Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2020

Why the FIA told teams it will ban ‘quali modes’ after this weekend’s race

2020 F1 season

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The FIA has notified Formula 1 teams it intends to prevent them using high-performance ‘qualifying modes’ from the next round of the championship.

The plan, revealed by RaceFans yesterday, was explained in a letter sent by the FIA’s secretary-general for sport Peter Bayer to all 10 teams on Tuesday. In the letter, contents of which were shared with RaceFans, teams were advised a new technical directive will require them to operate their engines in the same power mode in qualifying and the race from the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps.

While such modes have been widely used for years, the FIA told teams there are two reasons for its growing concerns over their use.

The sport’s regulator is concerned the growing complexity of manufacturers’ engine modes has made it increasingly difficult to ensure power units are being operated in compliance with the engine regulations.

Earlier this year this FIA announced it had reached a confidential settlement with Ferrari following an investigation into its power unit. This led to the introduction of new rules for 2020, including the addition of an extra fuel flow sensor. Ferrari’s engine performance has suffered since then, which the team has admitted it linked to the change in rules.

In the letter, Bayer drew attention to article 2.7 of the technical regulations which states: “It is the duty of each competitor to satisfy the FIA technical delegate and the stewards that his automobile complies with these regulations in their entirety at all times during an event”, and “due to their nature, the compliance of electronic systems may be assessed by means of inspection of hardware, software and data.”

The FIA also raised concerns that the nature of some teams’ engine modes could put them in violation of rules prohibiting driver aids. Article 27.1 of the sporting regulations states “the driver must drive the car alone and unaided”.

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The new restriction is expected to be a significant blow to Mercedes, whose ‘quali mode’ is believed by rivals to be key to their strong Saturday performances. The team has started all five races this year from pole position and swept the front row in the last three rounds.

George Russell, whose Williams team use Mercedes power units, said he “be disappointed” if F1 banned qualifying modes.

“I think for every engine manufacturer you’ve got a boost for qualifying,” he said. “When you’re within the car you’ve got the lowest amount of fuel you have for the whole weekend, you’ve got the fastest engine mode, you’re the most pumped-up and ready. You are ready for that lap you’re about to approach.

“So everything just feels like a little bit extra. It allows you to just extract that bit more from the car and it’s such an exciting part of the weekend. So, like I said, I’d be disappointed to see it gone.

“I think it’s normal in life. You have, like a runner, if it’s only a 100-metre race, you can sprint throughout that or if you’re in a marathon you’ve got to take it easy for the duration. It’s the same with an engine. You’ve got that one lap, give it full beans and then just tune it down for the race.”

Russell’s team mate Nicholas Latifi says the high power mode made a “noticeable” difference.

“You feel the engine is just a bit more punchy,” he said. “Obviously you’re using the full deployment of the battery as well, you’re kind of ending with nothing left.

“Like George said it’s kind of pump yourself up going into the lap and you feel kind of an extra boost that you get. So that would be a shame, to lose that part of it.”

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125 comments on “Why the FIA told teams it will ban ‘quali modes’ after this weekend’s race”

  1. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    13th August 2020, 14:33

    Fascinating. So the FIA want to ban the engine modes because the engines are so complex they can’t regulate them properly? I wonder how much of this is fallout from Ferrari’s engine trickery last year, where it was suggested while the FIA knew they were doing something dodgy they couldn’t outright prove it? Perhaps they suspect something is going on with the Mercedes ones, but equally can’t prove it. Hilarious that these units are so complex even the people that made the rules can’t work out if people are doing something illegal with them. This looks less like the FIA punishing Mercedes and more the FIA trying to cover up incompetence in understanding their own rules.

    1. I agree. The drama around the Ferrari PU has shown the FIA how clueless they really are.
      But I think there’s more to that. Banning high-performance modes will level the playing field between the engine suppliers and their customers, save costs and might possibly reduce weight, because the latest increase in weight occurred due to reliability concerns.

      The closer the performance between the engine manufacturers gets, the more likely is an engine freeze, which will save a lot of costs. Honda have been very vocal about wanting the development to be frozen as soon as possible.

  2. So first rule referenced is using Ferrari’s cheating as an excuse to help Ferrari, and the second rule referenced is their go-to rule when they get a stupid idea… Like this one.

    1. Hiland (@flyingferrarim)
      13th August 2020, 16:47

      What benefit (aside from qualifying advantage) does this mode have on the racing as a whole? I argue very little and since the FIA is in pursuit of helping control some of the inflating costs of the sport so the likes of Williams and others can stay afloat. Especially with COVID…. this should be an eye opener in how a sport needs to do the right thing to ensure we have F1 tomorrow and the next day and the next day after that. COVID will have a lasting affect on teams financially because of sponsorship (racing can only survive if there are sponsors willing to dish out cash). Even Ferrari had major financial losses this year (as many others).

      With all that said, by banning this innovation, teams will seek out new area’s to exploit in the name of innovation that they otherwise may not have if so focused on a “qually-mode”.

      Secondly, Ferrari was NOT formally caught cheating!! Exploiting, sure, but not cheating. If teams really felt that, then they should have submitted a formal protest at the time and put the money where their mouth is!! Ferrari was probably playing in the gray area’s (which ALL teams do and should) and the rule clarifications that came out then impacted their performance because those gray areas got better defined. In racing, you go by the letter of the rule, not the “intent”. It’s not Ferrari’s fault that the FIA can’t write rules!

      1. It will affect inlaps and outlaps during the race or when the teams are going for the one point awarded for fastest lap in the race.

        1. Hiland (@flyingferrarim)
          16th August 2020, 2:58

          @pinakghosh but that does not mean the teams are using “qually mode/party mode”. They could simply be adjusting rich mixture and using ERS as far as we know.

      2. Coventry Climax
        26th August 2020, 15:26

        I think you’re too easily setting aside the huge advantage of qualifying in front.

  3. This is a thinly veiled attempt to stifle Mercedes’ advantage, which in the spirit of technical innovation and excellence makes me sad… yes they are dominating, yes it’s boring but isn’t the point of F1 to be the best of the best? This is punishment for success, and makes me wonder if manufacturers will turn off from a sport where they don’t even have the chance to display technical dominance.

    1. Thing is, F1 has always been like that. Take for example 2005 when tyre stops were banned to cut down Ferrari’s advantage with its Bridgestone tyres. Or Silverstone 2011 when Exhaust blown diffusers were briefly banned. Or Williams active suspension domination. This is nothing new.

    2. These engines are truly amazing, and I don’t like to see progress halted, but this development has run the course. Time to see what else can be done in other areas of the cars.

      Complete dominance over the years should be reward enough to Mercedes (and they’ve been financially successfully, too)

      In a couple years, interest will shift back to power units. I’m hoping that we get AWD, eventually. Gotta recover the energy from the front tires, too!

      1. Yeah I’m a huge fan these hybrid engines, esp when they had MGU-H … so high tech!

    3. They can continue their dominance and demonstrate their technical innovation by creating an engine that has the punch their quali setting has with the reliability their race one does.

  4. First banned the innovative DAS, now banning the Qualifying modes…what is next? Pirelli to choose tires and pressures which favor the Redbull and affect the Mercedes?

    1. You can guarantee that will happen next year.

      1. I think it was sarcasm. It already happened with the 70th Anniversary GP.

        1. I’m well aware of that, but I believe it will be specifically aimed at assisting certain teams next year.

  5. Gee– Ferrari’s engine performance is down, because they can’t use their (illegal) special mode.

    Now the FIA bans everyone else from using qualifying modes.

    I guess if “aerodynamics is for people who can’t build engines” has now changed to “the rules are for people who can’t build engines”.

    1. What does this have too do with Ferrari, Mercedes at the moment are guilty as sin with the Racing Point operating with illegal parts so, what are you talking about ..

      1. Roger N’out
        14th August 2020, 7:49

        End of last year FIA makes secret agreement with Ferrari that appears to result in them being down on power, and affects their ability to qualify. Five races into new season and FIA announces a ban on Certain high performance engine modes which may result in closer qualifying, which may benefit Ferrari given theirs is so much down on previous, it will definitely be most detrimental to Mercedes. And yet quali mode has existed for how many seasons in which it could of been banned but they chose to do so only a handful of races after Ferrari seem to have fallen back? You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to think that there might be something fishy going on…..

      2. Mercedes supplied information to RP last year, when the rules allowed them to. They cannot be held responsible for what RP do with that information after that. Whether RP have actually broken the rules or not, Mercedes are guilty of nothing in this regard.

        1. And also in January this year, when the rules did not allow them to.

  6. my guess is, FIA found out that Mercedes could be cheating when they inspected the Ferrari engine. Mercedes is changing the engine modes during a single lap in the race. it stores excess fuel on braking, and uses that under accelerating out of the corners. i said it 8 ears ago, they should ban this engine maps altogether. there is no value for road cars, and it wil ensure customer teams have the same power output available that the factory team.

    1. Well I’m curious. Just how do you think road cars ignition and fuel are regulated nowadays?

    2. Mercedes is changing the engine modes during a single lap in the race. it stores excess fuel on braking, and uses that under accelerating out of the corners.

      Do you have any evidence of that?

      That would be impossible without having somewhere to store the fuel, which would be very obvious on inspection of the system. In the tiny space between the fuel flow sensor and the injector, you physically cannot store that much fuel without an additional vessel in place, which is something you are not allowed to have.

  7. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    13th August 2020, 14:52

    Do I understand it correctly if the FIA wants teams to use only 1 engine mode throughout the entire weekend? (Qualifying and race obviously, but there’s little point in using it in FP’s I guess).

    While I get that it will limit Mercedes in being the top dog with their beat-mode, doesn’t it all average out under the line anyway? Honda also has a qualimode (as boasted by Dr Helmut Marko), same with Renault: they’re just not as strong as the one from Mercedes. But let’s say Mercedes turns it down for the sake of having the same mode through both important sessions, competitors are also required to do so. If you have the most powerful and reliable engine, you’re still going to end up on top.

    Sure, the gap between Mercedes and the bulls might not be a full second, but still big enough to be a dominant force. So that’s the point?

    1. @barryfromdownunder right now, it’s not entirely clear what the FIA means because their letter to the teams is too vague for anybody to clearly understand what they mean.

      The letter includes the statement “in order to address the above concerns in the future, we will be requiring that during the qualifying session and the race, the PU should operate in a single mode”.

      However, the FIA’s letter does not make clear what they think a “mode” should be, as that there is no formal definition of an engine mode in the regulations. Furthermore, the wording of that sentence is so loose that nobody knows right now whether the FIA means a single mode for both qualifying and the race, or whether they mean one mode for qualifying and one for the race (because the way that sentence is written means both interpretations are valid).

      1. There is no one mode to regulate, they cant really force manufacturers to use one mode… Every team uses some sort of different modes during even the race! All thanx to engine reliability/amounts allocated… More so to preserve tyres as well… This is really silly given that they are almost heading for a fixed engine power regulation with this, what next? spec series?

      2. As a thought, do the drivers have “safe modes”, e.g. for driving in the pit lane? If so, would restricting drivers to using one mode in both Qualifying and the Race mean they can’t use those safe modes?

        1. Those are all very viable questions @drycrust. They have “safe mode” to drive the lap to the grid, to drive the inlap after the race, and a setting to be able to get out of the pitlane after a pitstop. And then they have various levels of power for either pushing when they are trying to catch up, or going lower power to save fuel.
          And behind the SC they also need a different engine mode as far as I understand.

          I can see quite a mess to sort out there.

          1. Will he interesting to see how this goes, as you mention there are many modes used throughout the race.. over regulation complication and continued incompetence from the fia

    2. Do I understand it correctly if the FIA wants teams to use only 1 engine mode throughout the entire weekend?

      That’s the way I’ve read it as well. IMO it’s misleading to call this “qualifying mode” when it applies to the entire race weekend. Very hopeful that they abandon this directive.

      1. I believe FIA is bannig the use of any mode not being used during the race, this would mean that it is actually the qualifying mode the only one that will no longer be used. Race modes will stay intact. I also believe this could make qualifying closer and maing it harder for Mercedes to secure the first row in every race.

  8. Hm, so what would happen if a team has a “max power/overtake/attack” mode that the drivers can use to overtake, get the maximum out of the car before a pitstop for an undercut, or to chase down an opponent (see Norris storming through in the late phases of the Autrian races) that also gets used in qualifying?

    Also, I rather like that they can get maximalized settings for a few laps to get the most out of these cars for qualifying. If the complexity is the isseu, why not just set a limit to the different kind of power modes, much like they went with limiting gearbox rates a few years back.

    That way everyone can choose what route to take.

    1. Yeah not really enthusiastic about this rule either @bascb, it feels like the FIA once again making a not quite thought through change, sped up for political reasons,and using dubious arguments.

      Oh well, part of F1 as we knew it for a long time, I suppose.

  9. Also, the thing about “racing unaided” being used here is just as much nonsensical as the “moving part” when applied to the mass damper IMO

  10. If an engine has a management unit, it will by extension always have modes.
    The FIA is attempting to muddle up issues to create artificial competition.
    First the restrict fuel flow now their not happy some teams can still generate much power within those limits.
    They must give sufficient time to have manufacturers re calibrate their engines.

    1. I, and several others, have said this before: fuel flow limits are no more “artificial competition” than RPM or capacity limits. It accomplishes the same thing as they do on a naturally aspirated (non-turbo) engine.

  11. What a bunch of…..

    Total nonsense!
    Hope this is fought to the very end and is prevented.

    Anyway – take away quali mode – and all – Honda included, will be slower. This will not help them catch Mercedes.

    Hope Mercedes and Lewis give them all The Finger and leaves F1 in the end of 2020.

    1. @dallein I hope they leave F1 after 2020 too, it would make F1 much more enjoyable

      1. Would it really though. Then it would be redbull winning all the races without anyone challenging them. Actually no, just verstappen

        1. Not true, ferrari can be a challenge for red bull, and from what I saw this year there’s other teams pushing, like force india, mclaren and renault.

  12. If the FIA was in charge of regulating Track and Field they would forced Usain Bolt to run the race backwards.

    1. Bingo! Or forced Liverpool to defend 2 goals starting halfway through the season.

    2. Usain Bolt is in a spec series.

  13. Article 27.1 of the sporting regulations states “the driver must drive the car alone and unaided”.

    This one gets overused. Isn’t everyone bar the Flintstones in violation then?

    1. Absolutely. It sounds like they are just throwing some mud and hoping it sticks. One team preferred to settle rather than prove their engine was above board, so others might be cheating too? Claiming that running a different power mode counts as a driver aid seems like a stretch to me. Do they think the modes have some sort of traction control element built in too? Surely they should be more specific with the accusations instead of muddying the reputation of other manufacturers?

    2. Totally agree. Have always disliked this article.

  14. Even the normal road cars nowdays have Engines modes. Sport, Sport+, Eco…etc. Supercars have even more Engine modes. FIA is making Formula 1 as less road relevant as possible.
    Also if they were sincere to ban “non compliant” Engine modes then they should have dont it last year when Ferrari was clearly doing it.

    1. @amg44
      This sounds so ironic. Actually, there’s nothing less road relevant than a ‘qualy mode’.
      Of course there are different engine modes even in road cars. But none of them is optimized towards maximum performance for a couple of minutes and then not used again.
      Those high-performance modes are just like the old qualy engines: amazingly powerful for a single lap – useless in the race

      1. @srga91 strictly speaking, there are some supercars which do in fact have that sort of engine mode for hot lapping – the Porsche 918 is equipped with such a power mode, which is designed to deliver maximum power output at the expense of not recharging the battery system.

      2. @srga91 Ever heard of Launch control in almost all performance cars now, Extra Engine boost at the press of a button in some AMG cars, Ludicrous engine mode in Tesla cars. These are just some examples and i am sure there are many more.

      3. Actually I’ve had cars with launch control where evrything is optimised for a very short burst and according to the user manual can reduce engine life if overused.

      4. @srga91 that’s not true. You don’t even have to go to supercars, many modern turbocharged cars have an “overboost” mode that gives extra performance for some seconds (15-20 usually), for instance to help overtaking.

  15. Thinking of what George said, and comparing it to running, he is right. A 100m sprint athlete uses different shoes from the marathon runner.
    But don’t stop there. The qualification for a marathon is not based on running 100m, but running other marathons. And shorter distances (e.g. 800m) you run the same distance in a qualification run(s) to enter into the main event.

    Thus, don’t get rid of quali mode, but get rid of 1 lap qualifying. Maybe qualifying should be a race where the same engine modes are required as in the race.
    A pity that the teams just vetoed this idea.

    1. @coldfly While the idea of more races is enticing it would seem to be counter to the efforts to reduce cost. If you’re going to have qualifying races then you’ll also need to consider significantly increasing the engine allotment for a season because it’s guaranteed to result in more failures. I for one don’t want to watch cars constantly queuing up behind the safety car or races being won because the leaders engine blows up on the last lap.

    2. A 100m sprint athlete uses different shoes from the marathon runner.

      That reminded me of Ayrton Senna’s interview after the 1992 Portuguese GP when he compared Prost’s veto that prevented both from being teammates as to a 100m sprint where one uses runnings shoes and the rest uses lead shoes.

    3. TBH I’d love to see qualifying races. I also think it would have benefits in other areas.

      My own preference would be to have a 3 part qualifying. Q1, pretty much same as we have now. However, it determines which qualifying race you take part in. If you finish in the to ten, you are in the top ten shootout race. Others are in the lower qualifying race.

      Each of those races are run over, say, quarter to half distance, and cars start in a random order. Any car which fails to finish starts from the pit lane.

      Aside from letting us see more racing, a major benefit I believe would come from improvements to overtaking ability. This would come from 2 areas. Firstly, as all teams, including the top ones, would need to overtake fairly often to do well (as they wouldn’t be starting at or near the front in every qualifying race) the engineers (i.e. very smart people) would work too improve their cars’ ability to overtake. Secondly, there would be pressure from them on the FIA to introduce rules to promotor overtaking, with their engineers working with the FIA to make this happen.

  16. I hope Mercedes walk away in 2022 and take their engines with them…

    1. JR Love (@dermechaniker)
      13th August 2020, 16:14

      I’m right there with you.

      The Pinnacle of Motorsport is looking like it’s being flattened to allow everyone to stand on it.

    2. Hear hear

    3. @slowmo @dermechaniker I hope they do too. F1 would be more exciting without them, I for one won’t miss them

  17. Maybe FIA should only Monitor a series where carry, and civic race. They are not complex. Very simple

  18. The FIA have been on fire this year regarding adjustments of the regulations. First, they ban DAS, then they stop clone cars. Now, they want to ban the teams’ high performance engine modes. As another comment on this topic says, the reason for banning this is just ridiculous and a showing of extreme incompetence by the FIA. I am a huge Mercedes fan, but the reason is utterly stupid to hear. Mercedes almost reached burnout levels in trying to develop an engine that could compete with Ferrari for this season, and now they could lose the benefits from the efforts they made. Now, I will not say this if Mercedes is running an engine that does not comply with the Technical Regulations.

    The FIA could get into some trouble here from the teams. I don’t want to imagine a butterfly effect of this, especially that teams have not been satisfied with the handling of the Ferrari engine matter and the fact that Renault, Ferrari and Racing Point have appeals about the RP20 case.

    As I said in another comment on another thread, who says that off track action is not spicy enough than the on track action?

  19. Prepare for a repeat of the Launch Code fiasco. Look at the amount of buttons on the steering wheel nowadays. Will be fairly simple to ‘hide’ a quali mode I would think.

    I also wonder if this ‘rule’ will affect teams turning down their engine settings to protect engines in races when they have nothing to fight for?

    The unintended consequence of this ‘rule’ will be more engine failures and therefore higher costs and subsequent grid penalties.

    No wonder Wolff doesn’t want to commit Mercedes to the new Concorde Agreement. I could quite easily see Mercedes jumping to FE. After all EV is the future now. Why spend Billions on V6T when manufacturers already know fossil fuel ICE’s are going to be outlawed?

  20. Can somehow clarify the “driver must drive alone and unaided” thing? You all heard Norris being totally guided with all the “scenario 7 and 8” directions by his engineer (I’m setting Norris just as a memorable example, all drivers receive similar guidelines).

    1. Much like the white lines around the edge of the circuit, the ‘driving alone and unaided’ rule is usually ignored, and because everyone is doing it nobody gets in trouble for it.

  21. If you want the driver to “drive alone and unaided”, get rid of pit to car communication (except for safety, crash situations). How many times do we hear the driver ask for more speed, and the engineer then reads out a “cheat code”, for dial and switch settings, and also tells them how long they can use it. If the driver can’t remember all the settings, tough, maybe the car is to complicated.

    1. Already been suggested by Hamilton and Alonso a few years ago; as well as putting a number of the dials and buttons away from the steering wheel, so the drivers would need to take their hand off the wheel. From memory it didn’t go down to well as the argument was that it would disadvantage the sim generation of drivers. And obviously suit the Hams of this world.

    2. @tambeau NO! They tried that a few years back, and it. was. horrible. The communication improves the strategies, the racing and the insight into what is going on.

      That stupid rule should just be scrapped.

      1. Lol, something along the lines of:

        Lewis “how was that start clutch setting?”
        Engineer “sorry can’t comment on that”
        Lewis “ok, how’s the weather?”
        Engineer “very good”

      2. @losd and the insight to what’s going on makes it more predictable. What they did a few years ago was a disaster because of how they went about it. Done properly, it could work

        1. I don’t want it to “work”. It shouldn’t be done at all. More insight is a good thing. Trying to remove predictability by hiding information from viewers is just silly. Then they might as well just announce the result after two hours of black screens.

    3. Rather than banning verbal communications between the team and driver like they tried in the past, why not just ban (remote) telemetry communication between the car and the team (say they can still download data when the car returns to the pits) … wouldn’t that make the skill and ‘feel’ of the car the driver has more relevant ?

  22. Honestly I am so impressed by the quality of You don’t have the resources of the other motorsport sites, and yet you get scoop after scoop, it truly is remarkable. Thank you so much guys. Keep it up.

    1. Many thanks Timi!

  23. Would I be alone in suspecting that Ferrari do not yet have a qually-mode with their revised (legal) engine?
    I also thought that the FIA had promised in the past not to meddle with the rules mid-season.

    1. Hiland (@flyingferrarim)
      13th August 2020, 16:27

      FIA has a severe case of amnesia… but overall, I like the idea of banning the qually mode as it adds “zero” benefit to the racing. If the series and teams are serious of reducing costs, this can help in that area. Although, with that said, I am against this rule change taking place mid season. This should be implemented for the start of next year and let the teams continue the use this year!

    2. Ferrari, haas and alfa romeo have all admitted they dont have any qualifying modes since Ferrari aren’t allowed to cheat anymore. Of course when ferrari did have their magic modes for qualifying last year the fia didnt suddenly want to ban them last year.bits utterly ridiculous and has been announced to help ferrari and hurt Mercedes

      1. Hiland (@flyingferrarim)
        14th August 2020, 1:51

        I think this has very little to do about Ferrari and more about Mercedes gap with the entire field to be honest. A full second is insane (at Silverstone), at that point Mercedes should just start another series! Plus, the massive difference between Qually pace and Race pace is pretty massive (more so than previous years). To me thats an eye opener that something needs to drawn back or else it makes the series look bad and noncompetitive IMO!

  24. F the FIA and the little french midget who runs it.

  25. This is obviously done to avoid the usual Mercedes washout that we are seeing this year in Qualy, but this will not hurt them so much.. maybe it will only reduce the gap (it has been like a second in Q3) but they will continue to get Pole.
    I would be more worried about Williams… they are showing some promising performances in Q1 to get to Q2, with this they will lose that performance difference with their competitors, and that it just sad.

  26. Obvious attempt to cut Mercedes’ advantage, but the parc ferme rule is still valid. If you can’t alter the car between qually and race, then you can’t, simple as.

    1. Tor, the regulations state that the parc ferme rules stop applying at the start of the formation lap, so the parc ferme rules are not applicable – which is why the FIA themselves are not trying to justify the change on the grounds of the parc ferme rules.

  27. Can’t say I object to this. They don’t run a different downforce specification from qualifying to the race, they don’t have qualifying only tyres any more, and they can’t adjust suspension, so why do they need to run the power unit in a none race spec for qualifying?

    We had a race one where because Alonso took a corner flat out he confused the software and it thought he was at a different part or the track. That’s ridiculous and pretty much sounds like a driver aid managing the cars power availability corner to corner.

    Set the power unit to run in a linear manner like a road car does and have the throttle pedal determine how much power that is not a software map. The team who builds the best power unit still gets that advantage and the driver who manages their foot best gets the efficiency advantage.

    1. We had a race one where because Alonso took a corner flat out he confused the software and it thought he was at a different part or the track.

      That was qualifying for the 2017 Belgian GP where he took Pouhon flat-out and it caused the engine to run out of electrical deployment long before the end of the lap.

    2. How would they control the level of MGUK electrical harvesting? The level of deployment? The level of direct MGUH to crank, or level direct to ERS store?

      Engine modes are needed. This directive is stupidly worded.

  28. FIA living up to their Ferrari International Assistance reputation again by devising a rule that seems to target Mercedes. Remind me who Jean Todt used to work for again.

    1. The same team as where his son is ensconced now?

    2. @gardenfella72 the FIA are trying to stop Mercedes domination exactly as they tried (successfully) to stop Ferrari in 2005

      1. Jamie B, was Todt leading the FIA in 2005?

  29. @philipgb Except road cars don’t work like that either, very common to have multiple preset ‘maps’ and also allow further customisation, that change the way the car behaves especially the throttle!

    1. @ju88sy

      But they aren’t mapped corner to corner for you’re drive. The engine mapping for almost all road cars won’t be aware of where you are on a route

      They adjust their mappings for things like fuel quality, air density, and for cruising speeds typically. If I press my foot flat to the floor it doesn’t matter where on the road I am like F1 mappings do

  30. RocketTankski
    13th August 2020, 16:37

    Why don’t you just make ten faster and make ten be the top number and make that a little faster?

  31. So no more Max saying ‘can you give me everything’, and no more last five banzai laps from Norris. Just a nice steady and predictable race for all.

  32. I don’t have an issue with the banning of performance improving concepts with the idea of trying to equalise performance. Especially if copying is to be banned but that is another story! 😜

    What I do have an issue with is the fact that it appears to have been unilaterally imposed mid season with some fairly tenous face-saving reasons. This is not a safety issue for instance. There will be a lot of research dollars spent on these modes with the expectation of utilising them over a complete season. If this directive was stated before then the PU manufacturers may have chosen to spend the money elsewhere with a better cost-benefit ratio.

    This change must have been in the works for a while since some comprehensive policing systems will need to be developed to ensure that all breaches are spotted and more importantly that all non-breaches are ignored. I don’t have a huge amount of faith here given the Ferrari PU outcome.

  33. Kill the golden goose, why don’t ya? F1 is doomed.

  34. The saddest part is that the FIA seem to enjoy their own BS shenanigans in the media. They seem to be interested in spicing things up, at the detriment of the successful teams.

  35. The banning of Renault’s ‘tuned mass damper’ suspension system in 2006 to help Ferrari and now this to help Ferrari. Well done, FIA!

  36. It is the duty of each competitor to satisfy the FIA technical delegate and the stewards that his automobile complies with these regulations in their entirety at all times during an event

    Apparently Ferrari blew the whistle with regard to what was done and what can be done beyond the regulations in these qualy modes. The settlement implies that they will help the FIA in the monitoring activities of the F1 power units so maybe they have played a role in all this.

    That doesn’t mean that Mercedes and the rest of the manufacturers are going beyond the regulations but my guess is that Ferrari probably brought the FIA’s attention to something that they cannot regulate similar to the fuel flow issue and rushed them to ban the qualy modes mid-season.

    1. @tifoso1989 I have some doubts about that explanation though, because it would then beg the question of why the FIA had to wait until partway into the season in order to change the regulations.

      Given the investigation that the private settlement between the FIA and Ferrari must have occurred at least six months ago, you would have expected Ferrari to have communicated that information to the FIA months ago.

      With the delayed start to this season and the negotiations over the rules, you would have thought that the FIA could have quite easily incorporated this change into the regulations before this season began – it would seem odd for the FIA to sit back and allow half a dozen races to pass if there was such a loophole present, rather than moving to change the regulations before the season began so the cars would be compliant from the start.

      It also raises the question of why the FIA was initially proposing this change should go through in 2021, only to then suddenly change their minds within 24 hours and to rush it through now. It seems very unlikely that the information they would have had to make this decision will have changed radically within the space of less than a day – if it was a particularly detailed technical issue, you would have thought that the FIA would have wanted to study that detail for longer than a few hours, if only because it would surely take more time than that to understand the issue and come up with a coherent response.

      It has led some to wonder whether this is instead a case of the FIA instead trying to intimidate teams into signing the new commercial agreement Liberty Media have put forward, and which some teams – particularly Mercedes – have been raising questions over. It is a suggestion that has gained impetus as, behind the scenes, the “soft” deadline was quietly moved to coincide with the Belgian GP, making people wonder if the two are linked in any way.

      1. anon,
        I thought Ferrari blew the whistle lately and not before the start of the season. However the 24 hours time frame to rush a decision like this by the FIA doesn’t make sense though as you mentioned.
        That’s a very sharp observation indeed. Thank you !

      2. Well said anon, I am more bothered with the way this went than with the idea (though the letter leaves a lot of implementation and therefore feasibility unclear).

    2. so because ferrari cheated and were found out Mercedes who have never been found to have done anything dodgy must be punished. Well how about the fia announce what ferrari were doing last year

    3. The settlement implies that they [(Ferrari)] will help the FIA in the monitoring activities of the F1 power units so maybe they have played a role in all this.

      I hope I’m misunderstanding this, but Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) seems to be saying Ferrari have been given the right by the FIA to peer-review the engine management software of other teams? Isn’t that software confidential? That sounds Lance Armstrong being asked to do drug testing on cyclists at the Tour de France. This sounds highly irregular. If that is correct, then when did the teams agree to this and which team peer-reviews Ferrari’s software?

  37. If their goal truly is to reduce engine complexities why not limit the number of modes available. We saw scenario 7 & 8 with lando… so why not just reduce the number of possible scenarios to about 3. A full ban is off and jumping from about 7 modes to a unified one in the span of a race break isn’t sensible at all and shows lack of awareness

  38. Every time the FIA makes a rules change, a bunch a people come out saying they’re ruining the sport and followers will walk away. Yet, pretty much all of them tune in to watch the next race.
    Don’t worry – Merc will still be the fastest, since they don’t derive their advantage from their engine alone.

  39. It is the duty of each competitor to satisfy the FIA technical delegate and the stewards that his automobile complies with these regulations in their entirety at all times during an event.

    Loophole – put a female driver in a car with as many engine modes as you like. She won’t have any duty to comply for “his automobile”.

    1. The problem I see is when the team’s representative has explained something for the fifth time, each time with cascading “dumber dumbed down” terminology, and the Steward or technical delegate still doesn’t understand what the team representative is talking about.

  40. It wont be a big deal. A single engine program with the required mapings (8?) fixed (like the gearbox and ratios). Up to the driver to choose which mapping at what moment.

  41. There’s a similaritIty with motogp a few years ago
    phase 1 – A standard ECU was mandated (F1 has this). The top teams with mucho resources had fancy software that could do all manner of tricks so we move to …
    phase 2 – Standard software. This was very firmly resisted by the top teams who were told to put up or go. They stayed.
    F1 needs to move to this phase and introduce standard software for all entrants. Sure, they can apply all manner of data via maps but so can everyone else and no-one has exclusive use of any features. Of course, it is highly unlikely that such a simple and effective solution will ever be adopted.
    Its only the same as asking teams to create a spreadsheet to do a job where they all are only allowed to use Excel. The better users will create the better solutions within the same rules, which is the premise of F1 isn’t it?

  42. I’m wondering more of this has been brought about by confidential agreement between Mercedes and the FIA so they don’t look too closely at the RP “copying” situation. Lol lol.

    All jokes aside, everyone will have to abandon their qualy mode so all teams will lose performance for qualifying (yes even Renault) so I don’t see this doing a great deal to change anything other than the sheer joy for us punters watching drivers wrestle their cars at their absolute limit being taken away.

    I do feel sorry for Williams and for Racing Point (and of course Mclaren next year) as they are being penalised for having the foresight to align themselves with the best PU for F1.

    At a point where we have some exciting change coming up in 2022, now is not the time for the FIA to start making a lot of silly moves so of course it has to be expected that they will.

  43. Sounds like a step in the right direction. To me it does not look like using the throttle of a F1 car requires any skill at all nowadays. If you look at the on board where they overlay the throttle, you can see that 90% of the lap the throttle is pushed all the way in. The software decides how much power to apply each corner. I don’t believe the drivers are driving the cars unaided at all.

  44. I think if I was the engine manufacturer I’d just set up a 2 stage throttle so that it has an indent the drivers can feel, that way normal racing would be done at 90% throttle then for overtaking and quali push past the indent to give it full beans.

  45. In a world turning “grey” by the day.
    F1 is now in the dark ages.
    A. This isn’t Disney World.
    B. This isn’t Las Vegas casino land.
    Keep on keeping on FIA & watch the already massacred F1 fan base find an alternative buzz.
    F1 has a fantastic history of fascinating innovation of racing cars.
    Keep on restricting this restricting that, banning this, banning that.
    Stifle innovation. Cancel evolution. No problem.
    Go watch Formula Renault or any of the other 1 size fits all series.
    Thank you for this the very best F1 site in the world.

  46. Mercedes fans: “But moooooooom! Ferraaaaariiii!!”

    1. @pironitheprovocateur the only problem is that your own complaints about Mercedes, particularly if Ferrari are criticised, rather make it appear that you are guilty of the same sin you claim others are guilty of.

    2. Ferrari fans: “But moooooooom! Merrcceeddeess!!”

  47. How come it takes years to agree new regulations but the FIA can make massive changes on a whim during a season. Millions of pounds has been wasted by the manufacturers developing qualifying modes. Without being able to change engines modes we would never have got the excitement of Lando passing all those cars at the the end of the Austrian races. I don’t get this decision.

  48. I understand the principle of this rules but I disagree with it.
    I think this aim to equalize conditions in qualify and race is a mistake, if the pace in the race is exactly the same as in the grid we are removing one more point of interest to the race. Having cars that behave better in race trim than in qualify is usually good for the race.

  49. Deeply concerning. X-post from the F1 Fanvoice Forum:

    We’re just inching ever closer to a spec series. How much excitement is there when you hear the radio call for an engine mode switch in the heat of battle? Or when a driver is giving it their all and begging for a mode, and you can almost feel the team boss weighing the risk of letting them off the hook for a few laps or turns knowing that the engine could blow up and cost them everything? Go back and watch Lando Norris’s final lap from the Styrian GP. Best bit of the season thus far in my mind. I still get that tingly feeling watching it now.

    I think most of us have been in a situation where you’re pushing hard to win a competition. You’re giving it your all, every bit of strength and determination and grit, and when you think you’ve given it everything you’ve got, left nothing on the table, you find that extra little bit that pushes you to victory. This is the human element. It’s the reason we don’t simply run simulations and award the championship based on that. I think engine modes let that human factor shine through for the engineering side of F1. It’s impossible to televise that eureka moment that an F1 engineer might have while they’re sitting at a CAD workstation, but this is as close as we get. I believe it’s every bit as important to the sport as watching a driver give it their all.

  50. I don’t agree with banning engine quali modes in general but they should definitely not be banning them mid-season.

    The only valid reason to change the rules mid-season is for safety issues, this certainly does not fall into that category.

    You can have rule clarifications mid-season, whereby a team who has been exploiting a grey area of the rules is told that it isn’t really allowed but this change doesn’t fall in to that category either.

    Every team has different engine modes they use, with the most powerful and aggressive modes used in qualifying, it has been this way for years and to suddenly ban it mid-season is just not right in my opinion.

    The real reason for this change is that yet again Mercedes have done a much better job than every other team and so the FIA are trying to eliminate some of the advantages they have legally earned through hard work and ingenuity.

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