Renault, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

FIA will act if Renault uses engine modes to enhance blown rear wing

2018 F1 season

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The FIA will decide whether rules changes are required to prevent teams using blown rear wings of the type seen on Renault’s new RS18.

Race director Charlie Whiting said he doubted Renault has found a significant performance increase by directing exhaust gases to the rear wing. He said the FIA’s biggest concern was that the team is not using special engine maps to increase the effect.

“I think we’ve got to accept that there is and always has been some exhaust effect [on wings], said Whiting. “In 2012, 2013 it was massive, but we’ve chipped away at that and one of the things for the 2014 rules was to make sure there was no effect from the exhaust.”

“But there must be a little one. We’ll have to deal with that and we will see during the course of the year whether we need to do something to minimise that. The most important thing is that they are not doing anything silly, I believe, with the engine modes which is unnatural, shall we say.”

When the current V6 hybrid turbo regulations were introduced in 2014 the position of the exhaust was tightly limited to reduce the opportunity for teams to use exhaust gases to make their downforce-generating structures more powerful. However the change in the rear wing shape for last season created an opportunity which Renault is exploiting.

“We had a little concern about exhaust-blowing last year because of course with the wings becoming 150 millimetres lower than they were in 2016 there was more benefit to be gained there,” said Whiting. “That’s why we put the exhaust part in the middle, [specified a] minimum angle it could go, all those things.”

“But teams managed to build monkey seats and things like that which we managed to get rid of by changing the bodywork regulations. But there was still a little window of opportunity because you know what teams are like: if you take one thing away they will try to get 10 percent of what they had, but they will still do it

“There’s a maximum height for the pipes, 550 [millimetres]. So I think it is absolutely minimal what [Renault] will get from it. I don’t see any problem with it provided we are sure they are not operating their engine in a false mode, shall we call it, a mode which wouldn’t be normal.”

Renault said it has only found a “small gain” from the blown rear wing design.

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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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28 comments on “FIA will act if Renault uses engine modes to enhance blown rear wing”

  1. I’m surprised that we haven’t seen more angled upward exhausts before now. I remember the maximum angle being a feature of the regulations and was surprised to see them with an opening mostly perpendicular to the ground afterwards.

    I actually hope they figure out a way to take advantage of the engine mapping to benefit the blown wing outside of the FIA’s purview. I always thought that was a novel and intelligent engineering solution. If fueled cars are generating all this extra force through the exhaust, why shouldn’t they use it to help them stick to the track better?

    1. I agree, blown diffusers were banned due to costs. Nowadays there are rules that control those costs associated with fuel consumption and reliability, if Renault manages to take benefit from engine mapping and still be within those rules, good on them.

      F1 shouldn’t restrict innovation nor clever thinking, it is part of the appeal.

      1. @johnmilk

        if Renault manages to take benefit from engine mapping and still be within those rules, good on them.

        Agree completely. If they manage to make it work within the rules, then don’t amend rules to penalise them. There was no regulation regarding blown wings coupled with engine mapping, so why suddenly introduce it to cripple a team?

        Not sure about how much benefit Renault can get from this, but good on them if they make it work.

        1. @todfod they said it wasn’t much, but it was something and they felt that it was worth pursuing

          F1 has been like this for quite some time, innovation shouldn’t be restricted, this sort of rules are just moving the sport to a almost spec series, doesn’t make sense, some parts of the rule book should be scrapped of you ask me, some of the most brilliant minds when it comes to Motorsport are in the F1 paddock, and for some reason they can’t stretch their brains

    2. I think I’m one of the few people who actually liked the sound of the blown exhausts. I also like all the pops and whistles the hybrids make which we never get to hear on TV.

      1. Blown diffuser* of course.

      2. I liked that sound as well. All the pops, bangs and other sounds coming from the exhaust was just great:

        It had to go away because it was quite expensive and would have lead to quite complex designs but it sounded cool at least.

    3. It was a bit stupid to see that a team would sacrifice ideal engine performance and fuel consumption for the blown effect and that signifies how important aero is. You could say it was a bit like the “fan Brabham” or the Chaparral. Teams would still be doing it with the new PU’s, meaning that it gives more performance, more efficient gain of performance as it would give speed for the exhaust gas that would just be a waste of energy.

      1. Of it looks stupid but ot works, it ain’t stupid.

        I don’t remember affecting performance @peartree fuel consumption and reliability on the other hand

        1. @johnmilk Yep but it did, re-routing the exhaust and remapping had an effect on top power output, though as I pointed out, it was worth it. I called it stupid because an engine is there to make you go forward and to achieve aero performance, if the rules were to allow such devices, stick a fan or fans on the car like in the old days, go full on.

      2. It made the cars faster so there was no sacrifice.

  2. Simple, make the exhaust pipe(s) extend beyond the wing.

    1. SparkyAMG (@)
      14th March 2018, 16:29

      I’m not an aero guy, but even ‘blowing’ the area behind the rear wing would have some benefit to wing + diffuser performance as it help clean up an otherwise messy and turbulent area.

      I can understand the original ban on off-throttle blowing but I am otherwise all for blowing bodywork. If the exhaust has to exit somewhere, it may as well be somewhere that’s going to benefit aero performance.

  3. I really don’t know why they need to police these things, the regs make sure that the current blown set up is only producing minimal gains so why crack down on it? It’s like they don’t want the teams to innovate.

  4. F1 used to be about innovation now it’s all about regulation and that will eventually kill the sport. Just make it “box stock” issue everybody the same equipment identical and clone Lewis Hamilton. Pick who will win one race to the next having the DWC end in a 20 person tie.

  5. Not doing anything unnatural? Like perhaps combusting refined hydrocarbons, extracted from beneath the earth, in a chassis composed of weaved carbon and resin structures around a tarmac surface arranged in a loop that goes nowhere?

    They have a fuel limit and safety requirements. Let them do what they want within those boundaries for god’s sake.

    1. Totally agree.

      Give teams a maximum they can spend. Give them some safety requirements, give them a fixed amount of fuel and specify the max and minimum sizes the car can be. Then let them design the hell out of those things!

      1. If they could just snap their fingers and give them a maximum they can spend, and be able to police that, they would have by now. It’s amongst the biggest issues in F1, as we all know.

        1. @robbie

          Yeah, budget limits just aren’t going to happen. We’re lucky F1 somehow attracts 4 manufacturers and 6 more privateer teams.

          And we’ve been spoiled in the past when someone like Cosworth could come along with a game changer for the privateers.

  6. Renault should probably redact the interview done as part of Ted’s Notebook during testing, where they suggested a return to off throttle blowing would be achieved through mapping during the season…

    1. Yes. It all fell apart for Renault when Ted mentioned it. Damn you Ted!

  7. The FIA makes a really good case for a worldwide ban on sanctioned motor racing.

  8. Renault have been doing this for nearly a decade, and now with Marcin Budkowski in charge I highly doubt that the FIA can do anything to stop them from exploiting their clever blown wing solution since the FIA inspection methods of the recent years were put by Budkowski himself.

  9. Innovation is good but special enginemappings for specific aero parts only found on the Renault cars aint good for engine parity.

  10. Sooo they’re worried about specific engine modes giving a team an unfair advantage? Okay…

    1. Easy my friend, they do nothing to Mercedes on engine modes thing..

  11. I guess I could play devils advocate a bit here then. Off-throttle exhausting was curtailed because it was harming engine reliability and fuel consumption and that was not the direction they wanted to go. With said harm they didn’t want to see costs escalate while teams tried to innovate for better reliability and fuel consumption while doing the exhaust blowing.

    It’s really the same issue that exists for many aspects of F1…finding a balance between innovation freedom, and escalating costs, the concern being we don’t want it too spec, but not too expensive.

    For me with this specific issue I agree with the curtailment of special engine mapping at this point in time. They’ve made huge strides in reliability as teams are using way fewer engines over a season compared to the past, and obviously fuel consumption is incredibly improved, so why go against that now for very minimal gain for all the money the teams could spend, just because the have teams have it.

    The special quali modes Mercedes has, and other teams have to a lesser degree it seems, are not sustainable modes if one wants reliability, but engine mapping for off-throttle exhaust blowing would be on all the time, so they’d have to spend big to adjust for that…and for such a minimal gain I’d rather see them not bother, or be forced not to bother, in this specific area.

    I’m not sure what kind of wake off-throttle exhaust blowing creates, but that concept aside I do hope that in general the new regs for 2021 are meant to diminish wake amongst the many other things I’m sure are in the works for the near future.

  12. Ah those “silly” teams trying to go faster and faster. Cant have that!

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