Jenson Button, McLaren, Silverstone, 2011

FIA offers to drop diffuser restrictions

2011 British Grand Prix

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Jenson Button, McLaren, Silverstone, 2011
Jenson Button, McLaren, Silverstone, 2011

The FIA has offered to remove the restrictions on exhaust-blown diffusers from the German Grand Prix.

A statement released on Saturday afternoon said: “The measures which were communicated to the teams this morning by the FIA Technical Department stand for the rest of the weekend.

“During Saturday morning?s Extraordinary Technical Working Group meeting, the members discussed the viability of returning to the pre-Silverstone set-ups and strategies.

“If the teams are in unanimous agreement, the FIA is prepared to adopt this arrangement until the end of the current season.”

The British Grand Prix weekend has been marred by arguments over new restrictions on exhaust-blown diffusers.

The FIA tried to restrict teams to using no more than 10% of the throttle, when the driver is off-throttle, to blow air into the diffuser.

Charlie Whiting had allowed teams some exceptions from the rules which were then rescinded this morning. Red Bull’s Christian Horner said the new limits put them at a “disadvantage”.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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119 comments on “FIA offers to drop diffuser restrictions”

  1. FIA are the most inept organisation on the planet for motorsport. They should of just banned it at the end of the season like double deck difuser and F-duct.

    What it should really say is “During Saturday morning’s Extraordinary meeting of stupidity and ever goal changing rules the FIA will u-turn again, lacking all credibility and integrity of their organisation but most of all consistency”

    Absolute joke and another reason to stop watching this joke of a sport.

    1. A reason to stop watching? Come on. This is Formula 1. THIS is the reason why it’s so dam interesting!

      It’s a complete mess and this year has had a pretty rough ride already. But I love that.

      I class this as part of the entertainment. The teams are forced to react whenever the goal posts change. That’s brilliant.

      1. Really? Its interesting to watch one team drive away because they found the best loophole?

        1. And why can’t other teams emulate it? That’s what I want out of the “technically” superior motorsport, a chance for teams to see a rival get further and further away and have to use their brains to catch up somehow.

          1. I’d rather the front teams be reined closer in to the midfield, as that is far more exciting.

        2. It depends on whether or not you only care about who comes first?

          There are many battles to watch in the championship.

    2. FIA are the most inept organisation on the planet for motorsport. They should of just banned it at the end of the season like double deck difuser and F-duct.

      They are banning it entirely at the end of the season. The measures introduced for the British Grand Prix were just an attempt to moderate the grid.

      1. And its made things more interesting! Now only if McLaren could benefit somehow. Alonso could easily win this race if you look how he has performed against the Red Bulls when they have been a second a lap faster than the Ferrari.

        1. Precisely, ivz

          If it enlivens things it should continue. I find no problem with it. Let Horner complain how much he wants to. Let us see his team and Vettel winning from below the front rows. That’s how we know who a true champion is. Winning with the best car from the front row is great but can’t be the only test of skill.One has to perform even without the best machinery or the most favorable circumstances. That’s what sets champions apart and we got to see that from Vettel this season, though I don’t think anyone other than Red Bull will be on the top step this weekend.

      2. Oh gawd, that was his point english teacher, they should not have interfered prior to the end of the season. The FIA have left a poor taste on what should have been a sweet weekend.

  2. Wallbreaker
    9th July 2011, 16:33

    This whole thing is a farce. They should have waited with it until the end of the season. Now they´re having this controversy, only to finally get the solution they could have had without ever causing such kind of rubbish discussions. The only result they get is that they bring the sport in disrepute with it. Wait a minute… Shouldn´t FIA penalise itself for this? lol

  3. Why does this have to be the only “manipulated” race of the year? If it’s not forever but just for this race it’s ridiculous.

  4. Well i think this whole thing was right from the beginning. The problem came to light when they tried to do exeptions to the rule. 10% should be for all, no matter what they had. If the renault have problems cooling the engine well open up more intake to the engine, same goes for mercedes. And if they want to have that for reliability reasons fine, allow it AS LONG AS IT DOES NOT INCREASE THE DOWNFORCE. Move the exauhst away from the diffusor and have you engine mapping then. SO stupid FIA, so stupid

    1. It makes no sense they were warned a month before, it’s like they all turned up not expecting rule change. They’ve had a while to realise they may have to change things on their car since spain!!!

      1. spot on capefear mercedes got some “clarification” pre event fair enough but changing the rules on the friday AND saturday is ridiculose!!!! the teams all knew it was going to happen. Seriously disapointed in the way horner cryed about it. Protest it yes but don’t act like a child and refuse to speak to anyone because you’re upset.

        1. I think he was right to refusemto speak to anyone about it. Complaining to the media would’ve just made him look bad. Instead he confronted the FIA.

          1. I’m not totally sure ( who could be) but I think CH only complained after MacL Merc were given the right to blow unburned fuel into the exhaust.

          2. He didn’t have to complain though he could have just told the media what the situation was. In reguards to protest I ment to the fia not the media and he was obviously right to do that, as any team should protest anything they feel will help them.

      2. These teams have taken a long time to develop the entire cars around the blown diffusers. Everything from the front wing to the airboxes are designed to help the blown diffusers so you think 1 month is enough to redesign the entire car especially as their is no in season testin g allowed?

        The FIA have got this wrong from the start and should have allowed it this season and started the ban from next year. On one hand we have the stupid engine freezes, ban on in season testing and the limits to wind tunnel testing etc to apparently save the teams money, yet on the other they are asking the teams to completely redesign their cars in 1 month!

        Any in season changes to the rules should be for safety reasons only.

        1. Spot on, Lee. A lot of expensive headache for basically no reason.

        2. That’s right Lee,

          But I don’t want to see a predictable Vettel win for every race this season.

  5. streetfighterman
    9th July 2011, 16:41

    FIA are a joke.

  6. 2 options here:

    – FIA has something against the German GP. After last year’s farse, they are now building another stupid argument so it spoils the whole weekend.

    – Or maybe they saw the Red Bulls locking the front row again and said: “meh, nothing changed… why keep going with the restriction then? too much work to control everything… CHARLIE!!! CHARLIEEE! tell the teams we’re going back to where we were in Valencia. Arguments? we don’t need arguments, we’re the FIA!”

    1. FIA are truly making a fool of everyone.

      We’ve seen how the diffuser restrictions have significantly (I hope) reduced Red Bull’s supremacy, so shouldn’t it be kept for the rest of the season? Capefear is absolutely right. FIA under Todt is inefficient in F1 matters.

      Sometimes I feel we need someone like Mosley to assert matters. If everything is left for the teams to decide we’ll have a boring season. What do teh FIA want to see? Boring Vettel running-away-from-the-rest-of-the-field races?

  7. I wonder why did FIA try to solve the relibility problem when the rule started to apply. Why do the teams have all those wellpayed engineers? It is their problem to solve it, and not FIAs. Same thing applied to the Renault when they ruled out mass dampers mid season. It was engineers at Renault that fixed the problem. I hope that some teams object the the removal of the rule. I suppose many teams have lost 2-3 weeks development time on this change. They would problably loose more if they removed the rule.

    1. Snow Donkey
      9th July 2011, 17:41

      Comparing to mass damper is apples and oranges. Also, putting the weight on the engineers does not work, because the FIA have homologated the engines. How they are is how they are.

      1. The engines were homologated way before anyone had even thought of an exhaust blown diffuser so that doesnt really work as an argument. If the problem was cooling related reliability, which it seems to be, then tough, they had long enough to sort out their air intakes.

        1. But it now seems to become clear that teams have been doing things like this for some years now. In the BBC show DC confirmed that years ago, while he was at McLaren, they used to already do that overrun trick to balance the car under breaking. So it isn’t new at all.

    2. Unfortunately the teams have some great engineers but the FIA banned in season testing and limited wind tunnel usage. The engineers can’t test their creations as well mid season which massively hampers their ability.

  8. Another U-Turn from the FiA. You’d think that they’d have learned from Bahrain.

    Disappointing to say the least.

    1. I wonder if the fia offices are an oval :P

    2. Agree. I thought Todt would be a more calm, steely Max like his Ferrari days when he had order and was clearly the boss. He and the FIA seems more of a mouse these days. Max consistently made bad decisions but Todt’s FIA seem incapable of making any decisions at all.

      1. “If the teams are in unanimous agreement, the FIA is prepared to adopt this arrangement until the end of the current season.”

        Looks like they are playing politics to take the attention off themselves. After all, it doesn’t seem very likely that the teams will be able to reach “unanimous agreement” does it?

        1. Yeah was just thinking that to. Unanimous agreement will never happen after williams and sauber qualified so well. Hrt were a second inside 107% and that’s good but actually im not sure they’ve moved much. If narain was still racing i have a feeling he wouldn’t have made the cut lol….

        2. Just imagine the trouble the FIA will be in if the teams actually do agree!

          That would mean they are really serious about taking the sport in their hands and rule it, as neither Todt, nor Bernie will be able to do too much agains their united front!

        3. Is Todt afraid of Horner and the gang?

        4. Bingo, this is the bit I think people have been missing.

          In fact, this isn’t the first time the FIA have played that card is it?

    3. If FIA U-turn any quicker they’ll be doing doughnuts.

  9. As far as I remember the FIA had been talking of nanning it for a while, in fact at Spain the commentators deemed it a forgone fact that it will be banned.

    The teams knew it was coming, they cannot claim to be unfairly surprised by the ruling.

    1. But they were somewhat blindsided by the recent decisions, as in, taken this week(end)! The fact that FIA decided to change their minds at the least shows that Whiting didn’t have all the issues clear before deciding on the ban.

  10. This is ridiculous. Have these diffusers been banned or not? No one seems to know, not even the FIA. Personally, I don’t care whether the cars have them or not, just decide and get on with it.

  11. No leave it alone this is fantastic!

    Williams in the top 10, webber beating seb and fernando challenging for poles and wins.

    We”ll also no doubt get some Hamilton crashing tommorrow. This is what f1 is all about

    1. No, it isn’t about manipulating rules mid-season to prevent the best car/driver combo from winning.

      1. Being “the best” for 19 races can also become extremely monotonous.

  12. If I take the glass half empty approach I’m wondering if they looked at today and think “Red Bull are still in front so may as well not do anything”? (just to be a conspiracy theorist). I have absolutely no idea what is going through their minds but I wish they’d make a decision and stick to it because it’s making a mountain out of a mole hill.

    Glass half full: they’ve seen that mid season rule changes are far from ideal so will wait.

    Probable: the cynical option.

    I don’t agree with mid season rule changes but going from race to race with a different set of rules is even more annoying.

    1. Nicely put. I just hope they learn from this. I mean, changing the restrictions MID WAY through FP2?

      1. I know, what a shambles. To see the pitwalls empty of team principles because they’re all arguing about a rule change not long before qualifying is a joke.

    2. I’m wondering if they looked at today and think “Red Bull are still in front so may as well not do anything”?

      or more specifically that they thought (like most of the media) that it would bring McLaren closer to Red Bull, and once qualifying showed the opposite effect, they changed their tune? It’s hard not to be cynical about the FIA’s decisions when there’s clearly so much politicking going on behind the scenes.

  13. So, how big is the chance of all teams unanimously agreeing on this? HRT, Ferrari? Williams, Virgin?

    Anyone brought good arguments for that? Certainly not Red Bull, who show they are just about as fast as ever without it. Or is that an argument, i.e. it won’t stop them anyhow.

    1. Maybe they were scared to be the bad boys and thought they’d give the teams enough rope to hang themselves? Unlikely but I can’t see any reason for all the flip flapping around.

      1. yes i.think that is in fact the point of this. the teams can’t agree on this so they won’t be able to make the fia rake it back. this is so annoying.

      2. Probably.

        I see this another very big test for FOTA to stick together, and get HRT in on it. If they manage to agree on this, that will mean they have enormous power to form the sport together!

        1. Well then, after convincing HRT, go convince Williams aswell and Ferrari in case they win tomorrow. I reckon its impossible to get all teams in on it but if they can do it .. that would really be nice for the FOTA, thats true.

          1. They could even agree on Cosworth getting data on how to implement it to make them agree, in theory. And maybe someone at McLaren will give Ferrari a copy of their engine map scheme – all in the clear of course.

  14. It is a shame, and for Charlie Whiting too – I’m an admirer of his on the whole but this episode saw him attempting to use a sketchy stretching of the “no movable aerodynamic devices” rule to stop a possible development race – but when was it his job to police the FIA’s aspirations to lower costs? There are already spending constraints in any case, so why the big worry? Rule changes mid-season should only happen on grounds of safety or conceivably (if everyone is agreed) because in some way the racing spectable is being compromised – though you’d never get agreement on that either. So safety only!
    In truth, it’s only the “loopholes” (read: innovations) like the exhaust blown diffusers where we get to see the development races and ingenuity that (should) give F1 its special flavour. With tighter and tighter rules it’s crucial that they are made and then allowed to mature and for responses to them to flourish, as long as they’re safe and not blatantly unfair. Changes mid-season cannot fail to feel political whoever amongst the teams seems to gain or lose. I’m actually no fan of the wanton burning of fuel purely for downforce effects, I think it’s the sort of thing that makes F1 look like it doesn’t give a toss about the world we live in and makes it less relevant to the cars the rest of the world drives, so I’ll be happy to see them gone ASAP, but that’s not before 2012!

    1. Well said Jeremy, but it appears that Renault engines don’t burn any extra fuel, they leave the Butterfly valve half open but cut the fuel supply allowing cool air to be pumped through the cylinders, over the valves and ultimately out over the diffuser. Mercedes by contrast apparently allow fuel to flow but retard ignition so it does not ignite until the exhaust valves are open. Anyone got a better handle on this let’s hear it.

      1. Interesting because I recall Renault Sport earlier in the year touting the fact that their low fuel consumption allowed them to exploit the EBD better than others.

        Scarbs has a good summary but the facts have already become hopelessly obscured by self-serving spin from the teams about what engines are doing what.

      2. Thanks for that, HoHum, it’s a good point and fits with some of the details that have come out over the past couple of days which I’ve been trying to make sense of (and failing)! Well, good for Renault in that case.
        Personally I favour the idea that sometimes comes up of restricting the total fuel allowed during a race. One might even add ballast equivalent to some proportion of the weight of fuel to encourage efficiency. It would address issues like this, help advance technology in a useful fashion, and provide a new area for innovation. Beyond that, freedom to make it work as you wish, with EBDs or whatever you like – the incentive to be fuel-efficient would still be there. As long as we still get to see the best talent in the most innovative and advanced machinery then we should embrace the opportunity to burnish the environmental credentials of F1 (OK, not burnish. Create from scratch)

  15. Sauber, Williams, Ferrari, HRT and Virgin may well decide to keep the new rules, I think this story is just beginning

    1. and why shouldnt they? they were all fine with them and even if their systems were not as sophisticated as those that are complaining Ferrari especially still had to make some changes (im not familiar with the systems on the smaller teams) its not these teams problem if the bigger teams rely on the vast majority of their performance from their exhaust blown diffusers and are reluctant to open up their tiny air intakes to help with the cooling issues these changes might cause.

  16. Jean Todt needs to go.

    1. yes. of course. what a great idea. [sarcastic face]

  17. Admittedly I’m not too well versed on the issue, but as I understand it the conflict comes from Mercedes (engines, not the team) not being able to run their engines under the proposed mapping for reliability purposes. Now, these changes have been in the pipeline for long enough – enough time, anyway, for Mercedes to have shed light on the issue long before this weekend. Maybe they did – I don’t know, but if they didn’t, why not? To try and gain some sort of advantage?

    Either way, this has been handled poorly. Of course, the whole thing could have been avoided in the first place by banning OTBD’s at the end of the year rather than midway through it in an attempt to tighten the field (that’s the cynic in me).

    Of course, the simple answer is to force teams to move their exhaust outlets (straight up like a tractor, as MB said, would be awesome :P) but whether the teams would be able to do that I don’t know.

    In an attempt to be more optimistic, I suppose the FIA should be applauded for trying to eradicate a piece of tech through a small change rather than forcing everyone to do a drastic redesign mid season (á la moving the exhaust outlets) which really would have upset the apple cart, but I really am scraping the barrel there. The way this whole thing’s been dealt with is a mess.

    1. I agree. One week this, one week that and another week we’re back again. The first decision to make the changes mid way through the season was bad enough in my opinion but then to show absolutely no consistency or strength just completely undermines the FIA, Charlie and the sport.

      Benson has just tweeted that so far Williams and Sauber don’t agree for it to be changed back so now we could have the prospect of the F1 teams arguing amongst themselves which will do even more harm.

  18. the reason the fia acted was because there were teams thretning to protest if nothing was done.

    the fia would have had to accept any protest which was launched & since the off throttle blown diffusers are technically illegal the chances are we’d have had a bigger mess than we currently do.

    dont forget that hrt were thretning a protest at monaco and i seem to recall virgin & williams also talking about a protest been a possibility.

    1. But are they illegal, according to recent posts Renault do not do anything to boost exhaust gasses during deceleration , they do leave the butterfly valve open but that has other uses ie. internal cooling of the engine and marginally greater engine braking . Regarding the valve cooling, this is a fuel-saving technology, most car engines used to run a richer mixture than they needed for the same reason which is why cars used to overheat if they had an intake manifold gasket leak leaning out the mixture, the extra air being pumped out of the exhaust is a by-product, it could well be argued.

  19. Now the question arises of what mappings did teams use in qualifying. Now that the rule is lifted can those teams ( if any) that used different mappings in qualy return to prior mappings? Parc ferme rules in effect ?

  20. Sadly, it seems the story is never ending…

  21. UKfanatic (@)
    9th July 2011, 17:36

    Renault and red bull are winning the argument just because mclaren has lost the most, mclarens car now seems to behave just like in pre-season before they copied red bulls diffuser, I think that the Fia needs stronger hands 10% seem to harsh, but raising it to 50% is even more ridiculous day by day changing their minds and effectively spoiling the British GP, anyway we saw smaller gaps between middle teams and the top teams, which is what this rules was meant for. we cant forget that this engine maps are aero devices and they shouldnt. Maybe repositioning the exhaust would have been more effective

    1. Agree.
      Make the exhausts blow to the sky would of been easier.
      Mclaren have lost the most as suspected, it’s like the dog of a car it was in testing before they copied the Red Bull blown exhausts, so if you think about it no surpise.
      Interestingly Ferrari are also showing the same form as pre-season testing.

    2. Actually it seems like (team) Renault lost the most. 14th and 16th on the grid, behind Sauber, Williams and Force India and only just ahead of Lotus. They’ve been slipping back recently but this is a team that was fighting for podiums and high points not too long ago.

  22. Wish they’d just stop flip-flopping.

  23. invisiblekid
    9th July 2011, 17:50

    FIA : Just do it please! Wait what, your not happy? Well erm, try this instead. What still not happy? Er, hold on. Right er, nevermind, forget we ever said anything. Sorry everyone, our bad.

    **** in a bag and punch it.

  24. If the FIA want to make a significant rule change mid season, then maybe they should allow some testing time to make sure the all teams can adapt their cars.

  25. What kind of joke like this?

  26. I hope they don’t change it yet again. They had nearly two month’s warning and suddenly all the reliability problems come to light now? Far too convenient.

    The FIA is acting completely incompetently by proposing yet another U-Turn but I suspect the fault really lies with the engine manufacturers.

  27. What a mess. Again.
    Something’s gotta change at FIA, after Todts resignation.

    1. The FIA are trying to prevent the season being destroyed by protests and disqualifications. It’s not easy to keep everyone happy, give them a break!

  28. who needs the FIA? Let F1 make their own rules about car specifications; FIA could take care of issues like safety but should leave technical rules to the group running the races.

  29. Sometimes I feel the sole purpose of the FIA is to make my head explode. FIA- Fabulously Incompetent Always!

    1. FIA- Fabulously Incompetent Always!

      Fabulously Incompetent Again

  30. They should just go back to the same rule as prior to Valencia, changing the rules mid season is crazy.
    This weekend has been the biggest joke in F1 I have ever known and that is since watching F1 from 1984.
    RBR continue to protest (you can bet Mclaren and Mercedes will after today), Mclaren have lost out badly, Ferrari were getting closer anyway but have maybe benefited a bit, Force India have gained their OTEBD wasn’t very developed, all the team esp’ Williams running the Cosworth have gained but at the end of the day rule changes mid season that benefit certain engine suppliers when engine development is frozen is just plain wrong. Return to what we’ve had in the first 7 races, that’s the most sensible decision.

  31. I think that it should be realised that none of this would be happening if the FIA didn’t think that there would be a very big possibility of another team protesting off throttle blown diffusers at either this race or at a later date. So, in a sense, the FIA are trying to save F1 from an even more embarrassing situation. They have now put it in the teams court to sort it out amongst themselves by having them agree, unanimously, to keep the pre-Silverstone rules. But I can’t see Turkeys voting for Christmas tbh.

    1. the FIA are trying to save F1 from an even more embarrassing situation.

      Seriously you should be a stand-up, that is so funny. You can’t get a more ridiculous situation than the farce this weekend. That’s like like trying to save someone from breaking their leg in the future by shooting them in the head today. Really a team protesting, maybe in the future, was best avoided by a farce this weekend… think again.

  32. The sum of all of this controversy is nothing but “good PR ” for Formula One. With the advantage that Red Bull has had so far this season F1 in general has become stale. I personally like it when any singular team figures out what it takes to be better than the rest. I suggest that more tires per weekend are needed and that the DRS system be open to allow any driver to use it to his advantage at anytime during a race weekend. If a designer is clever enough to create a competitive edge over his rivals and it remains within the boundry of rules established by the FIA at the start of a season then more power to the clever guy. Send a box of tissues to all the crybaby teams and point to Red Bull and tell them “this is how it is done”.

    1. I like your take on this. :-)

    2. If a designer is clever enough to create a competitive edge over his rivals and it remains within the boundry of rules established by the FIA at the start of a season then more power to the clever guy. Send a box of tissues to all the crybaby teams and point to Red Bull and tell them “this is how it is done”.

      If I could have a signature on all my comments here, I would use this as my signature.

      1. Trenthamfolk (@)
        10th July 2011, 12:44

        @xxiinophobia great post!

  33. Trenthamfolk (@)
    9th July 2011, 20:56

    Hmmm… Jean Todt… Hmmmm… Ferrari are the only team not to be running the blown diffuser (Quote Eddie Jordan)… They didn’t ban the f-duct half way through last season so why ban this system all of a sudden?

    “Fernando is faster than you…”

    Cheats… In my opinion, of course (for the crazies out there).

  34. Really a team protesting, maybe in the future, was best avoided by a farce this weekend… think again.

    So you seriously think that what is happening this weekend is more ridiculous than than having more than half of the grid being disqualified from the race results at some point in the season ahead?

    Do me a favour, Sherlock!

    1. That won’t and can’t happen, the results up to this point stand no matter what teams protest. They can protest this weekend or a future race but that is it.

      Yes this weekend is more ridiculous than a possible future event because it has happened and the said future event will not happen or is extremely unlikely, who would do a crazy thing like this weekend to avoid an improbably situation in the future that wouldn’t be any more of a farce.
      Anyway a protest in the future would not be embarrassing, why would it? Teams have been disqualified before and it wasn’t embarrassing for the FIA.

      Regards, Sherlock.

      1. That won’t and can’t happen, the results up to this point stand no matter what teams protest. They can protest this weekend or a future race but that is it.

        No one said that the results up until a protest happens, don’t count.

        Anyway a protest in the future would not be embarrassing, why would it?

        Oh really! Seriously!? I hope Hamilton don’t win that race, because this place will go into meltdown!

        Teams have been disqualified before and it wasn’t embarrassing for the FIA.

        When was the last time you can remember more than half of the teams not scoring points in a GP? P.S. You don’t need to think too hard.

    2. Furthermore, the current solution does not remove the potential for protest because the solution does not stop blowing of diffusers. None of the teams liable to protest were even involved in discussions about whether and what Renault and McLaren got to do with their cars.

      1. the current solution does not remove the potential for protest

        Yes it does because if all the teams agree then none of them can protest. If the teams don’t agree the system remains banned and again there will be no protest.

        The FIA has handled a difficult situation in the best way it could. It has bent over backwards to make sure this issue hasn’t resulted in post-race disqualifications.

        The FIA isn’t making a mid-season rule change, it is enforcing the rules that were in place. To prevent teams from protesting the blown diffuser systems the FIA asked for time for them to be removed. Now is the time for them to be removed, unless all the teams agree and therefore remove the risk of protests and disqualifications.

        1. If all of the probable protesters were inclined to agree to blowing then there wouldn’t have been a potential-protest issue in the first place. So we are just at square one again. Except now the protest-prone should be emboldened: Why should say, Williams, agree to anything when they can just say, RBR, if you turn up in Germany blowing we will protest. Espeically now that they know that Renault and Mercedes apparently must blow for reliabilty, a fact apparently not public-info until today.

          1. You’re missing the point.

            Either A: The only ‘blowing’ left will have been specifically allowed. There will be no point in protesting if it is specifically allowed.

            Or B: The teams will agree that ‘blowing’ isn’t illegal and again there won’t be any point in protesting.

            There will be no grounds for protest in either case. The problem will have been sorted.

  35. If FIA is serious about making F1 competitive throughout the season, just require the lead teams to add lead weights to slow them down as the season progresses. To change the rules in mid-season is a clumsy, ham-handed way to keep from crowning a champion too soon.

  36. Interesting! But perhaps sensible. This should have waited until the end of the season.

    However, I don’t believe it was an attempt to bring RBR down a peg or two. Anyone who follows the sport closely enough knows the RB7 is lightyears ahead of it’s rivals and not for any particular reason. It just is THAT good. Perhaps they should have tried nearer the beginning of the season.

    1. It couldn’t wait until the end of the season. The FIA promised to have the illegal stuff removed if the potential protesters would give them time to find a solution. They are only clarifying and enforcing the rules, not introducing new ones. The FIA have prevented the season being destroyed by protests and disqualifications.

      1. Isn’t the 10%, or more recent 50%, throttle limitation a new rule? Does this mean OTBD’s are only 50%(or 10%) illegal?

      2. Exactly.

        HRT (and others) were going to protest at Monaco. But the FIA told them to stand down until they had been given chance to sort it out.

        Now the FIA have to sort it out by having all of the teams agree, unanimously, to having the ban removed completely from the German GP onwards.

        If they don’t agree unanimously, then the current version of the reg remains in place.

        If there was not any danger of protests from another team (we can only really guess at who, but I wouldn’t now limit it to HRT), none of this would be taking place.

  37. I dont understand this diffuser thing. Supposedly it was to impede Redbull.

    Ok, teams are allowed 10% max throttle opening when the driver lifts off. We know that Mercedes engines got a special dispensation and can fire 4 of 8 cylinders, due to reliability etc. So Mercedes teams have some advantage over the others, notably Ferrari who do exactly what the rule book tells them.

    So why are Mclaren complaining so much, saying they are screwed? They are the ones who got the preferential treatment.

    1. So why are Mclaren complaining so much, saying they are screwed? They are the ones who got the preferential treatment.

      They were complaining because Renault were given dispensations of their own – much broader dispensations.

      As David Coulthard pointed out in the commentary for qualifying, these engine maps are nothing new to Formula 1. What is new is the way they are being applied. For the past ten years, teams have mapped their engines to fire under braking for the purposes of engine management, probably to keep the the revs up in slower corners (like Monaco’s hairpin). It has only been with the advent of diffusers and exhaust blown diffusers that the teams have started using engine maps to directly affect downforce.

  38. I dont understand this diffuser thing. Supposedly it was to impede Redbull.

    No, my friend. It was because some teams had planned to protest the devices at GPs.

    1. OK if you say so. But I remember Mclaren was quite bullish about the rule change. They got some concessions from FIA that Red Bull hadn’t got.

  39. I don’t think the FIA are really to blame for this. They didn’t just hand out concessions because they felt like it – the manufacturers asked for them. And how many times have we seen teams exploit loopholes in the regulations to preserve an advantage?

    It was pointed out during the Australian commentary of qualifying that this is a very complex issue, and spreads into realms of technicality that not even the most well-connected pundits understand. I think that’s been reflected in public reactions to the controversy: people are simply judging without understanding all of the facts. Worse, they’re just using it as an opportunity to attack the FIA when it’s fairly obvious that all the FIA was doing was attempting to keep things even amongst the teams so that one manufacturer didn’t suffer a massive disadvantage from the changes.

    What we do know is this: Mercedes were given a concession because of their concerns over pressure in the crank case. Renault, on the other hand, were given their own concession on the basis of reliability, though there aren’t really any details on what their primary concern was. The simple fact of it is that we don’t know exactly what Mercedes and Renault claimed, and we don’t know exactly which concessions were granted – but reading between the lines a little bit, neither the claims nor the concessions were identical. And yet, people attack the FIA for it.

    I look at this situation and this is what I see: the FIA announced that the 10% restrictions would come into play at Silverstone. The manufacturers saw this, and knew it could cost them up to one second per lap. So they started taking a closer look at their engines and found that reducing engine mapping could damage their engines. They applied to the FIA for concessions, which were initially granted. But upon further investigation, the FIA found that Renault did not really need those concessions, and so withdrew them. At the same time, Renault found that Mercedes had been given concessions of thier own, and so attempted to have Mercedes’ concessions revoked because they feared that it would give Mercedes an edge.

    I don’t read this as FIA incompetence. I read this as the FIA trying to be fair to everyone by introducing amendments that were designed to prevent one team from having a massive advantage or disadvantage, only to have the whole process undermined by the teams trying to swing the balance of power in their favour.

    1. Jelle van der Meer
      10th July 2011, 12:59

      Nice piece but written by a die hard Ferrari fan who same as Ferrari is enjoying this ridiculous mid season rule changes.

      Right or wrong the rules should not have been changed mid season – as it used to be for a long time – rules should not be changed mid season unless safety requires it or ALL teams agree.

      Sneaky FIA now says we will change it back if all teams agree – they should have done that first. So FIA is the blame to start the issue in the first place and then being weak in follow up. You can not give specific teams or manufacturers exceptions and certainly not give them and withdraw them the next day.

      The ONLY solution is to refer back to Valencia specs for next race till end of season although sure that Ferrari will object as usual.

  40. John Cousins
    10th July 2011, 5:43

    I think this definately shows incompetence by the FIA. The FIA simply do not fully understand the technology being used in a sport governed by them. If the want to “govern” formula 1 then they need to employ absolute experts in automotive engine design and electronic engine management. The biggest problem is… that experts such as tese are paid lots more to work FOR formula 1 teams. That is why the FIA can not govern the “technical” side of Formula 1.

    1. Then who should govern the technical side? The teams? That’s not flirting with danger, that’s taking danger out for dinner and a movie and then getting naked and sweaty with it. Having the teams dictate the rules will only lead to needless drama as manufacturers try and gain political power by supplying as many teams as they can, and then influencing the rules in their favour. All it will lead to is one manufacturer having the most say over the rules, which will naturally be written to favour them and no-one will be able to catch them.

      1. John Cousins
        10th July 2011, 9:25

        Hahah!!! I love your analogy! Your dead right. I don’t know if anyone will be able to do it successfully. I don’t have a solution, i’m just having a whinge. Maybe an independant Formula1 technical committee that is paid for by F1 management?

        1. But again, who will be a part of that committee? So long as designers can earn more money finding and exploiting loopholes for the teams than they can finding and closing those same loopholes, it will always be a problem.

  41. The thing that xxxxxx me off the most about the FIA is that they cause so much needless waste of money when they keep crying out cost cutting at the same time. It’s not only the current teams that suffer but also other businesses, for example new engine suppliers already hurting by the one year engine delay and move to V6.

    All parties involved should discuss initiatives more thoroughly and then, when a rule is passed, it should stick. The way things are being organised this year is a joke.

    1. Uh, hello? You do realise that the FIA was pushing for inline-fours to be introduced in 2013, right? They weren’t the ones who proposed or lobbied for the V6s with a one-year delay. It was the teams that did that. The FIA just ratified it when the teams all agreed.

  42. Here’s my take on what FIA did wrong and what they did right.

    ON PRINCIPLE – Should FIA accept the fact that teams will exploit grey areas in the rules? Yes, It can’t be helped. These are some of the smartest people in the world. It’s in F1’s DNA. Someone could argue it’s a big part of its charm.
    Should they let them to? I think yes, they should. More often than not, in the sense that it should be overall incouraged. Of course interpration will greatly differ on these grey rules. FIA should retain the right to enforce a particular interpretation *any time of the season*, but they need to use it very sensibly. Everybody will have a different view about where to draw the line. IMO, if you need actual brand new rules to enforce a particular interpretation (and this seems to be the case with EBD), you’re doing it wrong.

    TIMING/1 – When the Double Diffusers affair mounted in 2009, everybody set up their minds in Australia already. EBD were also there from Day 1 and the implications of the technology are pretty straightforward. I think where they were headed was foreseeable but it took FIA 5 GPs to decide to step in. Far too much time.

    TIMING/2 – Mercedes and Renault lobbied their cases for dispensation only at this race weekend. They had almost 2 months for doing so after Barcellona. This suggests the time that has been given to the teams to cope with the changes was more than enough, despite claims of projects “tightened to EBD previous parameters”.

    POLITICS – If that’s true, as it seems, that smaller teams would have brought protests at some point, it was right for the FIA to intervene prior to that and try to keep the matter low-profile. This EBD affair could have been a lot better on the media side if FIA hadn’t screwed things up with U-turns at this race weekend, but even a lot worse if teams were protesting each other.

    DISPENSATIONS – Whatever the rules might be, must be the same for everyone. This is the only thing that really everyone understand, even the casual fans. I’ve been following F1 for 15 years now and this is the 1st time I heard about FIA trying to calibrate different set of parameters (for the teams to choose, according to ScarbsF1) to achieve performance parity. It’s unbelievably wrong.

    U-TURNS – Particularly the one discussed in this article, i’m shocked about that. It’s bad, bad amateur stuff and might be very dangerous for the sport if teams will start obstructing a final solution, and it is likely.
    The fuss would have been over quickly if FIA had stuck with their Barcellona decision, or at least it would never have reached such a big deal.
    It just went out of FIA’s hands with that FP2/FP3 turnaround on dispensations. A complete Joke.

    1. This is a very tricky situation. The FIA are trying to clarify the rules and keep everyone happy. There main goal is to keep protests and disqualifications from intefering with the results.

  43. Plot twist!

    The teams have been unable to come to an agreement to restore the pre-Silverstone OTBD specifications. I find it interesting because the Ferrari-powered teams (except Toro Rosso, who own alleigance to Red Bull first and Ferrari second) were the ones who did not sign off on the agreement.

    Now, before you say “PM, we’ve done tihs dance before; you just don’t like Ferrari”, please just hear me out. We have known Cosworth’s position on the matter since Barcelona. The Cosworth teams simply couldn’t map their engines the way everyone else could. They were the ones who brought the off-throttle blown diffusers to everyone’s attention. And this weekend, we found out Mercedes’ and Renault’s positions. All the teams using those engines agreed to the proposition. But Ferrari, perhaps the most vocal team in the sport, have remained silent about the OTBD for the past six weeks – and yet, they’re the ones who did not sign the agreement, leaving it dead in the water.

    So at the end of it all, we have to ask ourselves: what are Ferrari doing with their engine maps?

  44. So at the end of it all, we have to ask ourselves: what are Ferrari doing with their engine maps?

    Or: What didn’t Ferrari do with its engine maps that everyone else managed to do.

  45. Apparently Ferrari and Sauber have refused to sign up to the rule implementation being reverted. What a surprise, all teams will look after their best interests and who can blame them.

    Sorry I posted this on another thread as well but realised it should be here.

  46. themagicofspeed (@)
    10th July 2011, 18:50

    this is a total sham, it proves only 2 things:

    1) the FIA are not prepared to put their foot down in the interests of the sport – in my opinion if they were, they would limit everybody to 10% blown throttle, and whoever can adapt to it best will ultimately win.
    2) if this does go ahead, Red Bull will be effectively handed both championships on a plate, and they and anyone else is free to take the p**s out of the regulations as much as they see fit.

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