Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, Suzuka, 2019

Racing Point protest Renault’s brake system

2019 Japanese Grand Prix

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Renault is facing a protest from rival team Racing Point over the legality of the braking system it used in the Japanese Grand Prix.

The stewards have announced they are investigating the legality of Renault’s car. Racing Point’s objection concerned whether the RS19 is equipped with a “pre-set lap distance-dependent brake bias adjustment system”.

Article 11.1.4 of the technical regulations states “any change to, or modulation of, the brake system, other than any movement of the minimal flexible parts described in Article 11.4 to 11.6 [front and rear air ducts], whilst the car is on the track must be made by the driver’s direct physical input or by the system referred to in Article 11.9 [the rear brake control system], and may not be pre-set.”

Both Renault drivers scored points in the Japanese Grand Prix. Daniel Ricciardo finished sixth (promoted one place following Charles Leclerc’s penalties) and Nico Hulkenberg was 10th.

This article will be updated.

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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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27 comments on “Racing Point protest Renault’s brake system”

  1. What the…?
    What is “pre-set lap distance-dependent brake bias adjustment system”???

    1. And how is it different to current bias changing system?

      1. Pre-set rather than driver’s physical input.

        Seems a clear cut disqualification to me.

        1. @coldfly No need for any evidence? Right. Sure.

    2. I believe it means the brake bias adjust automatically depending on where on the lap the car is, which would make it illegal under driver-aid laws. Whereas the driver inputting a change in brake bias themselves is legal.

      1. Ow, I see. Sounds illegal indred.


  2. Why would that be illegal, bc. it should be up to the driver to manage? If it’s just linear I wouldn’t consider it a big thing, though if it is more complex, yes I can see the issue.

    1. It seems that the system does things “automatically” in certain corners @bosyber.

    2. They allege that they are “brake mapping” based on where the car is in the lap, similar to how teams map the engines for harvesting etc.

  3. That is an oddly specific thing for Racing Point to protest. Have they been obsessing over the onboard shots from the Renault cars and think they’ve spotted something, or do they just somehow know about this system through other means?

  4. What makes me curious: how can Force India know that Renault has such a system??

    1. ‘Racing Point’, but that wasn’t the point you were making :P

    2. @mosquito Probably from watching onboard camera where adjusting brake bias is something that very easy to see (usually a knob in steering wheel). The lack of those action will definitely raise suspicions since it’s impossible to extract the maximum of the car with a single brake bias setting.

      1. @sonicslv Yes, and specially on the Mercedes-onboards as the Merc-drivers do that notoriously often while on track, more than any other team’s drivers.

  5. The adjustment of brake balance while on track is manual. The Mercedes-drivers do that a lot on their pole laps. More than other drivers for some reason.

    1. It seems that it is more important for the mercedes to maintain a stable platform this way @jerejj. I even think Rosberg was asked about it a month or so back and confirmed that had been the case for some time.

  6. But changing engine mapping based on presets is fine? That’s an interesting distinction. I remember Alonso having a problem at Spa since his Honda’s ECU was confused when he didn’t lift through a corner, since it used (IIRC) throttle input to determine which part of the circuit they were on.

    1. @phylyp gray area. Alonso’s car didn’t change mapping but the mapping was, like you pointed out, linked to his throttle input, it needed that info to work itself out.
      Racing point had this joker on renault and they used it now, 6th and 10th on the line.
      All the people saying racing point was watching onboards forget there are buttons behind the steering wheel.
      Want more conspiracy? McLaren stands to gain. McLaren rats out their pu partner, renault, to racing point.

      1. @peartree – cheers, thanks for clearing that up.

        Interesting conspiracy theory, but wouldn’t the front-rear brake bias be on the hydraulic side of the Renault, which McLaren won’t have sight of? I can understand inside info if it were to do with the BBW side of the braking system.

        1. @phylyp you’re probably right. Just a conspiracy theory but it would still make sense for mclaren not to irk their current Pu provider.

      2. Want more conspiracy? McLaren stands to gain. McLaren rats out their pu partner, renault, to racing point.

        I like this!

  7. So, FIA accepts the protest, and takes away ECUs and steering wheels from Renault.

    I wonder how Racing Point learnt about this system, it is clearly not something visible by naked eye (unless they were ripped ans knew what to look for).

    1. * ripped = tipped (how I wish this site to have proper comment system…)

      Suddenly the future of Renault looks somewhat bleaker (having lost CEO just days ago, and what if this system was used for a long ng time…)

    2. Lawrence Stroll has a lot of money and influence ;)

  8. This race must be remembered for ages, so it is very fitting that even protests are coming too. I am buying more popcorn to follow this. :)

  9. How would they even know Renault has this? Another spy gate?

  10. Wow, another decent race and more drama. Whoohoo!

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