a man who would do anything that he most likely could get away with, to win?"

Brawn... Whitmarsh, Dennis before him... the Ferrari guy?

I could go on.


yes, you have it right on; but it is Horner who is on top now. (I don't know about Whitmarsh)


I find Alonso's comment very, very intriguing in the context of my ongoing suspicion that Alonso will NOT be in Red next year; I think he could be blue; will Luca pay him out to NOT drive? will he go (to Red Bull) if there was the opportunity?

With that comment, supporting RED BULL!!! I think he's going.


I think what you are not considering [mod], is that we have one of the fastest (imho the fastest) man on the grid, saying that "looking at the onbord..", he could just remember of that kind of drive when he had traction control.
So, forget about your opinions about Hamilton, we have an expert in driving the fastest cars in the world, talking in an interview about his perceptions about other car and driver. And you think your "guesses" or love or hate by Hamilton is more important? Crazy...
But back to the facts, he is not saying is traction control, he is just saying that TC was a system he knows that provided that help exiting corners. Maybe it is tc, maybe is another device that provides similar benefits. And maube is legal...
One last point is that we have other big names of f1 giving feedback about it, and also refering to traction control (since canada, where I think they were testing in Webber's car). We have fans from the Singapore gp talking (and showing the video) about the sound.. And last: we have Vettel lapping 2secons quicker than anyone else!!
Do you believe (even Vettel's supportes/fans) that he is 2s faster than anyone else? If he is not, the car is 2s faster? How? Newey is simply a super duper genious and all other engineers are dumb?
Sorry, but from all the points people think RB having tc (or similar tech)is crazy, I still think is the least crazy idea of all other above!


TALK ABOUT SPORTSMANSHIP. Vettel has none. Vettel has a responsibility to get people to watch the sport and be a role model. He is none. Are you saying that kids or racers in lower categories watching f1 aspiring to one day compete in F1 need to not show respect to others and only think about themselves. Than yep your are right Vettel shows heaps of respect. vettel has lost respect in the gerenal public due to not his racing, [mod]. Tell me this what sort of role model is he. If your fast enough, nothing else matters. yep the other people on the posts are really immature aren’t they or maybe stating the truth.


If a driver can get onto the power 20 meters before any other driver is he not controlling the traction by default ??


Does anyone know which part of the F1 regulations covers Traction Control?

Is it regulation 8 covering electronic systems (see below)? If this is the only relevant bit - then an engine mapping solution is not illegal.



Try this one:


9.3 Traction control :

No car may be equipped with a system or device which is capable of preventing the driven wheels from spinning under power or of compensating for excessive torque demand by the driver.

Any device or system which notifies the driver of the onset of wheel spin is not permitted.


I thought that Vettel was doing something counter intuitive with his driving that allowed him to exploit whatever it is Red Bull have added to the car. Any chance you could ask Mark if Seb is driving the car differently during Ten's Webber Report this weekend James?


You'd think Webber would be at least getting second place in races if Red Bull had traction control. Also, Red Bull has only had the best car at Bahrain, Montreal and the last three races.

Did they only decide to switch traction control on for the last three races?

It's really sad that this is what the sport had become. Vettel will go down as one of the top three drivers of all time but it's completely unappreciated and not acknowledged. In fact you have his rivals like Hamilton casting aspersions and alluding to Vettel using TC in no uncertain terms.


If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck... And it controls traction... It is literally 'traction control'.


Wouldn't that be quacktion control?


Very good 🙂


But why does his car sound different to webbers?


As Mark Gillan says, there is no way of knowing what they are doing, one person's view sitting in a trackside suite only tells part of the story. Even the other teams don't know for sure what that are doing

But as Gillan adds, the FIA has the ECU situation fully under control, so it's not traction control as we know it. It must be a mapping ruse


There' a very interesting article on how Red Bull might be using their engine mapping to achieve a legal form of traction control here:


As the engine mappings are effectively fixed, it will be difficult for other teams to copy.

The other point is that there are no controls on when KERS harvests power, so that system (within its regulated energy limitations) can also be used to smooth power.


Very interesting. It would seem it should only be good for this season then, b/c it relies on a lot of factors that will not be the same for next season.

Of course, they still had the best aerodynamics in 2009 (aside from the DD diffuser), when they weren't exploiting the EBD, so they should still be top dog aero-wise next season.


Hi James

I have just one question Why was the sound only coming from Vettels car and not Webbers ?


Traction Control and ECUs' an explanation.

Anyone that saw last weekends Moto GP race will have seen the result of a traction control failure, when Dani Pedrosa was clipped by Marc Marquez going into a corner. This broke the cable to the rear wheel speed sensor on Pedrosas' bike which when he applied power going through the corner caused him loose control and crash.

What is Traction Control ?

When a driver turns the wheel to change direction, if the speed is too high for the front wheels to provide enough grip, the car will understeer or not turn enough. To counteract this the driver will lift off the accelerator and as the car slows the speed will match up with the grip level of the front wheels and the car will turn, however, at this point the rear is now sliding sideways as the rear wheels do not turn. This leads to an oversteer or too much turning input and the correction is too reduce the amount of steering and or accelerate to transfer grip back to the rear wheels.

Manual traction control, is the drivers use of the accelerator to govern the speed in the corner.

What is an ECU ?

With the recent release of the film Rush, the cars at that time used mechanical carburetors and distributors. The carburetor governed how much fuel is delivered to each cylinder and the distributor governed when each spark plug fired.

Fuel injectors require a voltage to operate and therefore require a control unit to switch them on and off at the right time. The control unit can then also replace the distributor and control when the spark plugs fire. This is referred to as engine mapping, since you can now have different carburetor and distributor settings stored in the ECU memory.

Traction Control via an ECU.

The ECU itself does not have a traction control function, it uses sensors to monitor the engine and adjust the fuel input and ignition timing of the engine.

Traction Control is about cutting the power momentarily to reduce oversteer.

Putting the two together requires the ECU to react to an oversteer situation; which a computer will do faster than a human.

Going back to our Moto GP example and we know that an external sensor monitors the rear wheel speed to cut power as traction is lost.

Traction Control with a standard ECU.

The key here is the input to the ECU, aka the accelerator, which is no longer a wire from the pedal to the air inlet manifold, but a potentiometer or volume control; as you turn up the volume control the engine revs higher by the changing electrical voltage across the potentiometer. The ECU then outputs this information to a rev counter so the user can monitor the engine performance.

As a crude form of traction control, an external microprocessor can be used to tie these two function together, so that any sharp rise in revs or the electrical voltage ouput from the ECU, can be countermanded by a reduction in the electrical input to the ECU from the accelerator potentiometer. In effect a switch to cut power as traction is lost.


Eureka moment to my above post.

Traction control via a switch.

Since the accelerator pedal is now controlling a potentiometer, its easy to add a resistance before the the potentiometer/volume control which then reduces the voltage output to the ecu even though the accelerator pedal is still in use.

To make a traction control function this extra resistance is pre-determined by the data logger dictating the best place on the track for it to operate.

The operation is via a timing circuit which effectively switches the resistance in and out so many times a second. The operation of which is selected by the driver pressing an on /off switch at a given point on the circuit.

So our driver arrives at a given corner, switches on the timing circuit which is then seen by the ECU as a rapid acceleration and deceleration. At a given point the timing circuit is switched off and the driver continues without it in circuit, until the next lap.

The extra resistor can also be varied so it could be used in more than one corner.


i reckon that method could easily be detected in logs/telemtery that the ECU generate, people would see un natural TPS behaviour that would not be humanly possible.

as said before , a better system would be to use KERS charge/drag to slow engine down out of corners if it detects a loss of traction. pretty sure KERS is controlled by there own/KERS ECU


It's amazing how many ideas for loophole TC are presented here. Teams should hire you, smart people.

Red Bull doesn't have TC, they have Vettel.


When Vettel goes to another team and dominates to the same extent he is now, then I will believe that he is the key component. Until then, Adrian Newey's Vettel-mobile will get the credit.


He is. Just look at what Webber can accomplish.


Yes like almost winning the 2010 title without team support......and being quicker in the beginning of 2012 when the blown diffuser wasn't at its best. Oh and let's not forget the mysterious 'handbrake syndrome' mark seems to keep getting. Especially when he's up the front


Giancarlo Minardi DID NOT suggest Red Bull were using traction control: he said that there was a sound which was like that of traction control.


It's all down to engine mapping. You can hear that Red Bull are blowing the exhaust twice as much as every other team in the paddock. All they have to do is limit the power output at for example between 10k and 14k rpm to limit wheelslip. Therefore being able to put the power down earlier.


And so what if the red bull is fitted with illegal systems......if the scrutteneers can't sweep it under the carpet, they will simply apply the 'red bull get out of jail free card'....which goes like this-"So yes it's technically illegal however we have decided you can keep the points u got in this gp. Even though it was gained by a car that was found to be in breach of the rules....just make sure the illegal bits are removed for the next race". Remember the holes in the undertray at Monaco was only 'discovered' after the car was lifted by crane and photographers snapped up the evidence) just like 2010, 2011 and 2012 they keep getting away with it


As I've said before anyone that doesn't think Red Bull has found some new way of improving traction out of corners.. Should resume leaving their teeth below their pillows !

We have so many of the usual Lewis badgers [mod] here also saying he's bitter , twisted and he will change his mind tomorrow-- when really all he is doing is stating facts And can anyone here please tell me who wouldn't be a little disappointed driving with the speed and skill he obviously has- and still come up 1,2- or whatever speed diff is..!. Red Bull are to be commended for again pushing the boundaries and perhaps even redefining them and maybe we might even see another rule change occur as a result of this.

We then have a Seb rubbing everyone's noses in it like some smug 8 year old that was just handed his brand new bike with all the bells and whilstles. I have never liked this guy and I doubt I ever will no matter how much he matures. Success is fantastic and you could never begrudge anyone their time in the sun. [mod] Like MS before him - it's not about the sport or the respect ( despite his words). He's only there to collect stats and he doesn't care what it how he goes about it... Something I never like in any "sportsman".


Regarding car development Vettel is a class above Hamilton. Only Alonso Comes Close.


On the other hand, apart from his quirky humour, he seems really mature.

After he has won everything for 3 years, Alonso and Hamilton have taken every opportunity to downplay and question his every achievement. Yet Vettel has mostly ignored them and quietly gone about his own business. It's only now that he has responded in any way for so long. How is that arrogant. He celebrates enthusiastically as he should given all that he has achieved, but he has hardly tried to put down anybody as other have tried to do to him.

Even if Vettel and Reb Bull have managed to make their car better than everybody else's, how justified are those cribbing about it. Isn't that what F1 is about.

Also just complaining that has to be something unfair about the car without being able to say exactly what it is reeks of desperation.


You need to recalibrate that humor sensing brain of yours. Seb is obviously joking.


It's not just the arrogant words of multi 21, or the [mod]followed- saying he respected Mark then attacking him only days later. He didn't have to say he respected him I the first place !- because everyone knew it was lie in the first place !. There are many, many things when he crashes into back markers - it's quite often his fault - but he's quick to blame others..We all know he's on the limits, but better drivers don't carry on that way and when they are wrong they say it..they don't make them selves out to be better than they are. These are NOT humorous events and quite often Sebs face is anything but happy.
I think maybe you need to recalibrate your common sense and don't confuse it with humour- most people can tell the difference. Thanks all the same..


Sorry, man. I only meant that Seb is joking about having TC. It's just one approach dealing with the press.


Seb's a great guy. Too bad you have not seen him genuinely reach out to school children, and made their F1 outing a truly educational experience as opposed to mere cynical marketing and publicity.


Vettel has never been anything but humble in public. I dont know where he rubbed anyones nose it in. So what if he collects stats. Every driver worth his salt wants to be in the record books. Sounds to me someone cant accept their obvious hero getting beaten every year. I'm not even a big Vettel fan per se but you gotta give credit mate. The kid can bat a bit 😉


It's the finger camera business everytime.. The "get him out if way comments" and "I respect him as a driver" - when clearly he does not.!

I do rate Seb as a top driver and I did vote Fernando as best of 2012- and I think less of Fernando than I do of Seb. Not that anyone's going to loose sleep over it, but I'm definitely someone that can look beyond personalities for results! "Getting beat every year" does not make you the 2nd or last best driver either does it..I think Bianci drove exceptionally well for a rookie and we saw very little if him- But the bit we saw was always good.. Perspective..not whether you win or loose but how you play the game


I too voted Alonso best in '12. I think Seb will get my vote this year however. Your comments above are fair and I respect them Elie. The "get him out of the way" comment (from Seb) was poor form. Mark was driving to a time determined by the team to ensure a safe 1-2 for the team.

The finger thing is now his signature move and he can hardly stop it now. To stop it would be to give in to the 'booers'. I think if he flashed the finger once per victory/pole I would be happier. Seems he wants to give every photographer a chance to catch it 😉

I respect Seb and all the other drivers but I admit that his post-race in-car screaming is a bit too much to take.... every time. Compare Webbers post-race in-car last time he won Monaco. A quick thank you and not much else. The all-time award for in-car must go to JB when Braun won the WCC. As a singer, JB makes a great driver 🙂

Have a good weekend mate.


re your last para - you have got him wrong.


I hope I am James.Maybe it's just the way he comes across. Kimi sees something genuine in him-that counts for a lot really.


Elie.....I have never agreed with you and sometimes I like to tease you with negative Kimi comments.....BUT this time you have got it in one! Your final paragraph sums up vettel to a tee. His general behaviour, comments and basic lack of respect to his fellow competitors ( and team) when things didn't go his way make him unpalatable to me.

Remember this elie. Sennas 3 is held in higher regard than Prosts 4 and schumis 7. if vettel wins 8 titles I'm 100% sure that kimis 1 and Fernando's 2 (he's my guy) will also be held in higher regard!


Hi James,

Any chance of a technical article on the ECU. I'm very curious as to how a generic ECU is used across many different engines and car configurations.

I am a software developer, and and I remember one of my professors for a course in safety critical systems touched on the topic of software/ECU in F1, and basically implied that its not possible to govern the source code correctly without a uniform test bed - I can't remember if he meant the cars and source code are needed on a test bed, or a generic car to test the source code.

Anyway, he basically said its too difficult to check for cheating by examining source code (I imagine the source code would include the engine maps). The professor is a leader in his field and has even done work with/for NASA so he's basically one of the best at what he does.

I hope this makes sense, it was 2-3 years ago while I was at uni, so I might not have recalled all the details, but it is along the right lines.



Have a look at the website: http://www.mclarenelectronics.com/

The system is basically HIL. It is easy to set up a simulation environment in software. Since you were involved in safety critical systems. You might be interested to know that the FIA used LRDA.com for the forensic analysis of the various "events" surrounding Bennetton and others.


Hi Iain,

Thanks for your response. I couldn't find anything on LRDA.com, website does not exist.


No company would provide the proprietary source code of its products to its customers. I suspect your professor is talking about cases where each team develops its own solution.

As for the generic ECU working on diffent cars/engines, it shouldn't be a problem as long as they comply to the same interface/protocols.


I would have thought the source would have been compiled by McLaren Electronics software guys and provided as part of the sealed box ecu. Then the setting/defining of the actual engine maps would be handled by the team/engine software guys within the boundaries of the fixed ECU.

Basically maps and source code are quite different I think, the maps are the data and rules that define what the engine should do based on all the various parameter and sensors, air temps/pressures, ignition, throttle position, etc etc.

The sourcecode is kind of the operating system (or firmware) that interprets and handles the data in the map. I know many modern engines run a standard communications data bus called CAN Bus and aircraft use something called 1553 data bus so maybe F1 has it's owner standard comms protocol that all engine manufacturers use which would then allow the FIA control via the standard (fixed firmware/variable map) ECU.


The TC rule is written simply:

9.3 Traction control :

"No car may be equipped with a system or device which is capable of preventing the driven wheels from spinning under power or of compensating for excessive throttle torque demand by the driver.

Any device or system which notifies the driver of the onset of wheel spin is not permitted".

It does not state 'electronic' or 'mechanical', just 'system or device'. That throws out most theories I've read so far.

I say that noone will ever find it because there is nothing to be found. Seb / RBR are just too darn good at the moment.


A bit of a history lesson : In 1994 when the Benetton team were targetted after Senna's demise mostly for political reasons, Benetton along with other teams were asked to hand over the ECUs to FIA. Benetton hesitated as did Mclaren as they suspected the information will be shared with others, especially Williams.

When FIA found out commented part of traction control code on BOTH Mclaren and the Benettons. It was explained that since TC was banned as a part of 1994 regulations, majority of them simply commented out the parts of ECU code that handled traction control.

When such distractions did not stop Schumacher, they made some other fantastic allegations that the TC could be initiated by a series of steps by the driver during the start. Ofcourse, nobody could ever prove any of these allegations, and no one talks about the same commented TC code found on Mclaren's ECUs either.

When all attempts to stop Schumacher failed, they resorted to banning him for 4 races for a variety of reasons. A draconian sanction of 3 race ban for not obeying the blackflag when FIA knew that Benetton were still talking to the FIA about the penalty, a further 2 race ban for the same offence. And then a worn skidboard ban because the wooden plank under Schumacher's Benetton was found a few mm wear beyond the regulations. Explaining that the plank wore because of a spin on the kerbs during the race did not budge FIA.

Then there was the fuel rig controversy for which Benetton were blamed for endangering their crew and gaining unfair advantage. Ofcourse, Benetton later proved that 6 out of 10 teams had removed the filter as asked by the rig manufacturer.

Bottomline, when you win once they all love you. But when you win twice they start hating you. Thats what happened to Schumacher and Benetton back in 1994.And that is what RBR and Vettel are going through today.

Btw, i wonder why no one talks about Mclaren being found with a hidden mechanical pedal in 1998 which did nearly the same job as traction control ?

Hamilton has let himself down by adding to these baseless allegations against Vettel and RBR. He already tried belittling Vettel's achievement in Singapore by saying "you can see he is not flat out in the corners, so it is very easy for him", and now this new comment about traction control.


wow lots of ideas here, my top idea is related to a piece wrote on here about the hydraulicly joined front and rear suspension acting on high aero loads to keep the front of the car off the ground, what if the same system was used -when the rear suspension compressed under sudden accleration force, a blow off valve - thresholded/adjustable, controlled clutch slip............


it has been revealed that RBR had submitted some changes for programming the ECU recently and that those requests had been given the all clear by the FIA.



I'm a bit fed up with the "it's a stock and controlled ECU, it's impossible to cheat", has no one considered that there must be some sensor inputs that would affect torque. I.e. It's perfectly possible to modify or disconnect sensor inputs that would cause the engine torque to be limited via the legal map. It's not all about what happens inside the ECU. I doubt that the wiring harnesses are all checked by the FIA. What about the various sensors themselves.

I'm a systems and software engineer. There's always a way to get around a stipulation of you can't change the software. Especially if you know how it works.


@GazC wrote:"I’m a bit fed up with the “it’s a stock and controlled ECU, it’s impossible to cheat”, has no one considered that there must be some sensor inputs that would affect torque. ..........I doubt that the wiring harnesses are all checked by the FIA. What about the various sensors themselves.

The FIA wrote:


8.1 Software and electronics inspection :

8.1.1 Prior to the start of each season the complete electrical system on the car must be examined and all on board and communications software must be inspected by the FIA Technical Department.

The FIA must be notified of any changes prior to the Event at which such changes are intended to be implemented.

8.1.2 All re-programmable microprocessors must have a mechanism that allows the FIA to accurately identify the software version loaded.

Acceptable solutions to verify the programmed software may be found in the Appendix to these regulations.

8.1.3 All electronic units containing a programmable device, and which are intended for use at an Event, must be presented to the FIA before each Event in order that they can be identified.

8.1.4 All on-car software versions must be registered with the FIA before use.

8.1.5 The FIA must be able to test the operation of any compulsory electronic safety systems at any time during an Event.

8.2 Control electronics :

8.2.1 All components of the engine, gearbox, clutch, differential and KERS in addition to all associated actuators must be controlled by an Electronic Control Unit (ECU) which has been manufactured by an FIA designated supplier to a specification determined by the FIA.

The ECU may only be used with FIA approved software and may only be connected to the control system wiring loom, sensors and actuators in a manner specified by the FIA.

Additional information regarding the ECU software versions and setup may be found in the Appendix to these regulations.

8.2.2 All control sensors, actuators and FIA monitoring sensors will be specified and homologated by the FIA. Details of the homologation process may be found in the Appendix to these regulations.

Each and every component of the control system will be sealed and uniquely identified and their identities tracked through their life cycle.

These components and units may not be disassembled or modified in any way and seals and identifiers must remain intact and legible.

8.2.3 The control system wiring loom connectivity must be approved by the FIA.

All wiring looms must be built to ensure that each control sensor and each control actuator connected to the ECU is electrically isolated from logging-only sensors connected to either the ECU or a team data acquisition unit.

In general, there must be no active or passive electronic component in the control loom. Exceptions (e.g. termination resistors) must be approved by the FIA before use.

Additional wiring guidelines may be found in the Appendix to these regulations.

8.2.4 If sensor faults or errors are detected by the driver or by the on-board software, back-up sensors may be used and different settings may be manually or automatically selected. However, any back-up sensor or new setting chosen in this way must not enhance the performance of the car. Any driver default turned on during the start lockout period may not be turned off before the end of that period........


Top Tags
SEARCH Scuderia Ferrari
JA ON F1 In association with...
Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer

Sign up to receive the latest F1 News & Updates direct to your inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!