Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

Smoky Ferraris not a concern for FIA

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: The FIA doesn’t have any concerns yet about the unusual amount of smoke the new Ferrari has produced in testing.

What they’re saying

The plumes of smoke appearing from the rear of the Ferraris attracted a lot of comment during pre-season testing. However FIA race director Charlie Whiting doesn’t believe it’s a cause for concern. Here’s what he said in an interview RaceFans was present at yesterday:

We see it quite often, we saw it a lot with the Toro Rosso last year. We think that’s just oil getting into the turbo through the seals. It’s not doing it on the track.

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Comment of the day

How should F1 handle drivers who refuse to hand back places they gained by going off-track?

If you gain a place illegally and don’t give your place back voluntarily without prompting frrom the officials, the stewards should demote you a place at the end of the race whatever happens. It really is that simple. The drivers can be accountable for their own actions and effectively rewarded for honesty.

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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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35 comments on “Smoky Ferraris not a concern for FIA”

  1. Where there is smoke, there is a oil burning engine.

    1. So who should get fired.??
      I don’t recall Smokey liking Ferraris.

    2. It’s like Whiting has too much good faith. The rules say explicitly that oil can’t be burned for performance, and coolant can’t be used to energize aswell. The 0,6/100km avg can and will be exploited. Since Whiting has vowed to check after qualifying, I trust that no one will burn over the 0.6l/100km avg figure but they will when they need to, and then manage it to conform at the end of the q session or race. Maybe the’ll find something new to burn, or energize, maybe not right now but eventually.

    3. Actually, if oil is used as a fuel, you won’t see smoke, since these engines are, like diesel engines (extreme) lean burn. A small bit of oil burnt at high temperatures will generate a bit of soot, but you won’t see smoke.
      Oil leakage (in the turbocharger, cylinder heads or via piston rings) on the other hand, generates the smoke, since the oil gets collected and gets burnt without sufficient oxygen contact. This happens a lot after longer periods of idling, due to the high vacuum / pressure delta to motor carter when the exhaust flow drops.

    4. but would it be a concern if it wasn’t a Ferrari?

  2. The problem with comment of the day’s idea is that it may still benefit to overtake a slow car illegally if it means gaining two or more extra positions by the end of the race, in exactly the same way it’s worth taking the 5 second penalty currently. And the driver who was illegally overtaken still loses the position.

    Furthermore it requires yet another new rule which is really not what F1 needs. Currently the best solution is the drive through; it’s served instantly, guaranteed to be effective, and it doesn’t require any major changes to the rule book

    1. @strontium Yes, I agree, cotd was a bit short sighted, even the drive through idea is not perfect. When does getting completely crossed up and losing time maybe half spinning or having a spin is classified as a cut and warrant a drive through? what about avoiding an accident and in the process cut the track? It’s subjective and that we don’t want, it’s a shame a track like abu dhabi can’t have any deterrents off track.

      1. @peartree ”what about avoiding an accident and in the process cut the track?” – Still, though, that doesn’t justify an illegal overtaking move.

      2. @peartree The problem we talking about is not about cutting the track, but illegally gaining a position. Half spin or spinning is not a problem because they surely lost a lot of time already. Case in point: Hakkinen at Spa 2000 had his miraculous half spin save in wet and still overtaken by Schumacher when he has like 10s lead before. About evading an accident (like some of Max defendant’s claim), ultimately it’s still illegal pass and they need to give the position back per the rules. If you can’t pass someone while staying on track and without causing an accident then you don’t have the right to pass. It’s that simple.

        1. @jerejj Exactly what I was saying, not a perfect solution @sonicslv Say Monza first turn 3 or 4 cars go off, one spins on track, others half spin, a few go through the grass, multiple cars swap positions with one another, including the ones that spun and the ones that went through ex: grass, what do you do? Singapore last year, what do you do? It’s very common for someone to gain a position whilst avoiding other cars. If you do nothing in that scenario you’ll be judged when, and then when you do, how can you justify your decision when it’s purely subjective, if it was the track doing that for you, by having deterrents, this whole subject wouldn’t exist.

          1. @peartree I’m not sure I understand what your saying, so cmiiw: the scenario is there’s an accident involving one or multiple cars with spins, etc and cars behind (not directly involved in said accident) scatter around and outside the track limits to avoid it and in process they get shuffled? I think in those cases most of them is deemed legal because the one who lost position usually the ones who need to leave the track. Furthermore those accidents usually happened in first lap which is has more lenient exception to the rules. Of course if someone blatantly unfairly gaining advantage in the chaos, they will still be investigated, for example, going straight in Monza first turn instead of still trying to navigate the track. I think Mexico last year shows the example when even in first lap, multiple cars running outside track limit (with very good reason to avoid accident) and still being investigated by the stewards. Stewards decision won’t be accepted by everyone, but believe me even in ideal track where it can do its own policing, some people will always complaining that something is not fair.

          2. @sonicslv not a simple answer, that’s my point, and as these decisions fall into the race direction, they are subjective. If the track was to penalize, one would rue luck rather than appeal to race direction.

      3. I have no sympathy for the “I had to go off the track otherwise we would’ve collided” defense the drivers use. As Carlos Sainz said last year the drivers all know the easiest way to overtake at the moment is to get on the radio and complain. A lot of the time they’ve purposely put their car in a gap or position that was always going to close knowing they could take to the run-off without risk and then claim they were forced off the track. A black and white rule that if you overtake off the track you give the position back (or get a drive through) would probably result in a lot fewer of these cases happening as there would be a guaranteed deterrent to going off track. OK there would be a couple cases where the overtaking driver will genuinely be hard done by, but I believe it would be worth it for more consistency in the rules being applied and less complaining from the drivers

  3. That clip from the St Pete Indycar race is just the latest example of why everyone here in the US hates ABC’s broadcasts, and are praying that all of the races go to NBC/NBCSN starting next year. There is a reason most US motorsport fans say ABC stands for Always Bad Coverage.

    1. @forrest Agreed, The coverage of the Indycar races on ABC are always awful… They managed to catch virtually none of the action over the 1st half of the race due to a combination of rubbish directing & abysmal camera work/placement.

      The other thing I hate about the ABC races as an international viewer is how badly they treat the international feed. We don’t get most of the graphics, Sometimes they don’t show us replays which there commentating over on the US feed, At times while there on ad-breaks we only get to see OnBoard & aerial shots (At least in the UK we get some good commentary during the US breaks now).

      Fortunately a majority of the Indycar races are handled by NBC which produces far better coverage.

      1. Now that the Indycar Radio network is streamed thru Tune-In(don’t know if it is geo-blocked outside the USA), I’ve started listening to it while watching the ABC broadcasts. I only un-mute the TV if they’re interviewing someone I want to listen to. The radio broadcast may be delayed 15 to 30 seconds behind the ABC broadcast, but it is so much better than being forced to listen to Cheever and Goodyear.

    2. Agreed! The commentators also lack the enthusiasm that guys like Lee Diffy brought to IndyCar and F1 broadcasts last year. On some of the restarts they didn’t say a word!

      1. Tommy Scragend
        14th March 2018, 8:28

        At the start of the race, through the first corner they didn’t say anything either!

        I’ve never really watched IndyCar before but I thought I’d try to get into it this year. The qualifying coverage on Saturday was awful, all we saw was a car go through a couple of corners, then another car go through a different couple of corners, then rinse and repeat. No following a car round a hot lap, with that lap being timed on screen, split-times etc.

        Even at the end of qualifying, the US commentators were just in the middle of saying that Will Power was on pole, then Wickens suddenly appeared top of the timing screens even though we hadn’t seen him on track at all.

        The racing is arguably more exciting than F1 but the coverage, last weekend at least, is dire.

  4. Regarding COTD: The stewards should just order a driver who’s gained a position illegally to give it back straightaway. It shouldn’t be that hard to do. Yes, the type of penalties provided for the most recent instances have been consistent with other similar examples, but still, though, sometimes it’d be better just to order a driver to concede a position immediately.

    1. Exactly. If they fail to give the place back they are immediately disqualified from the race. Very simple I don’t know why that isn’t the case already.

  5. If, by chance Ferrari are burning oil to improve the performance of their engine during pre-season testing, then who are they kidding the most? They are kidding themselves the most! The team that takes the most interest in Ferrari’s times is Ferrari, so putting more power into the car via a means not acceptable during a Grand Prix is going to mess up their own test results, not those of their competitors. It is far more likely the oil being burnt isn’t related to performance than it is because the only performance that counts is that at Qualifying and during the Race, and neither of those allow the burning of oil.

    1. Testing how to maximise the oil they can burn?

  6. FlatSix (@)
    14th March 2018, 8:22

    All I can say about COTD is, once more look at how MotoGP does it. Apart from the technical part, I don’t understand how the FIA hasn’t taken a peek at the MotoGP rule book, and evidently found many many good ideas…

  7. Regarding COTD, that could just lead to someone cutting a corner more deliberately to pass the guy ahead as they effectively don’t lose anything, at worst, and at best may be able to pass guys in front, which would never have happened if they didn’t cut a corner to begin with.

    The simplest solution is normally the best. I have no idea what was wrong with giving the place back immediately. Verstappen at COTA was an exception because it happened 3 corners before the end of the race, and it was dealt with in the most logical way possible.

  8. With regards to COTD:
    This is a subject close to my heart as an online Sim-Racer, and although frustrating at time, the good thing about playing a computer game is it is 100% consistent.
    If I go around a corner and all four wheels go wide of the white line track limit, I am penalised. In Project Cars it immediately cut throttle for 5 seconds, in Project Cars 2 it shows a warning, and you have to lift sufficiently to show you have slowed until the warning lapses. Ignoring the warning ends up with a time penalty (normally 1s, or 2s, they increase as you re-offend).
    Overtaking off track also comes with an on screen warning, give the place back within x seconds (30 I believe, haven’t seen it in a while) and if you don’t give that place back, an immediate penalty is applied.

    Back to the real world, the track limits are the track limits, and it just baffles me that on one corner of one track (exit of Ascari at Monza for example) it is generally accepted that drivers can leave the track, run wide, whatever you want to call it, and at other corners they cannot (cut inside of Radillon at top of Eau Rouge for example).

    Why not, for pity’s sake, draw the white lines where it is acceptable to race on, and if you go wide, get a penalty? Is it that difficult to manage?

    With Project Cars 2 online, I do not cut corners, because if I do, I get a penalty, every time. Simple.

    1. @graigchq ”Back to the real world, the track limits are the track limits, and it just baffles me that on one corner of one track (exit of Ascari at Monza for example) it is generally accepted that drivers can leave the track, run wide, whatever you want to call it, and at other corners they cannot (cut inside of Radillon at top of Eau Rouge for example).”
      – Some corners (like turn 19 of COTA, for example) aren’t as risky to provide a realistic chance to gain a lasting advantage by going off the track entirely, so that’s why there isn’t a total zero tolerance approach to every single corner regarding track limits. For example, when it comes to improving in sector and or lap time, the approach is this: It’s OK to set a green or purple sector and or lap time, i.e., improve in a sector and or lap time as long as the improvement isn’t achieved within the relevant local mini-sector (an approximately 200-meter long marshalling sector between any given two marshalling posts) where the off-track excursion took place during the lap. The same applies to yellow flags as well.

  9. I’ll be a bit ignorant here.
    Oil burning as alleged must be deliberate (my old Alfa burnt oil like no other but there was no power gain).
    If deliberate then there must be an injector/mixing thingy built in.
    Why not simply prohibit such devices, or (if they are needed like a 2 stroke engine) make sure the injection/mixing happens before the fuel flow meter.

    (or even simpler: get rid of the fuel flow restriction altogether)

    1. Teams were using the oil breather to feed right into the intake plenum so it became an oil/air mix combusting with fuel in the engine. With clever pre-ignition and “magic”, they could cleverly control the pre-ignition chamber and tune the oil to work best in that environment, then design the actual fuel (which ignites using the TJI/other style ignition burn flowing into the main cylinder) to be better burning in that situation. Clever really.

      1. Thanks @JC
        I would just prohibit such an ‘oil breather’.

        1. An oil breather is an integral part of an engine, since it is used to relieve the pressure that forms due to small amounts of air leaking past the piston rings.

          The oil breather uses the vacuum in the intake system to help suck out this air, which brings with it some oil droplets and an oil mist.

          So just banning an oil breather is not a feasible option. It might be possible to route it through some form of a catch can to trap the oil that comes along with the air in the breather tube, but I’m sure the smarter minds at the FIA have seen a hitch that prevents such a rule being enacted.

        2. Crankcase ventilation – that’s the term I had to Google to get. There are different options available, but there must be a compelling reason why the FIA permits the current system, with caveats placed around the volume of oil consumed in a race.

        3. @egonovi –

          I would just prohibit such an ‘oil breather’.

          They have, the breathers have to exit at the back of the car now.

    2. Egonovi I will let the ones who understand the mechanics of the procedure to explain how it works. I’m just here to give you my respect for owning an Alfa, a true petrolhead sir

      1. Obrigado ; )

        1. ah! Camões would be proud

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