FIA plans ban on ‘qualifying mode’ engine settings in 2021

2021 F1 season

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The FIA intends to ban the high-performance ‘qualifying mode’ engine settings developed by Mercedes and other engine manufacturers, RaceFans has learned.

Power unit manufacturers have expended significant effort on developing optimised settings which deliver highly potent short-term power boosts on demand. The FIA intends to target these through new rules to be introduced for the 2021 F1 season.

The added fuel consumption and extra strain these ‘quali modes’ place upon engines make them unsuitable for constant use over a full race distance. However the settings allow teams to maximise their performance during qualifying sessions, allowing them to qualify higher on the grid.

Mercedes have long been seen as the leaders in this area. At the British Grand Prix Red Bull team principal Christian Horner estimated the W11 was around four-tenths of a second quicker than his team’s car in race trim, yet they were separated by a full second in qualifying.

RaceFans understands the FIA’s intention to outlaw such modes were outlined in a letter sent to teams yesterday by the governing body’s secretary general for sport Peter Bayer.

In the letter, confirmed by several sources, the FIA described its intention to clarify the use of modes for the 2021 F1 season by stipulating that the performance settings used by teams in qualifying must be the same as those used in the race. The requirement could be enforced using the existing parc ferme regulations which restrict set-up changes between the two sessions.

Max Verstappen believes part of Red Bull’s current performance deficit to Mercedes in qualifying is due to the differences in their engine modes.

“I think it is quali mode, they definitely seem to be using a bit more of that,” he said last week. “The engine modes in the race are a bit closer especially, I think, for us.”

Bayer’s letter to the teams addressed the subject of the Racing Point protest outcome and appeals, and indicated the FIA understands the concern of the teams regarding so-called ‘copy cars’. Ferrari and Renault have confirmed they are proceeding with an appeal against the stewards’ decision on Racing Point last week, as has Racing Point itself.

For the latest behind-the-scenes developments on the technical row which has split Formula 1, look out for the new edition of Dieter Rencken’s RacingLines column coming today to RaceFans

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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136 comments on “FIA plans ban on ‘qualifying mode’ engine settings in 2021”

  1. So the teams will just use the most powerful of modes in the race for a few laps, but not full throttle?

    Difficult one to crack down on considering the variety of ways these PUs can be configured.

    1. Often you see the Mercs disappear on the horizon for a few laps to build up some gap they manage later on.
      The last time they did this they ruined their tires in the process. They underestimated the forces unleashed on the drive-train en the consequences for the tires.
      If you look at the differences between the fastest lap of a race and the quali times you see the effect of those extreme modes.

      1. The 1967 British Grand Prix was held at Silverstone on 15 July 1967. Jim Clark was on pole with a lap time of 1:25.3. Denny Hulme set the fastest race lap at 1:27.0 – some 1.7 seconds slower. No ‘extreme modes’ involved.

      2. Do you? Or do you see the difference between minimum fuel and brand new tyres (the softest available) in qualifying and bringing a car home at the end of the race when fuel management might be in play as well as other possible mechanical issues?

      3. Or were they just running greater downforce because they could (i.e. the additional drag could be negated by superior power on the straights), hence why they reduced downforce at the front by altering the front aero angles for the second race while at the same time running a bit more on the rear partly to compensate…result was that the rear tyres suffered instead. Thus not necessarily directly caused by engine power…..

    2. Ferrari and the FIA already agreed (secretly) that the rule does not apply to them…..just saying…..

      1. @svianna
        as with the concorde agreement, ferrari are exempt from cheating rules… even if caught blatantly, the excuse would the tail wind that only blows when they are on the straights… and only on their lanes….

        some people are still saying ferrari didnt cheat, maybe a loophole etc… where as much as i dont like max’s talks much, i agreed with what he said it, if they were not cheating, where is their speed gone?

        They are literally playing barely within midfields now… if they didnt cheat, why the secret agreement? they dont have to explain how their engine trickery worked, they could simply say what everyone suspecting, fuel flow limits exceeded by sensor measurement timing bypass… thats all, they didnt have to reveal how they bypassed it…. not to mention, under declaring 5 kg extra fuel by accident

        1. I think of it more like tax avoidance. All the big companies and wealthy people do it. All those guys who are in F1. No one is a saint. Anyway Ferrari found a way to get more fuel than the sensor allows you to. So technically they were within the rules because the sensor said they were not violating the limits. No one can prove Ferrari cheated, not even anyone at Ferrari because the sensor readings said they are not cheating. So how do we know other teams are not doing something similar? If one team is capable of doing it then they all are capable of the same thing. How do we know that the fix they have put in place is not more bs. If you cannot enforce a rule and you are unable to tell if someone is cheating, just maybe that rule is silly and should be dropped. Rules are just made up things, not inviolable things proclaimed by the gods.

          1. …by that same logic, Lance Armstrong didn’t cheat because the tests didn’t detect his doping

          2. Cheating is not relative to the ability to police it, but still don’t know if they were cheating or not.

          3. Fabien – Armstrong didn’t cheat because all the top riders were doing the same things. They all cheated but only a few got thrown to the wolves.

            F1 is supposed to be the ultimate in development. Let them be nearly unrestricted with the major concerns be on driver safety. Let us fans see the designer/engineers go wild. That is what we deserve. We don’t deserve watered down parity. We deserve to see the fastest cars on the track. If engine modes hurt long term performance then that cost is factored by the team not the officials.

        2. What o find funny is it is overesly Ferrari cheated . Stable regs from last year and the have went from having the fastest car to midfield car when nothing changed in the off seasonal. Even a blind man can see the were cheating . But what gets me is the fact is the are protesting the rp for copying break ducts . . Yet the rp is been played out in public like the usually are . But Ferraris investigation was done in private . And what’s more is nothing has been said about the Ferrari scandal is there private punishment or what the actually cheated on rp got a whopping half mill fine and deducted points for copying break ducts .which was allowed last year and seems as the developed the car last year when it was legal . Rp haven’t even getting on the podium let alone winning a race and the have been punished far more than cheating Ferrari I just find it funny Ferrari getting involved in the rp after all that last year and what the gained from it . But then saying all that I’m not that surprised when you have a Ferrari ex team principal as the FIA manager formula 1 is the most biased sport I know of as the say it’s corrupt from top to bottom

    3. Good idea, and easy to implement.
      While we’re at it, let’s take out the adjustments to diff settings etc.
      During practice, the drivers can change anything they like on the steering wheel – but once Qualifying starts, change the steering wheel to one that just has controls for gears/clutch, kill switch, radio and drink. I might let them keep brake bias adjustment.
      After that, all settings will be the best compromise that the driver can come up with during practice and engine power/endurance will be controlled by the drivers foot.
      That would mix up the racing, highlight a drivers skills and add in the unpredictability of reliability.
      The race engineer would still be monitoring everything and advising whether to ‘push’ or to ‘ease off’ for reliability.

  2. Good intention but didn’t every teams have to agreed unanimously?

    1. Not if it’s enforced using an existing rule, which it seems they intend to do

  3. It looks like any such engine-qually-mode regulation would be easy to circumvent using a version of kick-down-extra-throttle-pedal-travel for qualifying; it could even be used sparingly in the race to make possible an easy pass. If the extra boost is used in the race then it no longer becomes specifically Qually-mode. I’m sure the bright engineers will find legal ways round any such qually-boost engine restriction.

  4. AJ (@asleepatthewheel)
    12th August 2020, 13:29

    Gradually heading in the direction of spec series rubbish

    1. 100% Correct.
      Unfortunately.

      1. @asleepatthewheel @wildbiker How? The car in qualifying should be the same as that used in the race – a rule which has been around for decades, just enforced more stringently. Trying to stop a dominating team is nothing new either, rule changes have been brought in for this reason throughout the history of F1. Nothing spec-series about this particular rule

        1. Oskari Kantonen
          12th August 2020, 18:29

          Not for decades, from 2003

          1. Well that’s nearly 2 decades

        2. @Jamie B But the car is the same — it has various engine modes available to the drivers in both qualifying and the race. They just choose to use one mode in qualifying and not the race.

          I don’t really see a good way to police this without banning engine modes altogether (which I’d be fine with, actually).

        3. AJ (@asleepatthewheel)
          12th August 2020, 20:20

          If you follow the rule to the last letter,
          even the fact that you have different fuel loads for qualifying and race violates it.

          1. Not sure which last letter includes fuel load in parc ferme rules.
            I want to check it to see if the driver is then not allowed to leave the car and a ‘do not feed’ sign put in front.

        4. More of the NASCAR approach to penalizing engineering and creativity to produce a participation trophy environment. Next thing we’ll see is NASCAR style drafting trains as overtaking all but becomes impossible as all cars become identical via imposition of over regulation. (sigh)

    2. Brings the BMW M12 to mind with 1500 bhp for qualifying and less than 1000 for the race. It was not a very cost-effective solution back then with change of engines but that is effectively what Mercedes is up to with their engine modes.

      While I love the ingenuity, I do think with qualifying being so important in F1, it results in undue advantage for the team that is able to extract more over a lap. I would love for it to be there but for the fact that it again extends Mercedes’ advantage further which I believe is the thinking behind this rule change.

      It might be unfair to penalise the leaders but we have seen it happen repeatedly in F1. Ferrari were hampered far too much with the tyre rule in 2005 and Red Bull fell off their perch with the hybrid-era PUs. On the contrary, Mercedes has been allowed to reign for far too long with minimal rule changes.

      1. AJ (@asleepatthewheel)
        13th August 2020, 7:06

        @f1g33k I can’t comment on 2005 tyre issues (started following F1 from 2012 onwards), but a technology cycle change can’t be said to have targeted Red Bull domination specifically, just like 2022 changes aren’t aimed at Mercedes in isolation.

        On the contrary, Mercedes has been allowed to reign for far too long with minimal rule changes.

        Uh firstly, their FRIC got banned in 2014/15, then came the 2017 regulation changes which they mastered, the 2019 wing changes, which they again mastered, there’s severe restrictions on oil burn, they beat a cheating Ferrari last season, DAS is getting banned next year, floor design changes next year, and there’s talk of quali modes being banned in the near future. Give credit where it is due.

        1. I give absolute credit to Mercedes for being top of the class and strides better than the next big teams. However, the 2005 tyre change and 2014 PU change were paradigm shifts that have not been encountered by Mercedes. If they stick around till 2022 and dominate the season in the manner they do know, my appreciation for them will grow further.

          1. @f1g33k 2017 was considered a substantial overhaul in the regulations – James Key, who was working for Toro Rosso at the time, described the proposed 2017 regulation change as “From a bodywork and suspension and tyre point of view, this is the biggest one that I’ve experienced in almost 19 years in F1.” – in other words, he considered the 2017 regulation change to be a much more significant paradigm shift than 2005 was. Horner, also described the 2017 rule change as a “significant challenge” for Mercedes.

            In fact, really the only major change in 2005 was the tyre regulations – the other rule changes were small enough that Ferrari started the 2005 season with a lightly updated version of the 2004 car (the F2004M) for the opening races. By contrast, you couldn’t take a 2016 spec car and use that in 2017 with a few minor tweaks – that rule change required a complete redesign of the car.

            It is also worth noting that, before the 2017 rule changes, there were a lot of people who expected those rule changes to favour Red Bull, including Red Bull themselves – Marko, for example, said that he thought Red Bull were going to be “the biggest beneficiary, as in the past when new regulations came in we’ve always been ahead” and that the changes “would put us back up in a position where we will win races again – and fight for championships again” in the build up to that rule change.

      2. @f1g33k

        Minimal rule changes? I think you should check your data again

        1. Yeah, simplfying wings and other surface areas along with restricting number of units or changing weight restrictions do not count as major. I would consider 2022 to be the next major change after 2014.

          1. @f1g33k Yes, the simplification of front wings for last season indeed wasn’t major, but the 2017 aero and tyre changes were quite major, the most recent more considerable changes in the technical regulations to date.

          2. @jerejj True, the 2017 changes were significant but then the Mercedes PU advantage was quite significant at that point of time and even if they didn’t get the aero right compared to Red Bull or Ferrari, they wouldn’t have been found wanting. That’s why I am in a way in favour of more converging PU performance for 2022 so that we can see other aspects coming to the fore.

  5. F1 Engineers:

    “lol nope”

    1. Montréalais (@)
      12th August 2020, 13:38

      @joeypropane +1
      Yeah. Everyone nods knowingly and promises (with fingers crossed) to stop using the technology.

    2. I agree, it seems ludicrous the FIA could even think about such a thing. The cars have a maximum fuel flow restriction, so presumably they want to lower the maximum fuel flow allowed during Qualifying. So what are the FIA going to do when Mercedes powered cars dominate Q2 and Q3, all the while not exceeding the maximum Qualifying fuel flow rate? Meanwhile Ferrari, Renault, and Honda powered cars will dominate the “drop zones”. And isn’t turning a knob from “Racing fuel flow rate” to “Qualifying fuel flow rate” making a Qualifying session adjustment, which the FIA wants banned?
      As far as I can tell Mercedes have been very quiet about the use of their “party modes” this year, to the point I’d thought they’d removed that capability from their engines. I’m not sure why this would be, except maybe they’ve managed to incorporate the party mode into racing mode. If so, then the FIA should consider that as an own goal.
      It would be nice if the FIA could offer more specific information as to what they will be policing.

    3. You don’t even need to be an F1 engineer.
      VW engineers have found a way to change engine performance without changing the engine mode.

  6. *facepalm*

    Another “brilliant” idea.
    Not enforceable in current state.
    Teams can and will still use multiple buttons\switches on a steering wheel to achieve the same without “changing” anything on the car between session.

    F1, stop making an IndyCar 2.0 out of F1!

  7. Bit torn on this. I don’t dislike the idea of pulling the field closer together, but at the same time I dislike development and innovation being stifled and I like qualifying and the race to be different things. This is a Q2 tyre rule for engines, and I really don’t like the Q2 tyre rule.

    But anyway… personal dislike aside, I hope it’s actually done right. Be a bit silly if a team could, say, flip quali mode on while they’re trundling down the pit lane under the speed limiter, and that would make it legal.

    1. Exactly. Instead, ditch most expensive part of the engine, making them twice cheaper, let off the unlimited development and slow more engines per season. Also ditch two compound rule. Let everyone decide their strategy before the race. And ditch average fuel consumption rule, so driver world able to actually race.

      1. Yeah, not sure how this engine rule gets enforced.

        I don’t mind the Q2 tire rule, which has made qualifying more interesting when there’s competing strategies. But then there’s the effect on the race…

        Too bad they couldn’t have different “rule packages” for races; Some with minimum compound rules, Q2 start tires, fixed tire allocations. I don’t know if that would make it more or less interesting, though.

        Just watched through the 2013 season again… Felt like there was a lot of odd qualifying results. Lots of Alonso charging through the field.

        1. There shouldn’t be any compound limitations. If one wants to finish entire race on a single hard tyreset and another want to finish the race with ultra soft only with 4-5 stops, let them do so.

          If you want to save costs, then do it in Formula 2. F2 should not be a kindergarten. It’s just next level to F1. It should be fully featured championship with mature pilots, just cheaper and on tracks where is no F1. Like it used to be half a century ago.

      2. @regs Yeah, lets throw all this hybrid junk in the bin and watch all these much slow cars trundling around 50mph slower before running out of fuel at two-thirds distance.

        I guess they’ll sound a bit louder though!

  8. How do you ban this without banning “engine modes” altogether?

    1. I can only see it working by limiting the number of modes they can use or mandating that you run in every available mode for a certain percentage of the race….

      1. Whatever mode you use to qualify must be used for X% of the race, assuming X number of laps are completed at race pace. So that covers off a reduced race / safety car scenario where fuel saving is paramount.

        I would make X% fairly high to encourage teams to push for prolonged periods.

        1. …. or drivers just use less throttle and short shift in those modes to achieve performance/PU demand parity.

          There’s no way to enforce anything when it comes to the software running these complex machines.

          1. Given the FIA were embarrassingly unable to prove Ferrari’s engine cheating, I have serious doubts they’d be able to police this adequately.

        2. Or maybe fuel consumption per distance has to be within x% Quali vs Race and within the flow limit.

    2. A very similar rule was introduced during RBR/Renault/ dominating years (2012?). It was mandated that the mode (map) used in quali was the mode you used on Sunday (or similar such wording/meaning). It was an attempt to stop the RBR domination. Don’t remember how that worked out though…

      1. I thought the change there was they could only use one or two mappings a season, rather than bringing specific engine maps to each race?

  9. I came from the future to tell that FIA banned moving cars in F1.

    1. I’m seating here, looking to the future and seeing it coming! :)

    2. Awesome!

    3. Well, a moving car is a moveable aerodynamic device…

      1. I come from the future too and F1 is now all about moving pixels.

  10. Ban something every week, that’ll make the racing better.

    Rules, rules, rules, rules!

    Or have the FIA just realised Ferrari and Honda and Renault are just not good enough to catch up and so want a hidden handicap on Mercedes to ‘level the playing field’ meaning drag everyone down to the lowest level?

    If they want a Soviet system where the state, ie FIA, decide everything and no-one is allowed to compete and be better than anyone else, they should remember what happened to that political edifice: it became more and more antiquated, more and more sclerotic as it became more and more hide bound until it simply ceased to work and fell over.

    1. You are allowed to stop watching; last I checked no one forbids that.
      Me, as a pretty neutral racing fan who has been cheering for a lot of different teams over the years, applaud this decision although they should have done it five years ago.

      And it’s not really that they’re banning something; they are applying parc fermé rules to the engines. So if you wanna use you’re highest engine mode, you’re still allowed to do it but you must use it in the race to.

      And last I checked the FIA has been doing this for decades, and the show still goes on. The worst enemy of the show is the total dominace of teams we have been seeing the last decade.

      1. Mercedes engines, as the article notes, are apparently the leaders in area – but Mercedes team are not the only ones using Mercedes engines. This isn’t going to just affect them.

        The question then must be, why aren’t Ferrari, Honda, Renault engines as good in this? Honda and Ferrari are hardly poorly funded and their engines are used by two of the top three teams even.

        1. What excuse will the haters use next when this doesn’t slow them down either. The other teams need to realise they need to change to beat Mercedes because the reason they’re at the top is they’re doing the job better in every single metric. Despite what they say, I reckon this will end up affecting Mercedes the least and yet again another rule will cause costs and upheaval and not deliver results anyway.

        2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          12th August 2020, 17:04

          @yaru well, it’s obvious why they are doing it… the opposition, namely Red Bull and Ferrari, have plainly been outmatched by Mercedes who have spanked their behinds. The coach has to step in and tell the prodigy to only kick the ball with their weak foot so the other players can score a goal.

      2. dominance is only bad for the losing teams and the fans of those looser teams

    2. Sport is contrived competition for entertainment and amusement… If the Soviet system makes a good show, go for it!

      Jokes aside, I get the criticism, and generally agree. I think that it’s hard to enjoy F1 when the drivers are played up. I don’t see them as superheroes. The cars are often the real star.

      I feel like F1 would do well to provide more coverage of the engineering and engineers in the sport. Get Lewis, Bono, and his head mechanic on the podium.

      Endurance racing is still interesting in spite of the performance disparity between classes. F1 has that element, and the midfield battles are often the best part. Many of us on RaceFans understand this, but it’s surprising how ignorant a large number of fans are. I think more fans would have greater enjoyment of the sport with greater knowledge of the supporting characters in a team.

      Who has time for that nowadays?

    3. You are entitled to watch communist Indycar, where everyone is forced into using same cars and same engines.

      1. Yep, and the racing in communist Indycars, as a sport and a spectacle, is better then F1. Some people want to see racing, some people get their jollies on watching a procession of high powered cars following each other in line like trunk to tail capitalist circus elephants.

        1. If Indycar is communist, does that make F1 neo-fascist?

          1. Crony capitalist

  11. How ridiculous.

    And it wont fix anything

  12. When Mercedes is on pole by only half a second instead of a second everyone will look back and thank the benevolent FIA for its infinite wisdom.

    No, hang on, I’m being insane. Quali engine modes make no more or less sense than race engine modes.

  13. Brabham fan car, the Tyrrell P34, oval pistons, super fuels someone is always trying to nobble F1. So far we have been lucky that the engineers have been able to get around it and F1 has continued to move forward. But I fear time is running short for innovation.

  14. At this rate the FIA will be banning F1 for the 2023 season.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      12th August 2020, 17:00

      lol, I wouldn’t be surprised… I almost feel that F1 and the FIA need to part ways.

      1. Hm, that would be very interesting. Maybe in a sense it would need to, to be able to maintain certain aspects of itself. Oh well..

  15. I was never a fan of quali mode and am glad for this rule change. Yes, you are right, those of you who say that – once again – innovation is being stifled. But I don’t see the sense in multiplying the advantage of top teams so that they are not only stronger in race trim but also qualifying trim. Because I would say that in 9 out of 10 cases, those getting the racing right are also getting the qualifying right and if they are allowed an extra quali mode, they will get that right too. Let me know how wrong my thinking is and by what margin – I don’t pretend to be an expert and am always eager to learn from my peers. :O)

    It’s the same kettle of fish with Mercedes’ DAS steering wheel system. Yes, it’s a marvellous idea. Yes, fantastically innovated. But most teams don’t have the resources to compete. So what do we do? Let them keep it. Watch them sail ahead by 1 or 2 minutes? It’s definitely a conundrum. For sure, the greatest innovators are often punished. Double diffuser, etc. But few are going to watch the sport if the competitors are not somehow kept within an acceptable performance margin. Even with working cost-caps in place, the FIA is always going to have to intervene when one team comes up with an innovation that blows everyone else away. At least they usually get to keep it for a season.

    1. If you dont have the money or know how then F1 is not your does people. Bannig a engine mode is wrong. Everyone has the same rule. You cannot say because you are better we are going to stop you. What is motivating the engine depart of merc to do better? This is ferrari fault. Because they where cheating merc put more money in the PU. Honda spend half billion us on de engine. While is good, merc is just smarter, cause they build this concept, en every body copy so dont expect them to be behind the same engine they developt

    2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      12th August 2020, 17:12

      @shimks the problem is that Red Bull and Ferrari are getting their quali modes wrong as Hulkenberg and Norris have proven. Then there’s all kinds of other issues. Albon is having trouble of his own. Vettel’s Ferrari… may not even be a Ferrari :-) The top teams are just really underperforming and now Mercedes has to pay the price for Ferrari’s cheating as they also now need to slow down to be closer to Ferrari’s level.

    3. @shimks I don’t think Mercedes are even running with DAS activated. I haven’t noticed any fore/aft wheel movement from onboard shots during the two Silverstone weekends. Even if they were running it, it didn’t improve their tyre management…

      Could be it was all just cheap smoke and mirrors to distract from other areas, such as the new engines nuclear performance even in race trim?

      Also, going back to engine modes, the FIA have mandated that the qualifying modes, being part of the software, are available to everyone. Racing Point, Williams (and next year McLaren) will have access to the exact same engine performance as Mercedes. That the Mercedes car still does better is down to the car aerodynamics and chassis being better – Are we now to mandate that the top 3 teams have to have their entire cars munted to make the back markers more competitive?

      Where does it stop?

      1. @optimaximal @freelittlebirds Yes, that is the conundrum: where does it stop? Competitors shouldn’t be handicapped for doing a better job overall. But if the difference between even the top teams is massive, where is the fun in watching that? The nature of F1 is that the majority of the competition takes place in the factories. But for it to be a viable spectator sport, the majority of the competition needs to take place on track, i.e. it should primarily be about the drivers. I know I’m talking nonsense when referring such statements to F1 because that is of course not the essence of F1, and that is probably why I enjoy F2 and F3 so much more than F1 nowadays. I stuck out watching 5 years of Ferrari dominance but, boy, was it boring a lot of the time. And now Mercedes have been so clearly ahead for so long. I liked the way the double-diffuser was handled. The innovation was rewarded for half a season. Then the other teams more or less caught up. Then it was banned for everyone. I think that works quite well. Brawn were able to win the championships but their advantage did not extend past one season. I think the FIA should continue playing it that way.

        1. DAS is illegal from day zero. FIA allowed Mercedes to go on on development, but is illegal since violates parc fermée rules (no modification to car settings).
          As usua, since FIA doesn’t want to loose its face, decided that Mercedes can use it only in formation lap o in qualification to heat tyres … (illegal also that).
          Mercedes had been for years protected by FIA, FIA was not able to see that Mercedes was using oil as part of combustion process (illegally, just read technical rules), even if external engineers were writing at the time about that.

  16. No Mclaren scenario 7 apologists?

    It’s not just about Mercedes you know… the second their dominance wanes, another team will seek to solidify their own.

  17. Very difficult thing to implement.

  18. The headline should read: The FIA wants to implement parc fermé rules for the engine.

    1. ? those aggressive power modes are available even during the race. They are not used for longer durations as they can dramatically reduce life of the PU.

  19. In my opinion F1 should be the fastest it can be. The qualifying engines of the past being a good example of that spirit, throw away engine for 1 lap. Costly yes, but try to find a cost efficient version of that then.

    Reliability targets for engine components use, fuel flow limitations, max fuel tank capacity, max use of batteries etc are examples that better fit Lemans and are against the grain of F1. Let em inject 200kg/h if they want, it taxes the engine, let em find the best trade off to compete.

    Regarding “1 engine mode for all type rule”: Let drivers figure out how not to spin out or blow up the engine by having 1 mode (quali mode) available fully through the race for instance. It would work better with some of the rule relaxations like mentioned above, so it would require more skill to manage.

    1. @maxv regulations on maximum fuel loads were part of F1 in the 1980s, and restrictions on the airflow were also introduced over the years for the turbo engines they had then.

    2. @maxv

      Costly yes, but try to find a cost efficient version of that then.

      How can you square the circle of a cost-effective engine that’s also a hand grenade? Are you suggesting a spec engine produced for the series at cost, paid for by the series? But then how do you run a race when the entire field has accidentally detonated before half-distance?

  20. I agree with removing the qualifying modes but I’m not sure how they’d actively police that removal.

    1. They should ban the modes altogether. What do we gain by having them? The racing is not better because a driver can put the car in a mode with higher or lower power. In fact it is possible it reduces the chance of an upset.

      I dont think it will improve the situation a lot.

      1. The modes are there to protect the engines. Of course if drivers are forced into wrecking their engines then the surviving car can just do a 5 min lap until the max GP time elapse.

        1. I understand, but they can develop a standard mode that will be reliable enough. All the modes give is additional complexity which does not necessarily improve racing.

          1. Well, they do… how does, for eg, a less powerful RBR Honda follow and pass a more powerful works Mercedes? It uses an engine mode that maximises electrical harvesting, then another that maximises electrical deployment to make the pass.

            Without changeable modes, that less outright powerful PU would be stuck behind.

        2. Exactly this. We’re in this position because the FIA has limited the number of PUs for the season. So the manufacturers, rightly, create all these engine modes so that their precious engines can be protected from the driver just leaving his foot flat on the floor for the whole race.

          Whether this is actually true racing or not is a separate argument.

    2. @rocketpanda
      In 2010 they managed to ban RB’s special qualy engine-mappings, which pulled them almost 1 sec ahead of everyone else in qualifying during the early part of the season.

      Though I’m not quite sure how it would work with these turbo-hybrids.
      The FIA could bring in a rule that regulates the max. power output for practise, qualy and the race in a way that the teams are not allowed to use more power in qualy than during the rest of the weekend.

      The FIA could monitor the power output via GPS data. I often heard the teams using those data to figure out how powerful their competitors’ engine is.

  21. The proposed restriction is not needed, by keeping regulations stable over a number of years the aerodynamics, engine-powers and chassis abilities have all tended to converge, so we now have much closer racing up and down the field. Engine-wise Honda have done a good catch-up job, Renault have made some gains (but faint-heartedly are awaiting competative-rescue by way of budget caps), Mercedes have continued to strive for the lead in engine power (and have catapulted into the power lead by trying to catch up with last years iffy Ferrari engine); the only fly in the ointment are Ferrari who have set themselves back and are reaping the outcome of their dead-end avenue of engine development. As many others have suggested, leave the regs alone and closer racing will evolve automatically.

    1. Much closer racing, except for the team out front which is now one second faster than anybody else, barring extreme weather conditions.

      1. Extreme conditions like a warm summer day at Silverstone?

      2. Jamie B, only really in qualifying though, and even then that seems to be as much because their rivals have gone backwards in qualifying trim – so far this season, Red Bull have failed to set a qualifying time that is faster than their 2019 times were.

        1. Isn’t that the whole point though? Merc are 1 second ahead in qualifying hence they stop these extreme qualifying engine modes

          Also competition is relative; a gap of 1 second is a gap of 1 second regardless of the actual lap times

  22. There isn’t really any specific ‘qualifying’ mode, though, as they’re just engine/PU modes with the highest being the one used regularly for a single-lap performance. How could this work without taking away all modes even the lowest ones?

  23. I think there are engineers who see this as a challenge. There always will be a difference in engines as long as there will be more than one manufacturer. I still think Mercedes engine (for me it is still too strange to say a power unit) will be the one to beat but this should level up the playing field.

    Yes this is one step closer to spec series but I am putting my money on engineers. They have always found some loopholes in the rulebook. Spec series is still far away but with this and some other changes they have made FIA is going to that direction and I hope they will stop somewhere otherwise it will happen.

  24. I don’t see there being much of an issue on this. At present the engines are built to last a set millage, the “bonus” quali mode is just how long can they run at max performance for without affecting the total millage of the engine. Either the engine runs fine without the top mode or they will increase the top mode and turn it into normal performance (IE-overtake mode)

  25. Total waste of time and regulation.
    Short shutting easily circumvent this rubbish regulation. Just change the indicator. Purple becomes the restricted band.
    Every engine has modes to conserve its performance for longevity.
    Some modes are necessary to ensure the car finishes the race.
    What next prevent drivers from saving fuel and driving all laps at the same pace?

    1. Short shifting I meant.

  26. I thought banning “copies” was the dumbest thing the FIA would do this week. I stand corrected. This is just rubbish. STOP RESTRICTING EVERYTHING.

  27. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    12th August 2020, 16:57

    Oh my god, can’t Red Bull get one thing right? The way things are headed they may need to run fewer laps to win a race :-)

    Max, you need to run 5 laps! Lewis, you need to run 500 laps! You need to overtake Max 100 times to win!

    I can’t blame them – Lewis managed to beat the Red Bull running on 3 tyres…

    It’s so sad to see Ferrari and Red Bull throwing in the towel in and begging the FIA for mercy.

    1. @freelittlebirds
      Christian Horner was the first to suggest that parc fermé rules must be applied to the PU mappings and this was after the 2017 Australian GP qualifying when Lewis outqualified the first Ferrari of Kimi by 0.664 seconds. Ferrari has already implemented a strong qualy mode starting from 2015 and from 2018 onward they were believed to have the strongest mode before being halted by the settlement with the FIA which meant that they have to redesign a new PU in a hurry over the winter.
      Ferrari has been always good on the engine front in the hybrid era with the exception of 2014 & this year. I don’t know why you claim that they were behind this while we know that RBR have already suggested the idea 3 years ago.

      1. @tifoso1989 It’s something Christian Horner has repeatedly brought up when interviewed on Sky over the years & more recently it’s been something Sky themselves have been bringing up a lot.

        1. @stefmeister
          Thanks a lot for the info mate !
          I remember Horner coming up with this silly ideas in Australia 2017 but I didn’t know he was repeatedly saying it on Sky as I stopped watching F1 on it a while ago. I watch the live sessions on Canal+ with Jacques Villeneuve in the commentary and the analysis between the sessions in Movistar F1 Spain with Pedro de la Rosa, Toni Cuquerella and Antonio Lobato and sometimes in Sky Italy when they have Jacques Villeneuve as a guest.

    2. @freelittlebirds do not let facts get in the way from fiction. Your storyline is to good!

  28. So crying Horner… sorry, Christian Horner gets his way again then!

    Maybe they should concentrate on making their car better instead of their competitors worst!

  29. I’m not sure I like this as seeing how much extra they can drag out of the engine’s in qualifying is part of the spectacle of qualifying.

    It raises concerns for me that it’s been done purely because they want to disadvantage Mercedes & I don’t think you should try & penalize success. If Mercedes have done a better job with these modes & it helps them get a bigger gap to the rest then good for them, That is what the sport is meant to be about & I think banning the modes to try & pull back there advantage is wrong. It should be down to the others to do a better job imo.

    1. FIA has always penalised success. Ferrari had it worse in 2004 and Red Bull in 2014 after 4 years of domination. Meanwhile, Mercedes has been able to get away with the domination for far too long because cost considerations have limited the extent of changes in recent years.

  30. Great first step. Far better would be that the teams are only allowed one engine mode for the weekend.

    1. Yes I’d like to see RB lose their little bit of their qualifying mode. And with the Mercs superior engine it still gives Merc a decent half second gap, whilst pushing the RB into the chasing pack. A win win for Ham and the Mercs.

  31. Great. Until Mercedes develop an unassailable lead with the one engine mode, and the FIA find some other way of trying (and failing) to level the playing field.
    Still from reading some of the reports this last weekend was a great weekend. Unsuitable tyres that most teams didn’t even bother to do any serious work on Friday as one tyre compound was completely useless. Then a race where the three at the front cruised around whilst other teams gave up racing, or just retired the car. And we can all pretend the RB hard tyre choice was inspired, whereas the reality was the RB could have won on any combination.
    So maybe the pursuit of excellence is no longer an F1 goal, just how much of a lottery based on luck can they make the series.

  32. Anything that nullifies Merc and Ham advantages, I support 100% and it will lead to better racing.

    1. That should read better races. More randomization among qualifying will only help.

    2. Bet you wouldn’t be saying the same thing last year. When ferrari had their untouchable qualifying modes eh. You do know the other teams have qualifying modes and that Mercedes have the more powerful engine right? So Mercedes will still be favourites even with their qualifying mode.

  33. Another vague and shady implementation to complicate F1.

  34. This rule will find favour with those that are just not good enough. Like any rule.

  35. Mercedes: “So who are you man!?”
    FIA: “I’m da party pooper!”

  36. The problem here is that it will also affect Affect the Honda and Renault engines because they too have Qualifying modes

  37. Quali throttle map vs race throttle map. You could run quali with 100% throttle and race with 98% throttle or something similar. There are hundred ways around it. I wonder what will the wording be to ban such thing. If there is short term performance to be taken from the PU, they will take it.

  38. My crazy rule change that I would make is to get rid of blue flags. If you are lapped then you are out of the race and you must pit immediately. Sorry you are not good enough to complete the race, some incentive to do better next time and to defend like hell to not get lapped. Teams whose cars get lapped will get lots of extra testing time the non-lapped teams don’t get. Maybe extra development points.

  39. Hey fellas make sure you’re wearing that heavier right boot for qualifying.

  40. Cyril must be delighted.
    After years of being unable to develop a decent qualy mode and of constantly banging on about focusing on the reliability of their PU the FIA have solved it for him.

    Way to go FIA – lets continue to stifle development and penalise those that are good at what they do.

    1. +1 @dbradock. FIA/Liberty’s racing pursuit is the race to the bottom.

      Hopefully they’ll stop ‘leveling’ the field when Ferrari is powered by Renault and Haas supply the aero know-how.

  41. This year : FIA ban “qualifying” mode to improve the racing.
    Next year :FIA introduce “push to pass” to improve the racing

    @coldfly, you should never have suggested this, even in jest, put the crystal ball away.

    1. Well of course its coming – that way they’ll be able to proudly announce that they have gotten rid of DRS

    2. With FIA’s drive for Safety they might want to consult my crystal ball rather than run the actual races, @hohum.
      And I expect that Volvo would join in that case.

      1. @coldfly, Intriguingly cryptic.

  42. Give it up FIA. So ban all engine modes? How do you ban that? I feel like its something that doesn’t need doing and should be put on the scrap pile

  43. I think they are trying to stop the use of variable engine mode, that changes through lap sections, that I think is used by Mercedes.
    What I find “strange” is that FIA doesn’t arrive, or doesn’t want to investigate seriously Mercedes.
    Too much “partially illegal” parts allowed to be used by Mercedes.
    The last one is DAS, a clear violation of parc fermée rules, but FIA technicians allowed them to go on … but than, being the violation clear, make it illegal for 2021, but allowing (as many other times in the recent past) Mercedes to use it this year, but limiting it for front tyres heating management in race formation lap (or before safety car end) or qualifying in laps.

  44. This seems like another case of the FIA banning something because one team is much better at it than every other team.

    Mercedes continue to dominate and one area in particular where they have a significant advantage is during qualifying, so the FIA decide to ban engine qualifying modes.

    Every team has different engine modes they use and it has been like this for years, the qualifying modes may attract the most attention because they are the most powerful option but teams all have multi engine settings that they use throughout a race weekend, it is not just a case of qualifying and race setting.

    Driver can also change other settings during a race such as brake bias, should we expect new rules saying things like that should be the same throughout qualifying and the race in future?

    F1 is supposed to be the height of racing technology, but now any bit of innovation is frowned upon by the FIA who will look to ban it, and they are also finding other ways to dumb down the sport.

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