FIA rules out Williams and Caterham exhausts

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Williams FW35, 2013In the round-up: The FIA tells Williams and Caterham to change their exhaust designs.


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Williams, Caterham exhausts ‘illegal’ (Autosport)

“The Williams team has confirmed that the FIA approached it on Tuesday morning to express its view that the design, along with that of Caterham, is illegal.”

Lotus hope for easier Day Two (Sky)

James Allison: “It was a bit of a frustrating day as we were confined to doing two lap runs by a telemetry system which would only work sporadically.”


Comment of the day

Adam Kibbey has cause for optimism about Mercedes’ progress.

I know that testing isn?t going to give us a reliable indication of how the cars are going to perform in the season because of various factors, however I am reassured that the Mercedes seems to be on par with the rest of field.

I think Hamilton is going to do very well this season, as his past record seems to indicate that he is able to get some serious speed out of a car that isn?t the best on the grid.

As long as the Mercedes isn?t too far of the pace of the front-runner, I think Hamilton will be able to get himself on the podium more or less consistently and might even secure a couple of wins.
Adam Kibbey (@Kibblesworth)

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On this day in F1

Toyota engine developer Luca Marmorini branded the FIA’s plans for KERS as “primitive” five years ago today. Despite being the manufacturer of the Prius hybrid road car range, Toyota elected not to use a KERS hybrid engine on their last F1 car in 2009.

They have since returned to sports car racing, where the hybrid engine packages are more powerful and sophisticated.

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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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  • 50 comments on “FIA rules out Williams and Caterham exhausts”

    1. Lotus do seem to be rather strong at the moment but I’m not making any judgments until the first couple of races

      1. I’m going to make millions of rash, subjective, and harsh judgements based on someone else’s comments on a twitter picture.

        Why break a winning formula, I hear you say!

    2. What do you guys do in the press room? is there TVs with the laptimes and that’s it?

      Maybe catering?… and girls?… and… no wait, that’d be a dream come true.

      1. I’m also interested in this. Keith, could you maybe make a picture of what the press room actually looks like?

        1. thatscienceguy
          20th February 2013, 8:32

          I haven’t been in an F1 press room but i have been on the press for a major racing event before. Its generally a drinks fridge, some food (sandwiches, woohoo), some screens with live timing, some screens with video coverge, a screen with messages from race control. Otherwise it just tables with power points and internet cables.

          1. I had a press pass for Santa Pod one Saturday (via a photography mag). The press room was as outlined by thatscienceguy above, but without the screens. In fact, it was just coffee, tea, tables and power points. It was very far from the F1 “wall of totty” vibe!

    3. Toyota engine developer Luca Marmorini branded the FIA’s plans for KERS as “primitive” five years ago today. Despite being the manufacturer of the Prius hybrid road car range, Toyota elected not to use a KERS hybrid engine on their last F1 car in 2009.

      If ever there was a case of politics getting in the way of progress, this was it. Toyota obviously couldn’t use KERS because they had been developing other hybrid technologies with the Prius – even though KERS was a much more sophisticated system that the hybrid technology used in the Prius.

      The problem with the Prius was that it was obviously envionrmental. It wasn’t a car that was sold to people who wanted to “do their part” to save the envionrment; rather, it was sold to people who wanted to be seen “doing their part”. The hybrid system it used was always presented in simple terms to make it look like a trained monkey could have come up with it. KERS, on the other hand, was nowhere near as obvious in its envionrmentally-friendly aspects, and much harder to present in a simplistic manner that made it as easy to understand than the Prius hybrid. So for Toyota to use it would have been an admission that KERS was better than the systems that they had just sunk millions of dollars into developing, whilst taking away one of the Prius’ major selling points: the perception of social responsibility that went with owning one.

      1. @prisoner-monkey well 70% of the teams saw no real benefit on using the system, it was deemed too complicated and everyone bar 2 teams were not using it at the end of the season.

        That surely means something. Either KERS wasn’t powerful enough, or the technology was not there, or maybe it was too restricted, or maybe the regulations didn’t allow the teams to truly benefit from it.

        I agree with your views about the Prius, though !

        1. Don’t ever buy a prius thinking your “doing your bit for the environment” the batteries and processes used to produce a prius create more damage to the environment then keeping an old gas guzzling., 5 litre petrol going

          1. Oh, I’m aware of that. But that’s what the public perceived the car when it was first launched, and Toyota were happy to take advantage of it in their marketing.

            1. Gentlemen, I’ve owned some real drivers’ cars such as a Jaguar E Type and a Miata, but have driven a Prius for the last nine years and it’s hands down the best vehicle I’ve owned. I most certainly did NOT buy it for image. Do you think the solar panels on my roof are there for neighbors to see too? Good grief, they are installed to be invisible from anywhere but my own roof. I’m an engineer and I love cars, and motor sports of course. But while the Prius certainly has no sporting aspirations, it succeeds admirably at what it proposed to do, which was to reduce emissions. I am still in my forties yet that’s old enough to have seen unmistakable climate change in my lifetime, and this is a matter of conscience, not appearance. This little car is a mechanical jewel and you will be very hard pressed to find another with as loyal a following.

            2. Apart from Hybrids creating a lot of smug, i do like their song…

            3. Drop Valencia!
              20th February 2013, 3:32

              Alec, the Civic hybrid was/is better in just about every way but doesn’t look like an enviro wet dream, so flopped. If Prius looked like an Echo it would have flopped too. Hats off to Toyota for getting the new tech out there.

            4. @Alec, surely a better investment would be an Auris or one of Toyota’s other hybrids, rather than the hideous looking, cheaply made and over-priced Prius?

              Frankly, the fact it’s been so successful as a celebrity must-have means the technology cost has been reduced down to make it affordable for their super-minis.

            5. @alec, my question is “what about the battery life” have yours lasted the whole 9 years and if not what was replacement cost? I assume they are wholly recyclable ?

            6. Yes, it’s running on the original battery pack and I haven’t noticed any degradation so far. It just passed 100,000 miles, which is the factory warranty for the batteries. People often assume the battery pack is huge, but we’re talking less than 50kg of batteries because they are only used as a sort of energy spring, storing energy recovered during braking or running down hill and giving it back moments later during acceleration or climbing. Other than for routine maintenance, in nine years and 100,000 miles this car has only visited a mechanic once, for a water pump replacement.

        2. Most didn’t run it in 2009 because most didn’t have KERS systems that were ready to use.

          McLaren/Mercedes had the best system & the biggest reason for that was because they were getting it from Zytec who had been developing Hybrid technology for Le Mans since 1997. Other teams/manufacturer’s were having to start from scratch while McLaren/Mercedes were simply having to develop/adapt existing hybrid technology they were getting straght from Zytec.

          1. Does F1 really want to be seen as a “green” sport? Does F1 have a social obligation to do so? Even if it did, there would be no difference as it would merely be a PR stunt. The carbon footprint of F1 has been widely debated over the years. The fact is, with nature of the sport, any green initiative that is dreamed up will still not be able to offset the significant carbon footprint produced by the flying circus.

            Is going to the V6 a more “green” approach? No. Its is done so to be more relevant to the road car industry. If F1 was really intersted to become greener, perhaps it should encouraged teams to explored alternate fuels. Diesel would have been the realistic step, perhaps even a biofuel of some sort.

            This would never work. Ferrari would never accept it, because it adds no value to their business. And youc an be sure that they will wield their political might to ensure such thoughts would never get off the ground.

            The 2014 Engine-ERS configuration probably has a greener feel to it. Lower capacity engines couple with turbo boost and ERS to produce same power as the current specifications. Still, F1 is hardly the hotbed for testing of future “green” tech, Le Mans appears to be more in tune with that…and frankly, I dont think it cares.

            1. If it’s more relevant to road cars, there’s a greater chance of cross-pollination because of the parity with the spec of F1 (and LMP) engines.

              Road cars are making massive in-roads into efficiency and reducing emissions but still offering the same or improved performance (in the form of turbos and larger, lower-revving engines) and if even 5% of those improvements can be used on an F1 car then it’s worthwhile.

              Even Ferrari are interested in making their engines more efficient and social/environmentally relevant – it saves them money, makes their cars cheaper to run and more (heh) popular. They just didn’t want to move to a straight 4-pot because it wouldn’t work with their car design ethos.

              Also, F1 fuel is already part-biofuel.

            2. Oh yeah I saw an advert on sky for monster trucks the other day ,they consume 70gpm that’s 70 gallons per mile!!!! And they were saying this to promote the sport! F1 is very “green” in comparison

            3. @jaymenon10

              Diesel?!?!?! REALLY?? Hush your mouth. These are race CARS, not race SHIPS or race TRAINS. Real Cars dont use diesel… ;-)

      2. To be honest @prisoner-monkeys, the only thing really wrong with the prius hybrid system is, that its a hybrid. But given that fully electrical cars are not yet a good option, the Prius (and similar cars) are doing what they are meant to do. They are most effective when used at start-stop traffic in agglomerations.

        Using an electrical engine as a “boost” for several seconds a lap, and allowing only a very little amount of both harvesting and usage, lower than current technology would permit, made KERS a gimmick (or at best, a teaser for what was to come) in any case. Just look how well Red Bull did with no KERS, and then a limited KERS system. Compared to what was possible KERS was no real challenge, even if it did give teams trouble to successfully adapt it for F1 racing.
        Using the harvested energy to automatically help acceleration where needed, instead of a boost button just makes so much more sense.

        1. We don’t honestly know if Red Bull are running a cut-down KERS or not.

          1. I was not talking about now, but when they first used it (remember they took it off in some races) they confirmed that their capacity was less than what the rules allowed @optimaximal.
            They never went into detail of that being by design, or just from lack of other options on where to put batteries though.

    4. It’s a shame both the Williams and Caterham are illegal. Hopefully they can find some other loophole in the regulations. But, rules are rules I suppose.

      1. I wonder if they have a backup ready, or they’ll just have to make do with this for the test?

      2. I believe the rule in question has existed for some time, so it’s not like either team were caught unawares by it. They simply interpreted the rule one way, only to be told that it was illegal.

        1. Which makes me think that they will have already had an alternative design in the works. Probably, hopefully, not a huge deal.

      3. @craig-o

        If it was Red Bull, it would have probably raced in the first few races, racked up some points, and only then declared illegal, while the results would stand.

      4. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
        20th February 2013, 1:59

        Tbh i can sympathise with williams but the caterham was so obviously illegal i wonder why they even bothered.

        1. Beats me how it’s obvious

          5.8 Exhaust systems :
          5.8.1 With the exception of incidental leakage through exhaust joints (either into or out of the system), no fluids, other than those which emerge from the engine exhaust ports, may be admitted into the engine exhaust system.
          5.8.2 Engine exhaust systems may incorporate no more than two exits, both of which must be rearward facing tailpipes, through which all exhaust gases must pass.
          5.8.3 The last 100mm of any tailpipe must in its entirety :
          a) Form a thin‐walled unobstructed right circular cylinder whose internal diameter is no greater than 75mm with its axis at +/‐10° to the car centre line when viewed from above
          the car and between +10° and +30° (tail‐up) to the reference plane when viewed from the side of the car. The entire circumference of the exit should lie on a single plane normal to the tailpipe axis and be located at the rearmost extremity of the last 100mm of the tailpipe.
          b) Be located between 250mm and 600mm above the reference plane.
          c) Be located between 200mm and 500mm from the car centre line.
          d) Be positioned in order that the entire circumference of the exit of the tailpipe lies between two vertical planes normal to the car centre line and which lie 500mm and 1200mm forward of the rear wheel centre line.
          5.8.4 Once the exhaust tailpipes, the bodywork required by Article 3.8.4 and any apertures permitted by Article 3.8.5 have been fully defined there must be no bodywork lying within a right circular truncated cone which :
          a) Shares a common axis with that of the last 100mm of the tailpipe.
          b) Has a forward diameter equal to that of each exhaust exit.
          c) Starts at the exit of the tailpipe and extends rearwards as far as the rear wheel centre line.
          d) Has a half‐cone angle of 3° such that the cone has its larger diameter at the rear wheel centre line.
          Furthermore, there must be a view from above, the side, or any intermediate angle perpendicular to the car centre line, from which the truncated cone is not obscured by any
          bodywork lying more than 50mm forward of the rear wheel centre line.

          1. The piece directing the exhaust towards the diffuser is a second opening, which increases the total exhaust openings to four. If they claim that that isn’t an exhaust opening, it’s clearly a piece of bodywork that’s more than 50 mm forward of the wheel’s center line, so I don’t see any way to spin it as legal. I don’t even see why Williams bothered trying.

            1. I don’t see any way to spin it as legal. I don’t even see why Williams bothered trying.

              Because there was always the chance that they could convince the FIA that it was legal by way of some loophole or other.

            2. I wonder if it would of been banned if RBR did it or they would of been told to adapt it after a few races like their other loop hole designs.

              just saying :)

            3. I don’t understand your point – Red Bull had an exhaust design banned during pre-season testing last year as well.

          2. If memory serves me that was banned before it was run or put on the car.

            But memory is hazy

    5. Looking at the Williams and Caterham exhausts I’m reminded of the Red Bull flexi wings. Although the vanes may be outside the cone for excluding bodywork behind the exhuast, they are clearly against the spirit of the rules. We all know what the FIA and stewards did about the flexi wings though don’t we…

      1. I’m reminded of the Red Bull flexi wings … We all know what the FIA and stewards did about the flexi wings though don’t we…

        The same they did in relation to the flexi wings used by McLaren, and other teams.

        1. McLaren and the others were pretty much forced to develop flexi wings because the FIA let RB get away with it. But that wasnt the point of my post. The point was that the FIA seem to like to pick and choose who and what they crack down on.

          1. Yea right, Redbull can break the rules all they want, and the FIA won’t even care. The fact that the OBD was banned mid 2011 (Silverstone) had nothing to do with Redbull.

            1. …..nothing was banned at Silverstone 2011……RB were only told to change their off-throttle engine mapping…

    6. The William’s car shoud show on the side “#ImNOTSexyAndIKnowIt ” :P

      1. And yet ironically, it’s still better-looking than the Lotus, if only because it doesn’t have a stepped nose.

    7. The exhaust ban by FIA is very much in line with what rule says. Clearly nothing can come on top of the exhaust to gain aero effect is what the rules state in no uncertain terms. This case is not like double diffuser, exhaust blown diffusers, f-duct, flexi wings & double DRS… where FIA did not any rules till these things started propping up.

      1. @dev I agree. It is pretty blatant and obviously Williams have been taking inspiration from Red Bull’s RB8 floor slots!

    8. Wow my first COTD, thanks Keith!

      Pity that Caterham’s exhaust, in particular, has been ruled illegal. They are already seem to be of the pace of the mid-field, let alone the front runners, so this certainly isn’t going to help them catch up with everyone else, let alone help them in their battle against Marrussia. Looking forwards to 2014, where we will hopefully see more innovation permitted.

    9. I am a big Raikkonen fan but seriously whoever is running the Lotus twitter feed needs to pack it in, it is just cringeworthy and milking the same jokes over and over again. Seems like they’ve been taking lessons from the David Brent school of comedy.

    10. Interesting, seems Kubica chose to go for rally instead of DTM, even when Mercedes had wanted him to

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