Renault, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

No clamp down on exhaust blowing until 2019

2019 F1 season

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The FIA will not clamp down on teams using their exhausts to increase aerodynamic performance until the 2019 F1 season.

RaceFans understands a technical directive on the subject issued this week did not state any new restrictions on exhaust blowing will come into force this year.

Instead teams have been advised the FIA intends to make changes to the rules for next season to further restrict the design of exhausts.

The matter arose during pre-season testing when it emerged Renault has positioned the exhaust on its RS18 in order to direct exhaust gases to the underside of the rear wing, enhancing its performance.

The effect is similar to that exploited by many teams between 2011 and 2013 when exhaust gases were widely used to increase the power of car’s diffusers. Since 2014 the FIA has restricted the position of exhausts more tightly to prevent them being used in this way.

However the changes to the aerodynamic rules last year has created an opportunity for teams to enhance the power of their rear wings using exhaust gases. Renault say their exhaust arrangement does provide a small benefit.

The FIA previously advised teams they would consider any engine modes designed to enhance the power of the exhaust-blowing to be illegal. The directive issued last week also restated that point.

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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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13 comments on “No clamp down on exhaust blowing until 2019”

  1. This sounds like a sensible approach. If a team is found exploiting a loophole, fixing it the subsequent year is the practical approach. However, if something is being done in violation of stated rules, then an immediate clampdown is justified.

  2. It is so stupid, it isn’t even a loophole, Renault placed their exhaust within the rules, and they are gaining a small benefit entirely on gases that are blown naturally with acceleration. This restriction on everything is so frustrating.

    Ban blown exhaust created from engine mappings, that’s fine, there are reasons for that, but this is just non-sense.

    1. Agreed. This mentality of the FIA to continually ban anything that is remotely clever and within the rules is ridiculous!

    2. I think the FIA missed a trick when framing the regulations, one that was spotted and is used by Renault. I’d say they’ve taken the sensible approach by allowing them to use it this season (reward their cleverness) and correct it next year (to bring the written law closer to the spirit). This is the typical cat-and-mouse game between the FIA and teams.

      Whether we need such a rule/ban is a wider discussion around just how much aero grip we want in F1, and hopefully it is something on Ross Brawn’s radar for 2021.

      1. What I mean is teams innovate “outside the square” so to speak, only to have the FIA take it away from them the following year. Why constantly change the rules all the time?

    3. @johnmilk, agreed, surely if the FIA really wanted to completely ban the use of exhaust gas they should have insisted that the exhaust tip was the rearmost part of the car.

  3. I seem to recall Mac had an exhaust clamp down in pre-season testing.

    1. ba dum tss

    2. Haha, nice one!

  4. Why don’t they just require a 45 degree elbow at the exhaust causing it to flow downward? There are simple ways to address the creativity.

  5. Why is the FIA banning exhaust blowing and why did the organization restrict diffuser dimensions a while back? If we were to have the two, there would be less reliance on wings-generated downforce, resulting in more action on the tracks. What am I missing?

    1. My guess is a lot of this banning is a signal to teams “don’t waste your budget going down avenue as we are going to ban it next year”. These are the sorts of areas the bigger teams are most able to exploit with plenty of CFD and wind tunnel resources, so getting rid of them is an attempt to keep the smaller teams more competitive.
      For diffusers, I guess they are quite disturbing on the front wing of the following car. Maybe someone knows more?

  6. The position and angle of the exhaust (up to 15 deg if memory serves me) were all in the regs when they came out, and that was several years ago.
    Did the blown monkey seats provide more advantage than pointing the exhaust up at the maximum (but still legal) angle.? I would suspect this was the case.
    The current beef of the FIA appears to be the application of engine mapping in a way to increase exhaust flow in corners, not the position and angle of the exhaust. They wrote the regs in the first place. Relocating the exhaust will just be a means to fix the mapping “loophole” and benefit.

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