Mark Webber, Red Bull, Hockenheim, 2012

FIA set to ban Red Bull engine map

F1 Fanatic round-up

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Mark Webber, Red Bull, Hockenheim, 2012In the round-up: The FIA is expected to outlaw Red Bull’s controversial engine map in time for the Hungarian Grand Prix.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

FIA mapping clarification will mean Red Bull changes (GrandPrix)

“It is understood that Red Bull Racing will not be able to run the same map that FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer considered to be outside the regulations in Germany.”

Domenicali vows to protect Massa (Autosport)

“We have always said there is no pressure. We want him to realise that he is a part of us, and we will protect him in all conditions. And I am sure that he will give back what the team is giving him.”

Q&A with McLaren?s Martin Whitmarsh (F1)

“My fear is that at the moment the deal hasn?t been done and therefore it adds some volatility to the situation. At times Formula One has lost opportunities because of inner frictions. We create dramas out here between us rather than saying, ??Hey, this is a fantastic sport, a world sport, and we should all work together and point in the same direction!?”

Time to look at the F1 business model? (Joe Saward)

“Hockenheim is the second largest sports stadium in Europe (after the Nurburgring) and boasts 120,000 seats. On Sunday, however, only 59,000 of these had bottoms in them.”

F1 diary: German Grand Prix (The Telegraph)

“Suspicions about Hockenheim’s relative tranquillity are confirmed. The grandstands are largely empty and the whole place feels flat ?ǣ and this in a land that’s relatively prosperous by the standards of the current economic climate. That there are five Germans in the field, including the reigning world champion, seems not to matter.”

Domenicali: “Immune to the euphoria of others” (Ferrari)

“The fact we are leading the Drivers? championship with Fernando does not lull us into thinking that everything is fine and we?re cruising along with the wind in our sails; quite the contrary in fact. Red Bull has always been very strong in Budapest these past few years and McLaren showed in Germany that it was back in front running form, after a slight dip at its home race.”

German GP Review (Williams)

Pastor [Maldonado] was very unlucky. Before the incident he had good pace and was very happy with the car balance. Then at Turn 5 on lap 12 he ran over a large piece of carbon fibre debris which was sitting on the middle of the track which damaged a number of aerodynamic components down the left hand side of the car. The substantial loss in downforce meant that the car balance was adversely affected and this impacted on the tyre performance and his ultimate car pace.”

The Nordschleife will be saved (MotorSport)

“Truth is the Nordschleife has never been busier and the car manufacturers who?ve invested millions building workshops there and whose staff spend millions of man hours pounding are not going simply to walk away. Fact is if you?re developing the suspension and tyres of a new road car, there?s nowhere else on earth like it. And it?s great for PR too: I can?t remember the last Jaguar launch I attended where its top press honcho didn?t mention the fact that its cars are developed there.”

Hungarian Rhapsody (Speed)

“The infield of the Hungaroring was completely unimproved, allegedly because the woman who owned it would not sell to the track developers. We had no overhead shots for our television coverage, and VIPs were limited to ground transport, due to a ban on helicopter traffic in the name of security. This vestige of government paranoia was loosened just enough for the mandatory medivac chopper.”

McLaren to shut down F1 and road car plants during summer break (The Guardian)

“At McLaren’s Woking headquarters, it has also been decided their new car plant ?ǣ opened in November last year by the prime minister David Cameron ?ǣ will also lock its doors, even though they are under no obligation to do so.”

Comment of the day

Snowman on Massa’s situation at Ferrari:

I wish Massa could go back in time to Hockenheim 2010 and tell Ferrari where to go when they asked him to move over for Alonso. Ferrari would have fired him at the end of the year with his standing in the paddock and mentality in check.

He would now be in another car doing a Kovalainein beating some other driver in a lesser car but looking great doing it. Instead now we have a pale shadow of a man that virtually no one remembers how good he once was on his day.

From the forum

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On this day in F1

Controversy in the 1982 French Grand Prix: Rene Arnoux ignored a team order to let fellow Renault driver Alain Prost win, and led home a one-two for the team.

A shocking crash on lap 11 between Jochen Mass and Mauro Baldi was lucky not to have more serious consequences as some of the wreckage landed in the crowd, leaving around a dozen spectators with minor injuries.

The drivers were unhurt, but this proved to be Mass’s last race in F1 – he had also been involved in the crash that killed Gilles Villeneuve earlier that year. The same was also true of Ferrari’s Didier Pironi, who was seriously injured in a crash during practice for the next race in Germany.

Here’s the aftermath of the Baldi/Mass crash:

Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images

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  • 101 comments on “FIA set to ban Red Bull engine map”

    1. Will it effect Redbull’s performance coming Sunday? How much?

      1. *affect

      2. Honestly … I doubt it. The throttle maps seem to have been intended to supplement the car, rather than being the one thing the car was depending on to generate downforce.

        1. I though their biggest gain came from fuel efficiency.

      3. Well, surely there’s a benefit. Otherwise, they’d use a normal engine map.

        So it should affect the overall performance of the car. How much? I guess no one will ever know that.

      4. It’s said to provide extra traction to the car making it possible to apply bit more aggressive cornering. Then it might make quite a sizable difference in lap times ceteris paribus.

      5. I thought it was a map that provided 100% throttle (or close to) yet reduced the torque.
        This meant the diffuser worked just as if the throttle was fully open yet then wheels didnt spin due to the reduced torque going to them.

        Sneaky and perfect when it was soaking wet in Germany as it meant full downforce at the back but less wheelspin (ergo more traction ) its like a double whammy :)

        Their engineering meetings must be amazing.

        1. “Their engineering meetings must be amazing”
          yeah but illegal at the same time…

          1. @fanser – they aren’t illegal until deemed illegal by the FIA after some whining from the other teams. Red Bull merely exploit the rules to their advantage, something all the great teams do if they want to win championships.

        2. One thing is obvious. The value of the system must be significant because to facilitate the use of these maps Renault had to develop an unusual/contentious alternator to make it work which will have come at considerable expense.
          Incidentally, this was the very same type of alternator that failed on Vettel and Grosjean’s cars at Valencia so this could disadvantage Lotus too. Maybe even Williams.

          1. I’ve always noticed that the Red Bulls, especially Vettel always seem to get a faster/cleaner corner exit, and the cynic in me wonders how much this attributed to it.
            I also wonder if anyone with more technical knowledge could add to this.

    2. Great COTD, remember reading that and thinking it should be! Just had a little Massa 2008 sesh on Youtube actually. Certainly sad what we’re seeing.

      1. Agreed, that COTD is spot on!

        2007-2008 era Massa was behind only Kimi, Alonso and to a lesser degree Hamilton on pace. He put in some brilliant performances then, and could have at least one more time, had he done as Snowman and many of us wish on that fateful day.

      2. Agreed. Imagine what Massa would’ve said to Ferrari had he went back in time. Maybe ‘Up yours’, a bit disrespectful given that it’s Ferrari.

        1. In light of them continuing to employ him despite his awful form, I reckon he’d be too grateful to do anything other than repeat what he actually did.

          1. exactly, COTD is a nice thought but total nonsense. Massa did the right thing. Rob and ferrari handled it badly on the day tho. But as mclaren had done it constantly in 05 with kimi and juan pablo no one had any reason to complain about their actions. As everyone was happy with mclaren in 05.

            Ferrari have been loyal to massa…not the other way around.

            not many other teams would be persisting with him right now.

            1. What i always find amusing is no one cared about mclaren doing it in 05 with juan pablo giving up a few wins…after he had returned from injury that season.

              whats the difference?

            2. Ferrari have been loyal to massa…not the other way around.

              not many other teams would be persisting with him right now.

              Massa should not remain at Ferrari simply because his team are being so nice and loyal to him. This is about his integrity, and his reputation, and as you’ll see in the comments below it’s not all about Hockenheim ’10 – it’s his embarrassing and very public downfall altogether which Ferrari are quite happy to keep happening until Alonso becomes champion – at which point they’ll then be happy to drop Massa for someone else, as Alonso’s WDC would solidify his number 1 status within the team.

              In 2012, I hardly see how it was a good idea for Massa to stay at Ferrari. Sure, he’s driving for Ferrari and there’s a obviously good wage, but he owes them? Come on…

          2. Can’t believe that some people believe that Hochenheim 2010 was the reason that broke Massa’s confidence. The very fact that he was asked to move over was because he was being beaten comprehensively by his team-mate who was better in every field and had a genuine chance of getting the WDC in a inferior car.

            If this incident continues to affect him, he must have left the team and plied his trade somewhere else. It has been two years now, wish people would stop mentioning that as the reason for Massa’s current form.

            I can observe that he is a good driver if the car suits him and it is Ferrari’s fault for having taken this much time to figure out the setup for Massa.

            But when Alonso is leading the championship in the same car, there is no reason for Massa to be abysmally poor. If his mentality was affected, who did drive the second Ferrari at Silverstone? His brother perhaps?

            He spun at Canada, destroyed his wings in Germany, got caught out by the safety car in Valencia. Much of it seems like his fault, no point in blaming the team for it.

            Ferrari were loyal waiting for his return and have stuck with him despite his poor form. Smedley and Massa should have been shown the door for that fiasco. It bought in unwanted attention on the team and it didn’t do any good to the team.

            1. @evered7 It’s hard not to think that Hockenheim 2010 didn’t affected his performance. We all know how a win can boost someone’s confidence. Even if it’s only 1 win in a very bad season.

              Now, either Alonso is winning with a car that’s only capable of qualifying outside the top 10 or it’s Massa racing the midfield teams in a winning car. And, I think we all agree, it’s really the late, not the former. Massa isn’t performing at the same level of all the other guys around him.

              Being confident in what you do, and getting some results along the way, boosts your future performance. I don’t think Massa would’ve performed the same had he won that race, which was incredibly important to him. It was the first year after his horrible accident, and a win to put all that behind would have been spot on.

              Be it setup problems or just lack of pace, it’s Massa’s fault. Webber went round his problems since last year, and improved his form considerably. Massa seems to lack that strengh, that wish to make it work. And having a team mate as good as Alonso, in a team so famous for giving all the best chances to it’s #1 driver (a vast difference to Red Bull’s attitude towards both drivers, even if Vettel is certainly the favourite), doesn’t do Massa any favours either.

            2. Massa got 67 points before Germany in 10 races and got 59 in 8 races since Germany. If anything, his performance seems to have improved and not deteriorated even in that particular year.

              So how can the current inefficiency of Massa as a driver be attributed to that incident? I just see this as a means of people trying to put Alonso in a bad light by saying he is the reason for Massa’s current situation.

              I detested Alonso when he raced against Schumi in the Renault years. But after coming to Ferrari, he has shown great maturity and leadership and has been supportive of Massa in his statements whenever he is asked for one.

              I like Massa very much and admired him for his driving in the 2008 season and was shocked by the Hungary incident. But one cannot hold Alonso/Ferrari responsible for Massa’s shocking form.

            3. @evered7

              Great comments mate, I couldnt have said it better.

              It is incredulous that people still go back to Hockenheim 2 years ago. Even then, hasnt Alonso justified time and again why Ferrari did that?

              Putting that one race down to Massa’s decline is just inane. As a professional, you are supposed to get on with your job. Massa hasnt complained, if he was so unhappy and felt the team werent supporting him, all he has to say is when, and LDM will gladly hold the door open for him on his way out.

              We obviously dont know what goes on behind closed doors at Maranello, but from the outside, it seems like Massa has received immense support from his whats the excuse? Massa was has been at Ferrari since 06, thats twice the amount of time Alonso has been there, why couldnt he build the team around him in the post Schumacher years? The answer is simple, he just wasnt and isnt good enough to be the proverbial Number 1 driver.

              Lets not be childish..people need to find more creative ways to discredit Ferrari and Alonso.

            4. @evered7 Ferrari experienced a raise in form after Germany, so the points he got in the 2nd stage of the championship doesn’t reflect the fact that the car was faster, and he just kept going at the same pace as he had in the first half of the year.

              I respect Alonso and I respect Ferrari for what they did, to some extent, even if it was unfair on Massa. Alonso was clearly the driver to win that championship. But to say that event was completely independant of Massa’s recent struggles is going too far the other way. It certainly affected him, in the same way Hungary 2009 affected him.

              You’re putting words in my mouth. I never said anything about Alonso, to think that I’m just trying to make an excuse to complain about him is just ridiculous. If anything, the whole thing shows why Alonso is the best driver on the grid, and not Massa.

            5. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
              25th July 2012, 3:15

              I agree with the COTD. I think that some F1F’s are missing the point though, the fact that he’s still employed by Ferrari and gets to drive around in a competitive car is irrelevant. By blindly obeying Ferrari’s orders and practically parking his car to let Alonso past (Hockenheim 2010), he solidified his position as a No.2 support driver, a driver who will do as he’s told without complaint or protest.
              First impressions are key when it comes to gaining the respect of your peers, and as this was the first time that Ferrari challenged him (publicly at least) to ‘move over for Alonso’, he should have told them to go and make love with their respective mothers, in doing so he would have fortified his image as a strong driver, a title contender, a guy you never rule out, a man who’s dignity is not for sale. It’s a shame that he conceded so willingly, as doing so has assured that the aforementioned characteristics are no longer attributed to him.
              Hamilton was in a similar position during his debut season in F1 as Alonso’s team mate. Most people expected the rookie to be overawed by the reigning double WDC, but by putting his foot down (and refusing to be a support driver) he conveyed an image of himself that sang ‘I’m nobody’s lacky, I move over for no man, not even the best driver on the grid’. It may have cost him and/or Alonso the 2007 WDC, but it earned him the respect of his peers (especially Alonso) and that is priceless.

            6. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
              25th July 2012, 3:45

              Dagnabbit! I should have spaced out my paragraphs :O)

            7. @Fer no.65, I am not talking about you at all in my post. I am talking about some people’s perception in general. I accept your view points.

              Of course Ferrari improved the car in the second half, but it shouldn’t matter to a man who is mentally broken by the events at Ferrari, I suppose.

              I was just highlighting the fact that he was coming good when the car was okay’ed after the upgrades and that Ferrari have not started off with a dominant car like ’07/’08 during the recent years.

              ‘he just kept going at the same pace as he had in the first half of the year.’
              Certainly. So the incident hasn’t really affected him as we all think. Maybe this is Massa post Hungary? RB told Webber to hold position and McLaren through coded instructions asked Button to hold fort etc.

              Webber is still happy to sign a new contract at RB and Button is happy at McLaren. Alonso is operating a level greater than all his fellow competitors and it is showing Massa in poor light.

            8. @tmcs88, I for one would have been happy to see the back of Ferrari post 2010. They would have hired Heikke or someone else with a clear ‘No:2’ pasted on helmet and he would have still gladly driven the car.

              2011 and 2012 they started on the same points but we saw how it ended in 2011, and we know how it will end in 2012. Massa cannot match Alonso in equal machinery except for Alonso’s bogey circuits. That is my opinion on it and my last comment on this topic.

            9. COTD! :)

              Just to clarify my original comment. In the 10 races before Germany Massa finished the race in front of Alonso 4 times. In the 8 races after Germany Massa didn’t once beat Alonso in a race except in the Belgian GP were Alonso was involved in an accident and retired. Before Germany, Alonso 6-4. After Germany 7-0.

              It wasn’t just that Massa was told to move over in the race but afterward it was revealed Alonso was faster because unknown to Massa and the rest of us at the time Alonso’s egine settings were turned up and Massa’s were not.

              Kimi was put in Ferrari to beat Massa and Massa ended up in a close fight with him the first season and in the second season and a half was leading Kimi. I think Massa fully expected to do the same with Alonso only to relaise he didn’t just have to beat ALonso but most of his Ferrari team as well who had stabbed him in the back on what would have been a very emotional near death aniversy victory.

            10. @snowman Realizing you’ve been stabbed in the back by your team, yet uncomplainingly staying with that team is a combination a lot of people would not be able to stomach in their own lives or careers.

              Such people will struggle to have any respect left for Massa.

              On the whole, this Ferrari-Massa affair is abnormal in many respects:

              – FM being “stabbed in the back” one year after he almost dies; if there wasn’t something to it behind the scenes then it’s quite revolting

              – FM seemingly unable to get over it for 2 years now + being stuck in denial mode about his lousy form: it’s pathetic and shows him as a weak person

              – Ferrari displaying a seemingly emotion-driven loyalty to him in a ruthlessly money- and performance-oriented environment is baffling and not a little awkward

            11. I think Ferrari made the right mathematical decision in Germany 2010 based on the facts of FM’s lagging behind in points to FA at the time, and based on the relevance and relativity of that fact to the competition and where they stood. An opportunity arose mid-race and Ferrari had to make a tough decision then, a decision that I am convinced they only would have had to make a few races down the line anyway.

              FM was ****** and said he was ‘no Reubens’ which to me was great to hear…showed his fighting spirit and I never want to see another ‘Reubens’ (as in contracted subservient). So I felt for FM but I also understood the decision. And I don’t think it should have been any surprise to anyone, including FM, as soon as news broke that he was officially going to Ferrari, that FA would be their go-to guy for the future.

              So in disagreeing with the COTD I would say that I think it is ridiculous and way oversimplifying F1 and it’s relative lack of good seats, not to mention using hindsight as 20/20, to say he should have told them to stuff it in Hockenheim 2010. To suggest that the consequence of showing he is disobedient to a team to the point of getting fired at the end of the season, would be presumably leaving with his standing in the paddock and his mentality in check, is romantic folly. He stands as a Ferrari driver which most say is every race car drivers dream, even if it means seconding FA or the like, and his mentality is that he is there, and can help FA, like many think is the kind of behaviour that makes up a team, especially when one driver is mathematically out of the equation.

              At the time, he knew where he stood, he knew who his teammate was, and he knew the team he was on, and he witnessed the extremes to which Ferrari can and will go from the MS/Ferrari era and even though he could have quit the team out of disgust after 2010 he didn’t. Guess the grass isn’t always that green on the other side as to suggest he should have just gone elsewhere and ‘done a Kovalainen.’

              I think if it wasn’t FM driving what I suspect is FA’s car, it would be someone else, also not there to challenge FA, and now we sit with FM basically saying he is ready and willing to help FA…a departure from 2 years ago when he was ‘no Reubens’ only now the math isn’t even close.

              I think in fact FM is a ‘Reubens’ just without the contract. I think he knew he would be as soon as he heard FA was coming. I think he just hated it becoming reality in 2010 but the fact that he didn’t tell them to stuff it right then and there, nor leave after that season, and now is claiming FA will need his help, tells me FM is more ok with everything since mid-2010 than he initially led us to believe.

              I think Ferrari don’t really feel the need to replace FM…they just like to sound like it. They like to sound like there is competition on the team but all they really want is more points from FM for the WCC and more taking away of points from the competition, but not FA, by FM. So they talk of replacing him, but that certainly gives me no impression that they really will or that his replacement won’t get the phone call too. Or simply won’t even be close enough that a phone call is needed, because it will be FA’s car that the other guy will be driving too.

              Opposite to the COTD, I certainly do remember FM doing everything right on the weekend that LH very nearly did everything possible to lose the WDC, only just squeaking by, and I think now of FM as still the same driver but overshadowed by the best on the grid…very normal in F1, and FM remains in the seat that most other drivers would give anything for. So he is to be envied in many ways and is no pale shadow. He’s a Formula 1 Ferrari driver, good enough to get there and remain there, with the best as a teammate, the team’s support, and nothing to hang his head about.

            12. @robbie

              To suggest that the consequence of showing he is disobedient to a team to the point of getting fired at the end of the season, would be presumably leaving with his standing in the paddock and his mentality in check, is romantic folly.

              Red Bull told Mark Webber not to attack Sebastian Vettel at Silverstone in 2011. He ignored them.

              They just hired him for another year.

              At Silverstone, Webber showed he had the self-respect Massa lacked at Hockenheim two years ago and it neither cost him his drive with one of F1’s top teams, nor his standing within the paddock.

      3. I agree with that COTD as well, although I must say that the way Massa deals with it is also a great show of how tough he is really. Just imagine the bashing he must have gotten in Brazil alone, and he is still here, smiling, making jokes and being a nice guy. Almost as impressive as how he stomached losing out on the title in 2008.

        1. @Keith…true.

          That said, I think there are some key differences between your example, and that of Snowman’s hypothesis toward FM in COTD. And I would add, the most subservient of them all, Reubens Barrichello, continued at Ferrari post-Austria 02…post-everything that went on at MS/Ferrari, and then was hired post-Ferrari.

          Red Bull is not Ferrari for one thing. I consider that MW would have more ‘power’ if you will to resist a minor order, like a bigger fish in a (relative to Ferrari) smaller pond if you will, on a team that can still be fairly convincing uses fairness for the most part, and is under the microscope over it when they appear not to be.

          Exactly a year previous, Horner had to make a wing decision as you recall. And I know you recall MW’s in-car radio comment post-race that we were allowed to hear. There was a very real and potent debate about how MW was treated that weekend. Fast forwarding a year, MW got pole, may have felt robbed when SV got ahead of him at the start (just a speculation), and in the waning laps, when given what I am calling a minor order not to challenge SV for second, he ignored that and failed anyway at getting by SV. He came third. And was retained as you point out.

          Why a minor order? SV by that point in the season was miles ahead of everyone. And had MW gotten by SV it would have robbed him of 3 points. Pocket change to what he had in terms of a lead. Perhaps the team’s worry was that he might contact SV in the attempt and rob him of his 2nd place points completely by taking him out. Perhaps because MW was so far out of the chase for the title anyway, what was 3 points to his cause. MW on the other hand was fighting for 2nd in the WDC and perhaps pride, all that was looking was going to be left for everyone that wasn’t SV.

          To me that is quite different from a mathematical decision by Ferrari that involved a win for FA, who was not leading the WDC at the time, on a day that had the competition behind them for a change, FM not looking to be the go-to guy points wise in the WDC battle (not that he was miles back) with time becoming a factor. At Ferrari where they couldn’t care less about the same microscope of fairness that Red Bull ‘enjoys’.

          My point…the two environments, and the circumstances are too different to make a fair comparison. MW did nothing remotely ‘fire-worthy’, on a team that can still reasonably tout fairness and would certainly have looked extremely foolish and one-sided if MW’s 2011 Silverstone offence would be his undoing on the team. That would be quite the extreme departure from the philosophy they have touted, for quite a minor infraction.

          FM on the other hand, and without using hindsight to hypothesize ignoring the order and a firing that would have supposedly held him in higher esteem around the paddock and with supposed mental benefits, was in fact in reality having to react at the moment, in that atmosphere, without quite enough points to stake a claim, with the team hiring/wanting/willing FA to be their guy, and FM knowing it, like they have well proved they are capable of doing in the past. At Ferrari, they do not hire an FA for an FM to win the WDC.

          In other words, easy to say…not so easy to do for FM in the heat of the moment. With FA on the team FM became a much smaller fish in a bigger pond.

          Don’t get me wrong. I wish MS/Ferrari didn’t happen. I wish team orders were never a factor and that all teams would have two gladiators freely allowed to duke it out in truly neutral cars for the WDC fight, down to the wire. To the point where I think the only way that will ever happen is with one-car teams. And I truly wish it was so. But that’s not today’s reality and is as irrelevant as hypothesizing that somehow FM should have pieced together in seconds how be would be better off getting fired from Ferrari for ignoring a major order and that the cache from that would pay off with status on the paddock.

          If he had time to piece that together, I wonder if he would have decided as well what lesser team he would be the leader on, and how eeking out minimal points if any on a Sunday but dominating his teammate, while being lapped by the Ferrari’s that he used to drive, would play on his mentality.

    3. I want to hear more about this engine mapping issue. Suggesting it should be banned for cost reasons is laughable, the world is full of tuners who will re-program an ECU for $150.

      1. Cost has nothing to do with it. Red Bull were using engine maps to create a blown diffuser effect. Blown diffusers are banned, but Red Bull found a loophole that they happily exploited. The FIA could not take any action against them because Red Bull technically didn’t break any of the rules as they are written, so they have decided to close the loophole and ban the practice entirely.

        1. @prisoner-monkeys, did you read the article before you wrote that?

          1. Yes, I did. Martin Whitmarsh can speculate about the cost of reprogramming the ECU all he likes. But the FIA are banning it because they are clearly unhappy with what Red Bull are doing.

            1. Well said PM.

        2. Mclaren make the ECU chips and the teams them program them for their own use, with software they already own. When I heard the RB8 drive round Albert Park in the first round, I believe they were using this method back then. It was that obvious when they were off throttle I can’t believe it wasn’t mentioned prior.
          @prisoner-monkeys I don’t believe they are banning the practice of engine mapping if that’s what you are referring to. They will simply re-write the rules to stop it being exploited.

      2. True on the tuning cost. But I dont think it is that. If this is not banned, teams will start redesigning components of their car to take advantage if the engine mapping issue and thats where the cost comes in. So FIA need to start making smart decisions, on time. Clarify and modify rules as required.

      3. I do remember Renault saying that they spent a considerable amount of money when first getting the trick with the blown exhausts working. The money probably is not from the programming as such, but the fact its optimized for each race and several versions are put to test in an engine test rig between the races (F1 is just so good at finding ways to throw money out of the window!)

        1. The cost was also in lots of blown up engines during testing.

      4. Firstly, that’s not true. Anyone offering to reprogram your ECU for $150 is either going to simply flash the eprom with a pre-existing map, or they are going to make a couple of little tweaks and then give you a single power run to give you a peak power figure, most likely with the ambient air temperature sensor fiddled with to make it seem like the engine is delivering more power than it is, and riding the brakes on the slowdown so that there appear to be greater transmission losses than there are.

        A proper day’s rolling road tuning by a decent tuner for your average road car is going to cost at least $500. That’ll involve doing multiple runs, checking base timing, adjusting AFR, and only once they’re happy with the work they’ve done will they give you a power run to show you the improvement. And it’ll almost certainly be a lower figure than you’d see from the fiddled figures from your $150 tuner.

        But that’s in the world of road cars, and that’s a million miles away from what we’re talking about. A $500 a day tuner could no more work on an F1 engine, than a fireworks manufacturer could service a Saturn 5 rocket. Yeah, they’re both rockets but… come on.

        To do detailed tuning work on F1 engines involves weeks of bench testing with some of the most experienced (and expensive) engineers that money can buy. It’ll involve testing things like different exhaust header layouts. Those are made of inconel, one of the most expensive metals to work with, and will cost tens of thousands of dollars for bits which will probably be rejected.

        Once you start getting into an arms race between teams trying to use exotic engine maps, you’ll start seeing hundreds of thousands being spent by each team, on something which may only be worth a few tenths of a second, and arguably add absolutely nothing to the sport, and don’t go any way to creating technologies which would have any road relevance.

        Basically, it’s totally unnecessary, very expensive, and runs counter to what the rules were put in place to achieve. Clearly those rules weren’t strict enough, so the FIA are going to do the sensible thing and tighten the rules now. It won’t cost Red Bull anything to put old legal maps back on their ECUs and it’ll avoid millions being spent on effectively nothing. A triumph for common sense.

        1. I see I said about the same, only without the insightfull detail there @mazdachris, thanks.

        2. @mazdachris, you say its not true and then explain how it is done, yes of course a proper job will cost more and require skilled engineers and a good workshop, I’m pretty sure F1 teams have the facilities and skills required, they are or will be paid for anyway. Remember what we are talking about is a REDUCTION in midrange torque not an increase. Cutting out a torque spike is a lot easier than finding extra power and can be done many ways as I am sure you know.

    4. I think Saward is right on the money saying that the F1 business model is, if not broken, then seriously out of whack. I couldn’t help notice the lack of crowds at both Spanish tracks but I expected that. The lack of bums on seats in Germany was a shock though.

      1. I think Saward is right on the money saying that the F1 business model is, if not broken, then seriously out of whack.

        And yet, it’s been wokring for years.

        1. Everyone in the game needs to get a fair wedge and there needs to be a clear growth plan. Is that happening? Opening new tracks seems to look like the business is growing but its a bit like a lot of multinationals who think that growth by acquisition equals growth of the actual business. In reality its just churn.

        2. But has it really been working? We have new races that so far have been having relatively minimal crows, and a couple of hits like Singapore and Inda that look positive to get in people, altough for India the second year will tell us more.
          And we have tracks like Valencia, Barcelona, Turkey, Nurburgring, Spa, Indianapolis, Melbourne, Malaysia etc who have been struggling the past couple of years to find more money to be able to have the races, or gave up on an unfavourable deal and ever decreasing crowds
          And we has seen many a great manufacturer turning its back on the sport, with none entering in the past couple of year. Not to mention that apart from the top 4 all teams are having a tough job of making ends meet (and that goes for F1 but also for GP2), and having to look ever more at drivers bringing their own budgets.

        3. Yeah I’m not convinced it is working. Some of the most popular venues have disappeared off the calendar, or been under threat, all due to financial reasons. Silverstone may be mired in politics thanks to the BRDC, but they have had huge financial investment but only recently been able to sign off the money to make the improvements necessary. Look at Spa and the Nurburgring, which have been staples for years but now face uncertain futures thanks to the huge costs associated with hosting a GP, and keeping the tracks up to scratch.

          Compare to Le Mans, where a circuit pass costs less than 70 euros, which gives you access to all sessions for the week. The race is effectively a sellout every year, typically attracting several hundred thousand fans. Fans who have a great time thanks to great concessions and entertainment around the circuit, which also keeps the investors happy since they see some practical benefit to the money they’re putting in. Clearly it is possible to have a very high level motorsport where the cost of going to see a race is very low, yet the sponsors are happy to invest freely and the commercial promoters see a healthy return. Everyone makes money, nobody struggles to raise the money to compete, and it has been expanded upon every year until we now see a full world endurance championship springing up with the major players all committing to it. Oh, and auto manufacturers queuing round the block to get compete, rather than running a mile at the prospect like in F1.

          The single biggest problem is that the commercial rights holder in F1 holds all the cards, and is able to effectively charge whatever he wants so long as people are prepared to pay it, while skimming a huge amount of that money out of the sport for his own personal financial gain, and that of his business partners. Money which leaves the sport, simply for the purpose of making people richer who have done effectively nothing. If the CRH took a significantly smaller cut, hosting fees could be reduced which would mean that the proper improvements could be made to the tracks, and more money could go to the teams which would make competing seem like a more attractive prospect. It would also free up money to pay for the new engines which F1 desperately needs, but is currently unable to pay for, despite being one of the richest sports in the world. While sportscar racing seems to be the place for innovation, with new technologies being developed each year which feed directly into road cars.

          So no, I’m not sure I can agree with your assessment that the business model has been working for some time.

      2. Absolutely, hoping @prisoner-monkeys takes the time to read both the article and all the comments from disgruntled fans, then, maybe, he will understand where I am coming from re. Bernie/CVC.

        1. I do understand where you are coming from. and I completely disagree with it.

          1. @prisoner-monkeys, Do you also completely disagree with JS’ article then ? and further do you see no merit in the American system ?

            While I do not think the US method is the only method or that there are not other factors involved but 1 major difference is glaringly obvious and that is; in the USA all the income generated by the sport stays in the sport, whereas in F1 nearly half the revenue is siphoned of to CVC.

            1. @hohum It’s a shame seeing Bernie little girls buying overpriced mansions where they will spend no more 30 days a year while teams are struggling to make ends meet..

      3. I think it is worth revising.

    5. I haven’t cared for Bob Varsha in years – he’s a notable reason (though at the end of the day, he’s insignificant compared to the gulf in quality between American and English broadcasts, so I will gladly trade waking up at 7a for sleeping in and downloading a torrent most weekend mornings – I’m a night owl so Asian rounds don’t qualify, always live for that) why I’ve turned my back on Speed broadcasts. He’s pompous and as full of it as his hair mostly. But that piece on Budapest is a pretty good read. He clearly suffers from being inable to travel to GPs.

    6. Regarding Red Bull’s engine mapping:

      While watching Vettel’s on board camera seconds before overtaking Button, the engine made twice a very strange noise. The DRS was activated at that time. I then watched other pilot’s on board cameras and none of their engines made such a strange noise in similar situations. Has anyone else noticed that?

      If someone wants to take the time to look at what I’m pointing out, here is the link to the video of the whole race taken from different on board cameras.

      1. That’s the rev limiter.

        Red Bull always sets their cars up with a low top speed. This gives the car more acceleration when going through the gears, but it means they run into the max 18.000RPM rev limit when trying to overtake.

        1. Many thanks for your explanation. I wasn’t sure if it was the limiter effect or if it had to do with the engine mapping.

    7. In fact the strange engine sound is heard at least 5 time starting at 1.31.12 in the video. Is it related to the engine mapping?

      1. Martin brundle commented on that during the race, its the engine cutting to 4 cylinders when going round corners which they are allowed to do for fuel consumption.

      2. That’s the sound of the engine hitting the rev limiteR.

    8. Franck Montagny has been announced as the fifth ex-Formula 1 driver to enter the V8 Supercars’ Gold Coast 600. Montagny will partner Kelly Racing’s Karl Reindler in the #11 Fair Dinkum Sheds Commodore. Other former Formula 1 drivers on the grid include Sebastien Bourdais, who will once again partner Jamie Whincup at Team Vodafone; David Brabham, who will join Stone Brothers’ Racnig’s Tim Slade; Mika Salo, who will race alongside Will Davison at Ford Performance Racing for what he calls “unfinished business”; and Nick Heidfeld, who is making his V8 Supercars debut with Rod Nash Racing (The Bottle-O Racing) and David Reynolds. More ex-Formula 1 driver may also join the grid, as there are still twelve available seats for the race. However, Christian Klein and Jacques Villeneuve will not be appearing at Surfers’ Paradise, as they are entering in the regular season (Klein is with Russell Ingall for the endurance races, while Villeneuve is filling in for the injured Greg Murphy).

      1. Did David Brabham actually compete in F1 ?

        1. Yes, he did. His best result was tenth at the 1994 Spanish Grand Prix, when he drove for Simtek.

          1. Thanks, seasons I mostly missed.

        2. Yes he did, in 1990 for Brabham and in 1994 for Simtek.

    9. Maybe if ticket prices weren’t so ridiculously high, they would sell some more damn seats!

      1. +1 . The new podium looks good though.

      2. Exactly. A lot of Issues in F1 are very complicated. This however, is not.

        1. It is though. The fans are charged so much because the circuits are charged very large hosting fee’s for the priviledge of holding an F1 event. This money goes back into the sport to keep it at the level we’re used to.

          1. I think we all understand that. But how long will it stay at this level if approx 50 per cent of the seats are not filled??

            If you reduce the fees by a percentage amount that’s less than the empty seats then the odds are that you’d increase revenue every time. Sure it’s a slight risk, but isn’t there a risk with every business?

            Germany, off all places will be devastated with that attendance. For a country with a passion for F1 like they have, it’s a simple fix really.

          2. @andrewtanner, I wish you were right about the money going back into F1, unlike the USA model only about half goes back into F1 and the balance goes to to investors through CVC, a private capital partnership.

    10. I Love the Pope
      25th July 2012, 4:16

      Forgive me, but what is engine mapping? Does this have something to do with the exhausts?

      1. Just 2 cents. Reportedly the mapping used by RBR was lowering torque compared to others(?) – or flattening the torque- the effect of which is providing more spin-proof traction during cornering, or kind of engine generated traction control. Of course this is very skimpy understanding though but assuming it’s the case here and there’s at least more than 15 turns in every track, it may have huge potential to cause big lap time difference probably.

      2. Today’s cars are controller by computers.
        Engine mapping is altering a vehicle’s electronic control unit (ECU) to achieve superior performance, whether it be more power, cleaner emissions, or better Fuel efficiency.
        F1 engine mapping is used on a more radical level and can control how and when the engine fires and at what percentage, therefore changing the engines characteristics and the gasses emitted from it.

        1. I Love the Pope
          25th July 2012, 13:42


    11. Due to most of the revenue coming from everything else but tickets, they should be dirt cheap to attract most crowd just for good picture. With crowed sponsors will pay more and whole value of the circus will go up.

      1. @kimi4WDC As you say most of the revenue comes from everything else, FOM keep all that money from everything else and charge the circuit operators a $20-$50 million fee to host the race, that is why the seats are so expensive.

      2. You’ve hit the nail on the head. Did you ever watch an NRL game and wonder about all of the empty seats? Its a bad look.

    12. So the engine maps of Red Bull are also likely to be found to be contrary to the intention of the regulations. With the earlier exploitations in the season by Red Bull of certain “loopholes” in the regulations, i can’t help but wonder what else on that car also fits this category that you don’t yet know about (or may never find out about for that matter).

      1. As has been said so many times before, there is no rule that requires teams to follow the spirit or intention. RBR did not break the rules, they interpreted a poorly written one, as other teams would surely do if they saw the opportunity. The question could easily be asked: which other teams have identified a poorly written rule, are currently exploiting it and have not been “found out”?

        1. I agree, Redbull are not breaking any rules, they are simply getting the most out of a situation. It happens year in, year out. Remember the start of the year Mercedes DRS system was considering by some as illegal and investigated time and time again. F1 is about pushing boundaries.

    13. Talking about Massa,I’m getting sad,because when he lost the title,i knew he would come back and fight for it like a lion,but with alonsos arrival,it seems like they have simply killed him,they did it with Massa,what they couldn’t do to Barrichello. I think,what massa should do,is pull down his pants,and show others that he has some balls and I know he can drive the hell out of that freakin’ ferrari,but he just can’t get the right mindset for that or smth. That’s what’s up for last 3 years now. I wonder what would be Alfonso’s reaction if Massa,one race,stood on the podium in front of him.

      1. Honestly, I think Alonso would be really happy for him.

        1. Because it’d be a one-off. Alonso’s mentality wouldn’t change unless Massa started beating him consistently, while Massa would hugely gain benefit from one perfect race.

    14. Looking back at their season, I have to wonder whether Red Bull chose these engine maps for their rudimentary traction control properties rather than generating more downforce. Back when Mark Webber was out-performing Vettel, Vettel seemed to have some wheelspin issues that the team got on top of, but this seems to coincide with the talk of illegal throttle mapping. I imagine that the pseudo-traction control would not only cut out wheelspin, but it would also limit tyre degradation.

      1. @prisoner-monkeys, welcome to the club.

    15. 49% occupation rate at Hockenheim is bad news. How much is average grandstands price? Something is wrong with F1 and decision-makers must act. It cannot be sustainable when only drivers and few teams are financially happy. Circuit owners and the rest of paddock should get properly paid too, if they’re there to loose money maybe the whole system should be rebuilt around less teams and eventually less circuits. FOM’s price tag, I think, is crowding out the rest of the stakeholders.

      1. As true as it has to be in the economy. Less than 50% occupancy rate is not at all surprising considering current situation around the world IMHO. In the end, things fall into how the wealth or money is distributed among the players and attendants. More asymmetric or concentrated, the prospect gets gloomier and sustainability falls dramatically just like tyre wear at the end of its duration. I suspect total teams in F1 shall be reduced in a couple years.

        1. @leotef It’s all down to pricing model right? One should know that during bad times those supplying goods and services should cut their margins (if there’s any) and try profit (again, if there’s any) from quantity.

      2. Interesting enough I read an article today where Hockenheim’s boss was quoted saying that at the current occupancy rate the track is breaking-even. Good job at least on that aspect then, although I am pretty sure that is only after the government takes on (a big part of) the FOM fee.

    16. I think that Ferrari’s assumed loyalty to Massa is not the reason why he is still with the team, at least not the main reason. It’s rather a combination between circumstances and Ferrari’s own shortcomings and preferences.

      The signs are that Ferrari have tried to replace Massa. According to some unofficial information, Kubica had already done some sort of agreement with the team so it’s likely he would be driving for them now if he was able to. This year Ferrari obviously tried to sign Webber but the latter decided to stay at RBR.

      I think that for different reasons Ferrari have not been able to hire the drivers they would want to. Some of them, like Webber, don’t enjoy the prospect of being Fernando’s number two. Some, like Hamilton, could potentially harm the harmony within the team and some others are simply not good enough [yet]. Moreover, it looks like Ferrari think long-term so they don’ t want to hire, let’s say, Glock for a few races without thinking about the future after that.

      Massa has been a very loyal team player, he loves the team and I think the team loves his personality as well, even if they are disappointed with his results. I imagine he’s quite good at giving feedback and helping to develop the car, too. While they cannot be happy about losing important points in the constructors’ championship, as long as they have Alonso, probably the most complete driver on the grid, and a harmonic team, they might be happy enough waiting for a good opportunity to hire a driver they want, not just someone they can.

    17. Three years ago today, Felipe Massa had his horrific crash in Hungary. Two years ago, he was told that “Fernando is faster” and let him through…

      1. Yes, three years ago today was Massa’s crash. A date I am not likely to forget… As at that very moment I was getting married!

    18. If Massa had scored just half of Alonso’s points.Ferrari will be leading both championships.Though in recent races he showed signs of improvement but luck seems not to be on his side.

    19. There’s a long running debate over whether Ferrari should persist with Massa, and I have chimed in with my views on other threads. It’s worth making the point, however, that this is not a matter of Ferrari either being loyal or not loyal to Massa. Whatever happens, they have already been remarkably loyal to him. In their long and distinguished history, only driver has driven more GPs for them (and that was Schumacher who as I recall also delivered a certain amount of success…) In fact, only 4 drivers have driven more GP for a single team than Massa’s 110 outings for Ferrari: Schumacher’s 180s drives for Ferrari, Coulthard’s 150 for McLaren, Jacques Laffite’s 132 for Ligier and Hakkinen’s 131 for McLaren.

    20. The perfect solution to Red Bull: they should use the clutch to disengage the drive from the engine, which would generate lots of hot exhaust gases, to achieve a blown diffuser effect. Then, for instance, out of a hairpin, they could have lots of traction.
      That could replace drivers having to lift slightly for corners, and could save fuel, as the driver can choose not to have this feature.,
      It could also be excellent at the start of a race as well.
      The clutch will need a bit of reinforcement, but that can be achieved, surely

      1. Comedy comment of the day ?

    21. I think the ECU debate is fascinating. I do think the tweaked rule is a good thing. Not all F1 teams have the luxury (or burden…) of producing their own engines so having the engine freeze in place at least makes for a good degree of competition up and down the field. It puts more emphasis on the aero and reliability expertise as well as countless other fields of knowledge and experience.

    22. It would be nice if we knew what the banned words were before we try to make a point, why not have a link to the “banned” lexicon for those of us with a sense of humour.

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