FIA responds to Red Bull with new engine map rule

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: The FIA introduces new rules aimed at stopping Red Bull from using the same engine maps they had in Hockenheim.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

F1 imposes Red Bull rule change (BBC)

“The FIA has attempted to close the loophole with a new rule that asks teams to nominate any one engine map used in the first four races of the season as a “reference” map.”

Decoding the Red Bull engine map controversy (Sky)

“By using the map to retard the ignition at key points, it is possible to have the engine produce less torque than it is capable of in chosen parts of the rev range. This is what Red Bull’s Hockenheim map was doing.”

Perez will not push Ferrari for a seat (Autosport)

“It’s not [something] that I will push. I have to see what the options are and then I will decide. If there is an opportunity with them [Ferrari] or another team then that is the time to know.”

The Concorde Agreement (Joe Saward)

“No-one seems to be making any decisions until it is clear what is going to happen with Bernie Ecclestone. His staff insisted up until Saturday night that he was going to be in Germany, but he did not show up and while he does miss quite a few races these days, this one appears to be rather more significant.”

Waxworks, schoolboys and marbles (ESPN)

“The Toro Rosso team were wheeling the car back from scrutineering and they deserted the car in the pit lane when it started chucking it down.”

Red Bull: Going too far? (Grand Prix)

“The replay of the Hamilton overtake showed the positioning of the Red Bull and McLaren to be identical to the controversial moment with Button a few laps later. The difference this time was that Vettel, instead of running off the road at the exit, ducked inside and got alongside Hamilton, only for the superior grip from the fresh Pirellis to shoot the McLaren forward. Button, as Horner pointed out earlier, was struggling. Had Vettel tried a repeat of the inside line, he might have stood a better chance. Certainly a more legitimate one.”

Stewart vs Jenkinson: safety in motor sport (MotorSport)

“Now, 40 years later, it’s easy to judge. Jackie [Stewart] was, of course, right. But we have to remember the context of the times. Life was as valued as it is today, but the acceptance that death was a price racing drivers should almost expect to pay was a deep-rooted attitude that divided a tough sporting world. To some extent, it always will.”

Comment of the day

James Brickles has an alternative plan for slowing down drivers who go off the track:

If I recall, didn’t Snetterton use long stalks of corn as a means of slowing the cars down when they go flying off the track?
James Brickles

From the forum

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On this day in F1

The 1992 German Grand Prix was another win for Nigel Mansell but he had to work for it, passing Ayrton Senna after pitting. Mansell accomplished this by cutting across a chicane in a manner which certainly would not be tolerated today.

Senna got ahead of the Williams pair by not stopping for fresh tyres. Riccardo Patrese spun out trying to pass Senna for second place on the last lap, promoting Michael Schumacher onto the podium in his first home race.

Here’s the battle between Senna and Patrese:

Image © Red Bull/Getty images

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40 comments on “FIA responds to Red Bull with new engine map rule”

  1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
    26th July 2012, 0:36

    Didn’t the FIA do this earlier in the year with the slots in the floors? Seems like a recurring trend to let it race, and then after the race and only then, declare it illegal. I gave RBR a pass the first time around, but it seems like a recurring issue with RBR always flirting with the boundaries of the rule book, and FIA letting them race.

    1. jsw11984 (@jarred-walmsley)
      26th July 2012, 0:59

      Ah, but thats exactly what they should be doing, if it doesn’t contravene the rules as you say flirting with the boundaries. then the simple fact is it is legal, therefore it should be allowed to race, if the FIA decides that it actually should be illegal they can only introduce that rule after the race.

    2. So Red Bull get the advantage and prevent others from copying. Seb’s silly overtake kinda ruined any advantage though.

      1. @spinmastermic Welcome to Formula 1 ;)

    3. it seems like a recurring issue with RBR always flirting with the boundaries of the rule book,

      If there’s any team out there that isn’t doing this, they need to hire some new people.

    4. @braketurnaccelerate well, pushing the limits is part of racing. If you want to win, you have to cut it thin, right on the edge of what’s legally possible, just like they have to be right on the edge of what’s technically and physcally possible.

      We have to be thankful that FIA found about this quick enough and they are already on their way to change it. In the past, we’ve seen worse examples. The mass-damper comes to my mind, declared illegal a year after Renault first used it. Same with the Michelin tyres in 2003.

    5. Normally the team who push the boundaries the most frequently are the best team and as the previous 3 or so years have proven that is Red Bull.

    6. I think the FIA want a very exiting and close 2012 season so when red bull run away with the title, the FIA ban the advantage they get. They banned the floor holes, engine mapping and what about doubke DRS for mercedes? No because they didn’t run away from the title. They also banned the blown diffuser that Red Bull mastered. What next?!

      1. who's better who's best
        26th July 2012, 20:09

        You must be watching a different championship to me, I didn’t see redbull run away anywhere, 2nd is the most they could have come and that was a close run thing. If it were not for park ferme rules I would be writting how I thought RBR didn’t run with it to discise the benefits before fia made a decision.

        That aside I see it like this…

        Just like movable aero parts we all know artificial blowing of the diffuser is banned. When lotus invented an anti-dive system that helped brakeing stability the fia declared legal. When it was announced this system would allow them to run the car lower thus gain an areo advantage the system was banned under the heading movable areo device.

        There was no rule saying you could not put the parts they made in the places they put them but it did contravene the rules, there is no difference to the situation we find ourselves in here

    7. it seems like a recurring issue with RBR always flirting with the boundaries of the rule book

      Not so much flirting as blatantly propositioning the boundaries after slipping rohypnol into its drink. I appreciate that they’re doing what every other team does, but it’s getting old.

  2. this gives Ferrari’s pole position in the wet big value as not even with ‘legal’ traction control could they wrest pole off Alonso…in the wet. Worrying times for RBR

  3. It’s like a chess game with Newey while the FIA are tightening one loophole he is exploiting the next loophole. It’s only cheating if you get caught.

    1. Brilliant Newey!!!

    2. Newey does engine mapping too? If so, his genius is even more respectable…

    3. @rocky You wouldn’t want to play monopoly against him, would you…

  4. Great video from 1992! Wish the cars were like this today! :(

  5. Watching that old footage (and others like it in the last few weeks) I am struck by a couple of things:

    1. The footage follows the action, and sticks with it, even through some of the less eventful moments. This helps to build suspense, and makes the action when it occurs more eventful. I knew what happened in the Senna/Patrese video, but I was still on the edge of my seat (I know the video was edited, but it wasn’t like FOM’s current MTV style editing)

    2. The commentators let each other talk without interruption, and if they didn’t have anything to say, they let the sound of the engine fill the space. What is the point of having the greatest sounding engines if all you hear is some idiot bleating all the time.

    1. I actually prefer the current directing style of going where the action is.
      The biggest problem with broadcasting back then was that the directors just stuck with the leaders so when there was a great fight going on further down the field you never saw it.
      If you watch the full race broadcast posted further down in the comments, the director pretty much always just sticks with the leaders even if there not close to each other & even if something else could be going on elsewhere.

      The current FOM style does jump around more but only because its showing the action all through the field rather than just sticking with 1 group of cars all day like the local host directors used to.

  6. I think the current position of clarification once a loophole has been exposed is the correct way to handle this, compared to the previous FIA dictatorship of disqualification and ‘don’t even think about appealing or we’ll double the punishment’. The sport is constantly evolving and with designers of the calibre of Newey (who is not alone in seeking to maximise the opportunities available in the technical regs – F ducts or double diffusers for example) the FIA will always be on the back foot trying to proscribe every minute detail of every regulation.
    By recognising this and issuing a technical directive to clarify their position prior to the next race the FIA avoids the farcical and confusing situation of revised race results, teams racing under appeal or teams being disqualified from the race, but is still able to minimise the advantage gained by borderline developments. I would rather have the situation we have just had unfold than to have watched the German GP take place either without the Red Bull drivers or with them starting from the pitlane, even though that would have benefitted my favorite drivers. Compared to the ridiculous egotistical sabre rattling and power games of the ‘old’ FIA I think this approach does a much better job of preserving the integrity of a very complex and technical sport. It also still allows designers and engineers to push the boundaries of innovation and the regulations, while the FIA via the TWG are able to rule on these developments in a reasoned and timely fashion.

  7. Adrian Newey must be a genius cause the FIA have to keep changing the rules to stop his designs running away with it.

    RBR can’t be the only ones pushing the rules, it just seems people pay more attention to them. Mercedes were under the spotlight earlier in the season but it seems that is all forgotten now. Also lotus are experimenting with a double diffuser system now it seems.

    Surely the nature of motorsport is that you maximise the rules in your favour as much as possible to gain an advantage and when challenged you either win or loose the argument but move onto the next bit of kit. If all the cars were exactly the same it wouldn’t be so exciting, we would get to see once and for all exactly what the drivers were made of though!

    I don’t believe that the new rule will finish RBR off though, surely they have a back up plan.

    1. You do realise Newey is an aerodynamicist and this engine thing has zero to do with him?

  8. i’m not sure what to make of the “1 of the first 4 as a reference” decision, since those may not be free of some manipulation. i guess it’s all they have to work with. i certainly don’t envy the position the rules makers are in this week.

    1) driver aides, and virtual driver aides like this, must be prohibited
    2) the rules are being circumvented by a means that is totally natural to the machine (engine tuning)
    3) how the hell does a governing body allow for any engine development at all when this type of trickery is the inevitable result?

  9. Murray says in the video there that “Mansell equals Ayrton Senna’s record”. Which record is that?

    1. wins in a year?

      1. @me262 Ah, that was it… Thanks!

  10. Great images from Sutton’s lens over the weekend, if you skipped passed it in the update, here’s the link again

  11. Good article from Sky regarding the ECU. It’s explained brilliantly, but more than that it’s actually telling people this is what F1 is all about! Hopefully it will educate people as to why you can’t punish a team for not breaking the rules. The goalposts are constantly moving and that’s one of the reasons I love this sport so much.

  12. People often talk about the brilliance of Adrian Newey when Red Bull seem to come up with something new. Don’t forget though, that Newey is part of a large design team, with engineers and aerodynamicists all giving their input and refining the design. Not to mention in this case, the engineers working at Renault who will have done the bench mapping of the engine in order to make it work. While I’m sure Newey has a hand in most things which happen with the car, it’s important not to overlook the fact that there’s a whole team of people who all deserve just as much acclaim when it comes to the performance of the car on track and the various design innovations which facilitate it.

  13. Its certainly worth reading the whole Stewart Vs Jenkinson article in motorsport magazine. Really shows how divided the sport was on safety

  14. I may have missed something, but what everybody says is a loophole will be closed before the Hungarian Grand Prix? How do they expect to accomplish that? If a reference map from the first 4 GP’s must be submitted, then surely they don’t expect RBR or any other team to do this in retrospect? So that would mean the loophole will be closed next year, not next weekend. Unless, as I’ve said I missed something

    1. They know that the teams were all using compliant maps at the start of the season, so each team must revert to one of these maps from this weekend onwards.

    2. Woah – does this affect all the teams, then? That could compromise the performance of a few cars. I bet none of them are using the same exhausts and bodywork as the first four races any more. The Jo Bauer statement (and Mark Hughes’s article) only mention Red Bull.

      1. Every team has been working to maximise the performance of the blown diffusor/rear bodywork, so I’d expect most teams will have optimised their maps for that. Although clearly Red Bull had the most extreme version, with figures of around 30% less mid range torque being mentioned. The new restriction is +/-2% torque from the reference map (one nominated from the first four races before anyone started messing around with it) so I suspect this will affect more than just Red Bull. The rule certainly applies to everyone, not just them.

  15. here’s the pass made by Mansell

      1. No way would a driver get away with that these days! And quite right too.

  16. RBR need exhaust feed diffuser to succeed as their cars based on that concept and all they do is to try and find a hole in the regulations by playing word games. As much as their car design the engine they had is the best one for feeding diffuser with exhaust gases. On the other hand for this season FIA introduced some new regulation just to prevent use of exhaust gases for diffuser feeding. I think RBR is forcing his chance by messing with new regulations. The next time they may not escape with just a soft warning as FIA is not a consistent organization in its judgments.

  17. Seems like RBR is gonna keep throwing time & money @ trying to replicate the blown diffuser effect. Never mind the fact that Webber isn’t too keen on the concept & that he’s had the measure of Vettel so far this season. It seems Vettel only truly excels when his car has something bordering on illegal giving him the kind of downforce nobody else on the grid (not even his team mate) has.

  18. i find it most interesting that the engine mapping is to do with an ecu created by “Mclaren”. Every team uses it, but Rebull seem to be smarter then even mclaren themselves with their own device.

  19. Webber must be breathing a huge sigh of relief that yet another EBD development is nixed after only costing him performance in one race – else it might ended up being a repeat of 2011

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