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Tempers blow hot in F1's latest engine dispute

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Andrew Benson | 18:34 UK time, Friday, 8 July 2011

A dreary Friday at the British Grand Prix, with limited on-track running because of the wet weather, was enlivened by a public row in a news conference between the bosses of Formula 1's leading two teams.

McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh and Red Bull's Christian Horner disputed the rights and wrongs of the latest ruling from motorsport's governing body the FIA on off-throttle blowing of diffusers.

If that sounds technical, it's because it is - very. But it's also very important, so please bear with me while I explain the complicated bit as simply as possible.

Over the last year, this technology, which was pioneered by Red Bull last summer, has been increasingly prevalent in F1 because of the dramatic effects it has on improving a car's aerodynamics, and therefore its cornering speed and lap time.

Basically, teams have been blowing exhaust gases over the rear floor of their cars even when the driver is off the accelerator going into a corner.

This ensures downforce remains consistent, whereas if you blow your diffuser only when the driver is on the throttle, it produces instability when a driver least wants it - on the entry to a corner.

There are two types of blowing of a diffuser - hot and cold.

Cold-blowing is what was pioneered by Renault and Red Bull in 2010 - the throttles are left open but fuel is not introduced, so only air goes through the exhaust.

hornwhit595.jpgHorner (left) and Whitmarsh clashed over the new regulations. Photo: Getty Images

Hot-blowing - which generates much more energy and therefore downforce - is when fuel is introduced and burnt but the ignition is retarded to stop the engine pushing the car on while the driver is slowing it down.

Leading engineers say hot-blowing can give an advantage of as much as second a lap over no blowing at all, while cold-blowing is worth about 0.3-0.4secs.

The row started when the FIA decided to introduce a limit of 10% of throttle when the driver was not pressing the accelerator.

Many of the teams objected to that. Mercedes - which supplies McLaren, Mercedes and Force India - argued that they should be allowed to introduce fuel on what is called the overrun, which is when the engine is acting as a brake, for reliability reasons.

Renault objected to this, claiming that it meant Mercedes teams would be getting an advantage, and arguing they should be allowed to cold-blow to provide them with the equivalent advantage. This is what was allowed on Friday at Silverstone.

But Renault's rivals object because the French engine company has now been allowed to have a 50% throttle opening when the driver is entering the corner.

This is what Whitmarsh calls "a very substantial performance benefit". To which Horner responds: "Why is it any more of a performance benefit than fired overrun?"

The irony in all this is that sources say Renault were only using 45% open throttles even before the ruling. If that is true, it means the new rule actually allows them more off-throttle blowing than before.

The Mercedes teams, by contrast, have been "constrained" in terms of the hot-blowing they were doing, according to Whitmarsh. How this all affects Ferrari - who are also believed to have been hot-blowing - is unclear.

Of course, the big question is how those of us watching can be sure that we are watching a level playing field.

I sought out a leading, highly experienced engineer for an answer. He says, in a nutshell, that we can't. But as a reassurance, he did add that "Charlie is very experienced at not having the wool pulled over his eyes."

Charlie being Charlie Whiting, F1's race director.

As a protest against the new ruling, the Mercedes teams ran in second practice with 50% open throttle during braking. Then, there was an explosive exchange in the drivers' briefing with Whiting, with McLaren's Lewis Hamilton particularly animated on the matter.

And now all the engine manufacturers have been summoned to another meeting with Whiting.

seb595.jpgWill the new rules put a dampener on Red Bull's domination of the 2011 season? Photo: Reuters

I would imagine this will run into Saturday and possibly race day, too. F1 loves nothing more than a good row over technology.

For those interested, here is an edited transcript of the row between Whitmarsh and Horner. Those who want to read the whole thing will find it on the FIA website. (http://www.fia.com).

The argument started when I asked whether there was a level playing field and whether this was the end of the matter.

Horner: "First of all there was a technical directive that effectively turned it all off. That was met with reticence by the manufacturers, and it has been very much a manufacturer issue.

"Certain teams were then allowed to have fired overrun, to fuel their overrun, of which there were also secondary benefits, through the exhaust plumes and thrusts that creates.

"Renault presented their position to the FIA - and let's not forget this is an extraordinarily complex matter - to demonstrate that precedent is there that - for purposes of throttle blip (when changing down the gears) and reliability - cold-air blowing, open throttle, was a necessary part of the operation of their engine otherwise it would cause serious issues.

"It would be unfair to allow fired overrun and not allow the same parameters for another engine manufacturer.

"It is a very difficult job for the FIA to pick their way through this and I think all credit to them, they have looked to be as fair, balanced and equitable as they decreed they would be, to come up with a solution that they have.

"We are not totally happy with the solution that we have, that's for sure. I'm sure Martin isn't with his and I'm sure there are a lot of conspiracies in the paddock.

"But that's just circumstantial at the end of the day. The fundamentals are that the engine manufacturers have been treated in a fair and equitable manner."

Whitmarsh: "I'm sure people set out to do that. There have been about six technical directives on the subject so far and when the goalposts are moving part-way through a practice session, it makes it quite difficult.

"To do this in a fairly cloudy, ambiguous and changing way, inevitably in a competitive environment every team feels it's been hard done by. At the moment, potentially a lot of teams will end up making arguments to cold-blow.

"Renault have been in that domain for some time. Other teams haven't and don't have that experience. We are talking a very substantial performance benefit here."

Horner: "Why is it any more of a performance benefit than fired overrun? At the end of the day, Renault is allowed a fired over-run but it can't for reliability purposes."

Whitmarsh: "No, but clearly if under braking the throttles are open 50%, it is a reasonable benefit. It is a lot of gas going through. I would imagine all engines will end up doing that, which isn't what was envisaged when it was said we are going to stop engine blowing."

Horner: "So Mercedes engines aren't firing on overrun?"

Whitmarsh: "They've been constrained."

Horner:
"As have Renault."

Whitmarsh: "Providing the constraints are the same for everyone, but clearly the fact we're having this discussion, it's messy.

"The intention people believed was that we were going to stop exhausts blowing when the driver didn't have his foot on the throttle. I think that was a simple concept. But that concept has been deflected. Therefore it hasn't been clear.

"The fact these things were only coming out in the course of today [Friday] is fairly extraordinary. But nonetheless I'm sure we'll remain calm and pick our way through.

"But probably better to make changes to the regulations between seasons and not in seasons, and to make regulations that are clear and unambiguous.

"At the moment a lot of people are getting emotional about the situation and I can understand why it's frustrating for the engineers not to know what it is we are allowed to do. By cold blowing, you're getting an extra 30 or 40 points of rear downforce in braking and that's quite an attractive thing, so if you can do it you're going to do it."

Horner: "Let's not make any mistake here. Firing on overrun, the thrust that that generates through the exhaust, generates a bigger effect. Let's just be absolutely clear on that."

Whitmarsh: "And that's been largely contained. A lot of those strategies are not permissible now."

Horner: "I read the technical directive that four-cylinder fired over-run was permissible for certain competitors and that includes your engine. As far as we understood, before Renault were allowed their parameters ,obviously there was a significant advantage going to any Mercedes-powered team.

"As you can see, it's a massively complex subject and the one thing Martin and I will agree on is it should have been addressed at the end of the year. But unfortunately here we are."

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    A lot of people complain about this sort of stuff and it's the exact kind of thing you can rely on Eddie Jordan to always have some loud opinions on, but I love this sort of thing. Getting right into the technical nitty gritty and getting a fascinating insight into the challenges faced by engineers and how the teams have to bend the rules as much as possible. Personally I think it's a better way of looking at it than just complaining like all the Captain Hindsights that I'm sure will also comment.

  • Comment number 2.

    Blown diffusers, off throttle, on throttle, cold, hot-- I can't keep up! What happened to the talk of blown diffusers being removed altogether before this season even started. It's already complicated enough without changing the rules midway through the season. Lets finish this year off and then completely ban them for next year.

  • Comment number 3.

    Please get rid of any engine blowing there is and anything that gives a substancial amount of downforce when cornering-I WANT TO SEE THE DRIVERS STRUGGLE FOR GRIP because it will be more exciting for us. Redbull clearly are taking more than they can chew.They clearly have the best car and are not even in sight for any other team they should not be allowed more blowing.

  • Comment number 4.

    if ive understood that correctly RB can now use 50% throttle while the accelator is not depressed when the have only been using 45% up to now. Hence no affect on them. Whilst anyone Hot blowin (Ferrari, Mclaren) are now limited to 10% hence making them slower as a results of the ruling? so all that as happened is RB advantage has been strenghted??????? all because the FIA do not want to upset Renault, a big invester in the sport!

  • Comment number 5.

    Bloody marvellous ain'it?? Red Bull only should have the advantage while the others struggle along on what they got.

  • Comment number 6.

    I agree with livelylefty on this one, the amount of "it's to confusing for the spectator" coming from the team principles was in fact insulting to the average F1 fan. I think Tony Fernandes should learn a little about cars if he wants to run a car company.

    Garffy, breaks in the diffuser were banned which stopped people blowing directly into the diffuser, but Red Bull worked out they could blow the diffuser from the sides. Without specifying the location of the exhausts, as they will for next year, this was always likely to be exploited. I think the surprise was how well it's been exploited, but then lots of things on the Red Bull are clever, particularly how far they can lift the rear without raising the centre of gravity too high. Anyway, I digress.

    I think the FIA have wussed out on this one. Surely Ferrari will protest after not receiving the special treatment other teams have received. I mean, the engines are virtually unchanged from 2009 when these practices didn't happen (a McLaren never sounded like that in 2009) so I don't believe the engines can't operate without retarded ignition or cold blowing.

  • Comment number 7.

    i agree matt red bull dominating like this will make people turn their teles off in droves, just like the schumacher era! an i say that as a ferrari fan lol , Key, Jenson an lewis can really do it!!!!!! by Jake an the team all weekend! when they will never stand a chance an less it rains!

  • Comment number 8.

    Great posts throughout the day, Andrew; most of what I've found out has been from your and others' tweets and posts on BBC website/ other forums.

    Just wondering how you folks in the media were kept upto date? Was it announced to you about the change (whenever it happened) allowing Renault to change % of exhaust blowing?

    @1 and 6.
    Don't disagree at all about the technical aspects of F1. Regarding the 'average' F1 viewer/ fan, most of this would probably bypass them completely, it's largely only us enthusiasts who sniff around for this stuff.

    And this doesn't seem, to me anyway, clever innovations, its just wrangling about how to argue about the rules enough to maximise your own teams benefit.

    I'm not going to Silverstone, but I've been looking forward to this race so much. So much for all the posturing at the fans' forum last week, it's back to the infighting and the FIA spinning round in circles.

  • Comment number 9.

    If im reading this right, then RB are fighting to keep their system because it offers parity against the hot-blowing system Mercedes and co have. So why are they getting a hard time about this?

    I think the FIA increasing the off throttle limit for Renault shows that having done the math, thats the fairest option! Everyone else seems to have had an unfair advantage until now, RB have beat them despite this instead of the other way around.

  • Comment number 10.

    Hispania need to put in a complaint and get the rest of the field banned!

    or

    Allow an anything goes approach and drop the fuel load by 20 kg.

    BTW I believe this has already been banned by stating that exhaust gases must exit at the rear of the car from a pipe, think I read it here!

    P.S. What no Hamilton comments!

  • Comment number 11.

    Will the new rules put a dampener on Red Bull's domination of the 2012 season? Photo: Reuters

    the passage underneath the picture of a speedy looking Red bull, however i thought it was 2011 at the moment!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 12.

    This sort of detailed argument is what makes any new fan roll there eyes and switch off. I've been watching F1 since Stirling was at the sharp end, but how are we going to attract a new audience when it is just so complex to get your head around? If F1 doesn't start making simple rules and create a sport that is clear and fun to follow you can forget any long term future. Mark my words, the writings on the wall.

  • Comment number 13.

    A quick question, I thought any blowing was designated to be not allowed?
    If this is the case then all blowing should be banned, and if a team has a car that doesnt meet the rules then surely they are disqualified after the race?
    If say Lotus had designed a car with a Maclaren style duct from last year on this years car, and its against the rules then it would be wholey Lotus's design teams fault?
    So if Renault havent made there engines legal, or if Mercedes hasnt then surely they have to comply with the rules or be disqualified? If Lotus had the air duct would the FIA change the rules to allow them to continue to use it? NO
    The technical issues are actually clouding the real issue, what do the rules state, and if they say no exhaust gas aids to rear wing performance or downforce then the rules ARE being broken?
    May be another team should just bolt on new front and rear wings that dont meet the rules and say hey better change the rules for me? lol
    I have another question, with KERS, why not let the teams use as much as they are able to harness, but they have to be fuilly discharged before the parade lap?
    On road cars this technology wouldn't be limited to only 6 seconds per 3 miles?

  • Comment number 14.

    This kind of stuff sends me to sleep. I am not sure why the FIA can't just ban all off throttle blowing.

  • Comment number 15.

    Surely any rule introduced must be without exceptions to suit certain engine manufacturers. The FIA MUST ensure thier ruling on this issue is across the board, if only to convince the F1 fans that they are seeing a fair fight!! It is almost laughable to expect anyone to believe that engine reliability will be compromised. I personally think the only thing that will be compromised is the Red Bull Racing-Renault's ability to be 0.700 sec faster in quali!! In all sports there is a fine line between 'being competitive' and 'cheating', this situation could really split the F1 audience as to which of the two they are seeing!

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    This is ridiculous. Engines were not allowed development for 5 years. Yet Renault throw their dummy out of the pram at the end of 09 and say the engine they made wasn't safe (yet had been used for 3 years) and all of a sudden bring a new "safer" engine to the table that had 40bhp more.
    Now they say that because their engine can't cope with overrun they should be allowed a larger throttle open percentage than 10% and they get it.
    Im sorry but if there engine is not good enough to have overrun why should the other teams suffer a 35% penalty throttle open position on the Renault engine runners.
    Redbull (as an example) aren't told to reduce the size of their wings etc because their overall aero package is more affective than the other teams.
    Mercedes runners are being punished for having a better engine.

  • Comment number 18.

    This is ridiculous. Engines were not allowed development for 5 years. Yet Renault throw their dummy out of the pram at the end of 09 and say the engine they made wasn't safe (yet had been used for 3 years) and all of a sudden bring a new "safer" engine to the table that had 40bhp more.
    Now they say that because their engine can't cope with overrun they should be allowed a larger throttle open percentage than 10% and they get it.
    Im sorry but if there engine is not good enough to have overrun why should the other teams suffer a 35% penalty throttle open position on the Renault engine runners.
    Redbull (as an example) aren't told to reduce the size of their wings etc because their overall aero package is more affective than the other teams.
    Mercedes runners are being punished for having a better engine.

  • Comment number 19.

    Hi I've never posted before but felt the need to ask/pose a question (to BBC Team?). With all this controversy over blown diffusers why don't the FIA or teams insist that throttles are operated by a pedal connected by (what works for most vehicles) a throttle cable. Junk all this "fly by wire" nonsense and get back to basics. The harder you press the more the engine revs and the faster you go, simples tch! I know that the "pinnacle" of this sport is about showcasing tech that will one day find its way into road cars, but hey, its also about going fast and beating the other guy fair and square, not using some fancy tech or mapped software that helps you go faster than anyone else. After all ABS was developed here, is now standard on most cars/wagons (even some bikes) but was seen as a driver aid and subsequently banned in F1. It's about time that someone with ****s levelled up the playing field! I look forward to hearing/seeing the BBC Teams thoughts.

  • Comment number 20.

    All the rule makers have to do to make F1 interesting is take allllllllll the grip out of the cars. Thats why the wet races and races with high tyre wear have always been the best.

    I would go farther than just banning all blown exhaust gases ....... take off the rear wing, the front wing Etc ...

  • Comment number 21.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 22.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 23.

    "Then, there was an explosive exchange in the drivers' briefing with Whiting, with McLaren's Lewis Hamilton particularly animated on the matter."

    -------------------------

    LOL - surprise me!

    In other words, Hamilton discusses the issues the same way that he drives - unconstrained verbal diarroea!

    And if the parallel holds, Vettel's contribution - if any - would brief, to the point and effective. To use the idiom - "just champion".

  • Comment number 24.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 25.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 26.

    all this rubbish about blown diffusers hot and cold stuff........just ban it all, make the teams have exhausts like they used to have, sticking out the back of the car, not diverted to the aerodynamics of the car!! problem solved, everyone the same!! ish........id also like to ban drivers that dont race! and just settle for a few safe 3rd places, massa being the biggest culprit!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 27.

    all this palava over hot gas cold gas ..if they went back to a manual gearbox with foot clutch you wouldnt be able to manipulate the ever increasingly complex engine mapping to provide the downforce levels ..70% of road cars are manual drive ...sequential gearboxes are what made the f1 cars faster ...let them have all the aero they want ..but make the cars manually driven ..so the full feeling of the car is in the drivers hands , sick of this flappy paddle crap

  • Comment number 28.

    LOL - surprise me!

    In other words, Hamilton discusses the issues the same way that he drives - unconstrained verbal diarroea!

    And if the parallel holds, Vettel's contribution - if any - would brief, to the point and effective. To use the idiom - "just champion".

    ----------------------------

    And GK, I'm guessing incredibly boring.. or perhaps adrian newey designed his and webber's microphones to be louder than everyone elses, so regardless of their content they came across most prominent. Sorry, couldn't resist a tongue in cheek reply to that!

  • Comment number 29.

    I agree with comment #26 above, I too think that there are too many drivers out there (like Massa) who don't really 'compete' as much as others. They just drive around, play the looking cool game, and collect a fat cheque for the privilege.

    Back on topic;

    I think it's really bad that the FIA have allowed us to get to a situation where two different types of technology have evolved to do the same job i.e. let exhaust gasses generate downforce, but they are now in a situation where one type can be better than the other depending on how the FIA decide to restrict the other.
    Yes, it's good to see teams develop by inventing, creating and evolving their machinery - but this is a sport.

    If I invented new running shoes that enabled me to run 100 metres in 6.5 seconds would the athletic authorities allow me to run in the olympics alongside everyone else in normal shoes? I don't think so.

    A silly comparison you might think, but think again.

    The only way for us to get out of this mess is for the FIA to instantly ban all exhaust gas generated downforce.
    Then have a better look at the rules in place for next years cars, and make sure there's no chance for this type of thing to happen again.

  • Comment number 30.

    The FIA need to make sure nothing can be 'left open to interpretation'.

  • Comment number 31.

    is there any technical nerds out there that can find out how much a difference the sequential semi auto box made to times back in the late 80`s as apposed the the fully manual gearbox ? and apply that same difference to a modern f1 car . i think you will find that because the seq box is fly by wire (therefore finger operated )per lap you will be significantly faster ...whereas the manual needs the driver to depress the clutch ,change ,then release it ,.this operation alone i imagine takes seconds more per lap to do ,plus adds the chance of driver error. all this engine mappiing farce and gas blowing is all the fia`s own doing they should define every rule from the start of a season stick with it then change it the following winter..this year has been brill but getting a bit too deep in controversy .

  • Comment number 32.

    Firstly I think it shouldn't have needed to come this far. The FIA should have banned all blown (hot or cold) diffusors before the end of season testing ended.

    As it is, I refuse to believe that fired overrun being banned would compromise the stability of an engine. What is exactly the problem with the Renault engines? All we are hearing is something along the lines of "the engine will blow up if we can't do this". Why would it blow up? Give us specifics, because right now it looks to me like Renault is abusing their position as a supplier for a third of the field to make sure their cars (factory and customer) have a significant advantage. They have even wrangled a tenth more air moving over the diffusor (45%->50%) out of the deal, so their aero is even MORE effective than it was in Melbourne - Valencia. In the meanwhile the hot-blowing diffusors of the Mercedes engines have been reined in drastically by 80% (50% down to 10).

    Cold blown diffusors are 10% more effective after the ruling, hot blown are 80% less effective. If anyone thinks this will create a level playing field then they need to go back to primary school maths class.

    Hispania Racing (and the other teams without a blown diffusor) should lodge an official complaint and petition to get the blown diffusors banned completely. The engine manufacturers will then need to make their engines work without the excess gasses. They have known that this decision has been coming for a long time, they have had enough time to work out a solution.

    This back-tracking is nothing to do with engine reliability - it is all political hot air (excuse the pun) to try and make sure the Renault engines are superior to all the others, and it has worked.

  • Comment number 33.

    i'm a big mclaren fan first time posting on here, i really do think that red bull have something in that car that is shall we say clouded. it's so obvious and thats why with no dry running today with the new regs should we call them that horner and whitmarsh were out of there comfy zones when quized about it, but one post on here worries me as a mclaren fan and that is mclaren are overrunning the engine and red bull can't do that becauce there engine can't deal with the stress nb red bull last year mechanical failure was an issue was that because they were pushing the engine too much :)) not a prob this year the fia will give them the extra kers lllloooooooolllllllll

  • Comment number 34.

    The simple answer to this, as others have said, is to simply ban the blowing of gases altogether. So what if it causes unreliability. The manufacturers will just have to work harder to rectify it.

    Ten years ago, we had 22 cars on a starting grid and if just over half of them (from whichever end of the grid) finished the race that was seen as a good return.

    Perhaps Formula 1 has gotten too reliable for its own good. Nowadays, barring accidents or freak weather conditions, it is almost a certainty that the ten cars from the top five teams will probably occupy the points scoring positions. 24 finishers in Valencia? The smaller teams don't stand a chance.

    The days of 'last men standing' have been taken away from us through all of these cost-cutting measures and ambiguous regulations.

    It's time to go back to basics and, perhaps, the days of the minnows lucking into a good result, such as Webber in the Minardi (5th - Melbourne '02), will return.

  • Comment number 35.

    G_k You're talking absolute drivel.Being petty and childish just because Hamilton backs his team boss on this issue,whats wrong with that?......And for someone who drives unconstrained,well he's done well driving that way and won a world championship,and is by far the most exciting driver to watch on the grid.

    If you're going to say something constructive fine,but leave the Hamilton bashing out.It's getting tedious now














    1

  • Comment number 36.

    And as for this ruling by the FIA,they've done Red Bull a massive favor.All this rule change will do is give Red Bull and even bigger advantage and basically destroy any chance the opposition has on closing the gap to them and challenging them for this years WDC,which already looked a long shot.

    Yet again theres alot of grey areas in the technical aspects of F1 regarding whats legal and not legal.Clearly everyone has a different interpretation of the rules.Just like 2009 with the whole Brawn issue and the diffuser.The rules need to be made more transparent,and the FIA need to get a grip on these issues at the start of the season,not a third of the way through.All this does is aggravates fans,and leaves us all confused.

  • Comment number 37.

    I read the whole press conference transcript, and from I gained the following conclusions.

    1) Mercedes Engines need overrun to be reliable, and the FIA granted this eventhough it contributes to the blown diffuser, but limited to a certain parameters
    2) Renault Engines need cold-blowing to reliable, so the FIA allowed 50%, which seems to void the 10% throttle originally intended.
    3) Horner seemed to say at one point that Renault are allowed to fire overrun and have 50% throttle.
    4) Mercedes Engines can't have 50% throttle (or at least not yet).

    Questions - Why can't the Renault engines be reliable with just 10% as originally specified or is the 50% to bring paritiy with the overrun Mercedes are allowed. However if Horner is suggesting Renault can overrun as well then why do they need the extra throttle, or is Horner suggesting that the Mercedes overrun is better than the Renault so that is why the have the 50% throttle.

    Conclusions - So surely the regulations have been modified to allow both, Renault and Mercedes are allowed 10% throttle, which allows the Renault engines to be reliable and a limited overrun, which aids the Mercedes reliability. But if Renault are complaining that Mercedes overrun is better that just tough, because as always the engines are going to be different. It is like the Mercedes Kers which is better than the Renault/Ferrari Kers but to equal the devices Renault/Ferrari are allowed more boost for a longer time, but thats never going to happen so why should it occur with the engines.

  • Comment number 38.

    Why don't they just move the exhaust exit positions so that no aerodynamic components are effected =S

  • Comment number 39.

    This discussion had only two forces on it, Horner (I cannot warm to that man) and Red Bull fighting to keep their strong advantage and Martin Whitmarsh fighting to get some kind of parity.

    Simple answer is to ban all blown diffusers, have exhausts of a specific diameter and shape, extending a specific length behind the rear of the car forcing them to find more mechanical grip instead of generating more aerodynamic downforce at will. While I'm all for technical advances F1 needs to get back to being about the drivers. After a great year last year and a promising start this year I switched the last two off. Come F1 sort it out!

  • Comment number 40.

    Well I thought The changes to the regulation were to stop teams burning ridicules amounts of fuel to energise The blowing of the diffuser when the driver is under breaking and as far as I understand from this post cold blowing is just the introduction of air into the engine but no fuel is burned while under breaking and so only cool air is passing through the exhaust unlike Mercedes and Ferrari engines

  • Comment number 41.

    Andrew, I notice that you introduce yourself by saying "The love affair has blown hot and cold". In the context of this blog I feel you need to define what percentage hot and what percentage cold, and have those percentages been ratified by the FIA?

  • Comment number 42.

    @ 38 , it sounds so simple to do!

    I use to like the exhuasts on the 2003/4 Ferarri's that where mounted on the back on the side pods. F1 car's should be fast and pretty , now they look utterly fugly!

  • Comment number 43.

    What's stopping the non-Red Bull teams from essentially copying Renault's design in this respect, to take away Renault's advantage?

  • Comment number 44.

    I've gotta say, I agree with a point I heard whilst watching the practice Friday morning. I don't think a ruling that could significantly change the lap times/general speeds of the car should be introduced mid-season. If all of the rules are clear from the opening race, then if engineers manage to exploit something in the rules through the season, thus benefitting the cars they work on, surely they should be applauded?

  • Comment number 45.

    @43 I *think* it requires changes to the engine which is "frozen".

  • Comment number 46.

    For me it is plain simple. The FIA needs to completely ban this engine mapping that allows blowing of exhaust gases so that we have a level playing ground. What i understand from this is that all this time Red Bull was ahead by 0.5 - 1.2 sec because of this tweak.

    Now Horner saying that their engine needs this for reliability issues.... and expects us to believe.

  • Comment number 47.

    I have read most of the comments and I have to say that I am in favour of the technology used to make the cars go faster. Hot-blown diffusers.. .bring it on! Its such a clever idea and one that should be applauded. What other sport allows progress of technology to be on display every year? And the teams that come up with the most innovative ideas deserve to be on top. If you want to watch a race with "an equal playing field" then watch the other formulas. I applaud both Renault and Mercedes and want to see more innovation!! FIA, put your notebook away.

  • Comment number 48.

    It's always been my belief that F1 has to be seen to be squeeky clean in order to maintain the punter's support. This whole affair raises the possibility that it isn't.

  • Comment number 49.

    I love all this stuff! F1 design and engineering is one of the best-funded, entertainment-based, cutting-edge pioneers of technology. Tying that in with the aim for parity and fairness, it's part of the sport!

    See this BBC article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-14046449

    The racers use the track, the rest of the team and technicians use the drawing boards and labs. Sweet. It's maybe more interesting than Vettel strolling to the title, though I don't kick a sport for one man or team steaming ahead to victory unless it happens, like, half a dozen times in a row, which it hasn't. Likewise with Hamilton's style and the weird backlash to it, it's all part of any sport! Heroes and villains! That said, Button may be a lovely smooth driver, but I'd rather have a grid full of Lewis Hamilton clones to watch and be entertained by than a grid full of Jenson Button clones. Whitmarsh and Horner; classic stuff!

  • Comment number 50.

    Andrew, what about a simple answer to Message 38? This would appear to be the simplest solution and would presumably allow the engine manufacturers to do whatever they liked with the engine exhaust or fuel control system without benefit to the aerodynamics of the car.

  • Comment number 51.

    I'm all for technical developments in F1 that eventually find there way onto our road cars, invariably making them safer, but I can't for the life of me see next years eurobox having exhaust gasses blown over a diffuser to give it more grip. Perhaps the FIA should be making rules that encourage technical development in areas that give a wider benefit. And I agree with doing away with the hot/cold blowing nonsense, It's an uneccessary and expensive distraction IMHO.

  • Comment number 52.

    "If you want to watch a race with "an equal playing field" then watch the other formulas. I applaud both Renault and Mercedes and want to see more innovation!! FIA, put your notebook away."

    Spot on!!

    F1 has always been a hotbed of technical development, some of it works, some doesn't. 6 wheel Tyrell anyone? Only ever one team with that idea, didn't catch on. Brabham fan car? Banned fairly quickly. Blown diffusers? Must work, or they'd have been ditched by the teams already.

    Level playing field? We used to have various different engine configurations at the same time - Ferrari V12, Renault V10 & Ford V8 back in 1994 for instance. We now have V8s only - so the rules have changed to create consistency. But if you sanitise F1 by making everything identical all you'll get is fast Formula Fords. Or A1GP, and who wants that?

    I don't understand why so many people here don't seem to have read the original blog before jumping up and down about how big a benefit the change is to RedBull. Andrew made it very clear that hot blowing is more effective than cold. How much, you'd need to be an engineer to understand, and I expect even then there would be much difference of opinion rather than one precise answer. But all this jumping up and down about 50% vs 10% is irrelevant unless you know exactly how effective each system is. 10% on hot may have a bigger effect than 50% on cold for all I know. Or it might not.

    What I do know, is that in the wider context, engine reliability has been much better recently than it used to be. This has happened because the rules were changed to limit the number of engines per season. If the systems each manufacturer has introduced have contributed to that as they all say, then it's a necessary part of the process unless/until something better comes along. Or should we dump all that and go back to engine meltdown every other lap?

    McLaren seem to be the ringleaders of the protest. This'll be the same McLaren that had the extra (illegal) brake pedal a few years back then. They have in the past had a far better car on occasion than anyone else, and no doubt they will again, as F1 always seems to go in circles. If they want to win more races, they need to concentrate more on what they are doing themselves, and persuade one of their drivers to calm down a bit so he finishes more often than constantly whinging about what RB or anyone else is doing.

  • Comment number 53.

    Horner and Newey still complaining to Whiting pre-qualifying! THE SEMIOTICS!!

  • Comment number 54.

    As interesting as the technology of F1 is, the bottom line is that I want to see close and exciting racing by teams and drivers working from the same level. This is what puts so many people off F1, because it gets itself involved in esoteric arguments that anyone without a postgraduate degree in engineering or aerodynamics fails to understand. They clearly should have left the rules the same until the end of the season. By changing them halfway through and then having teams complaining that it's unfair damages the championship. Now we're unsure whether Red Bull have been getting an unfair advantage for the first 8 races, and now if they start getting beaten it's because the regulations were changed to impede them.

    Formula One is on the wrong side of ridiculous at the moment; comedy tyres that wear out after 10 laps, DRS that allows anyone to pass anyone with no skill whatsoever, and now this blown diffuser nonsense that really no one cares about other than the teams. The fans just want a level playing field and a fair fight.

  • Comment number 55.

    Tech, yawn yawn, All this techno kill's it for me. let's get back to the skills of the driver and his team verses the courses and elliments. Why should there be advantages for some teams and not others. Can we not have a level playing field so that all the cars have the same advantage's. This would surely make competition much more aggressive and much more watchable. let's not go back to Schumaca processionally boring times, which nearly killed the sport. Let's go make it exciting and a delite to watch. just like football is....

  • Comment number 56.

    Personally I've never been a fan of anything that blows half heartedley.

  • Comment number 57.

    I don't understand the problem. It's a new innovation, let the teams get on with it and develop it to the best of their abilities. If all innovations were banned they'd still be racing around in Model T's.

  • Comment number 58.

    RB are just great (big fan) no matter who we have on our team we will still dominate. i love vettel and webber but i would also like to have koybi on our team he is great little driver. i also like di resta but not so keen on hamilton i find him too cocky but button now he is a legend...love to be in the F1 world full of beautiful women and money and fast car :)

    looking forward to the race tomorrow and it will be RB's again :)

  • Comment number 59.

    To be honest I love this stuff, despite having only a limited understanding of the engineering. For me it all adds to the fun and tension of a championship. But on the current disputes I would say:

    1. I don't understand why the change is necessary, but if it is necessary, as so many have said why not action it at the end of the season?

    2. If you introduce a change to technical requirements part way through a season, and there is such difficulty in ensuring fairness, surely the focus needs to be tilted toward ensuring the dominant team doesn't get a further advantage. It would be a shame if this change artificially changed the pecking order, but far preferable that Red Bull lose a few tenths than gain a few.

    3. I just don't see the justification for providing different rules for Renault on the basis that their kit (supposedly) isn't up to scratch. Teams that don't have off-throttle blowing can't use fired over-run either, so should they get to start a lap ahead of everyone else? Or be provided with a car that does have off-throttle blowing? I can't off the top of my head think of a past example where one team got a different set of regulations to work within, other than the intermediate year when the engine formats changed, and well, that was a bit of a farce.

  • Comment number 60.

    This just increases my growing belief that F1 is fixed. Not 100% fixed. But each year there is a team who in numerous subtle ways - usually involving interpretations of technical rules - its given the nod that it is their turn to win. Ecclestone, along with his disgraced pal Mosely, have created a culture in which it is accepted that an advantage is granted to one 'deserving' team or another in any given year. (If you believe that Bernie's an honest guy, read his biography No Angel. It was written with his co-operation and makes it clear that fair play is not high on his list of priorities.)

    Why do this? To keep everyone sweet.

    FIA decisions last decade were always heavily biased in favour of Ferrari. It was to ensure their continued participation in a sport in which they were big on history, but low on success. Schumacher used to get up to all kinds of nasty rule-breaking but was never seriously punished. It was their turn to win. Jean Todt, who was team boss at the time, is now head of FIA and seems perfectly happy to carry on with this approach.

    Later it was Braun's turn. They ran a package of questionable items in the year that Button won the title. Everyone knew this, but they were allowed to carry on. It was their turn.

    Now Red Bull are getting the rulings going their way. It's payoff time for Mateschitz having spent so much money running two teams. It's his turn to win.

    Evidence? Simple: a more level playing field would be created by banning the blown diffusers, but Red Bull say the ban would place them at a disadvantage (i.e. reduce thier current advantage) The FIA have ruled in their favour. Why? Because Bernie and the FIA want Mateschitz to win. It's his turn.

    It's a good thing that Pirelli at least gave us something to watch in 2011. Otherwise it would just be a procession of this year's favoured team.

  • Comment number 61.

    If they want to keep the blown diffusers, which i think they should as all new innovations should be welcomed in F1, they should regulate the power of the flow through the exhaust. It is as easy to implement as a throttle % restriction for driver's off-throttle.

    There is no way to equaly regulate firing and non firing conditions using a throttle % regulation. The flow into the diffuser is created from the air passing through the engine, either firing or not. When off-throttle, this flow is sustained by the power absorbed from the rear wheels by the engine and not from the fuel injected. If you turn the ignition off on any car while rolling, the more throttle you apply, the more it brakes. This is because more air is pumped through the engine. Thus, 50% throttle non firing can be of a much bigger advantage.

    Now, the driver that downshifts faster, or that has gear ratios set to have the highest engine speed possible when off-throttle into a corner have its engine blowing the maximum flow possible for a given corner through his diffuser and in addition, less rear braking is needed. The amount of fuel injected can be used effectively to regulate the air temperature leaving the exhaust (for aerodynamic usage) or to give just enough power on the engine to counter act its braking effect.

    The amount of flow depends mainly on engine speed and throttle % and a little effect from fuel injected. Thus, the throttle % restriction should be the same for both conditions. Pumping air for "engine reliability" is a joke. It helps only to eliminate the lag when the driver steps back on the throttle.

  • Comment number 62.

    Over the years, we've often been reminded that Formula 1 IS the rules.

    i.e. the rules make up the formula that define the cars.

    If the rules are now different than earlier in the season, then earlier races should be stricken from the record, as, according to the above logic, they are not the agreed formula for Formula 1 2011...

    Both sets of rules cannot make one season's formula!

  • Comment number 63.

    I think that once a change has been made then it should not rectified during that season. Clearly the regs people got it wrong and tough, amkend the situation at the end of the season not in the middle. The fault lies with the regulations not the teams.
    Lets end the season on what may happen, not change the regelations half way through.
    DJT

  • Comment number 64.

    Mr Bernie Ecclestone (80) should retired like 15 years ago. His ideas make this sport boring. There is no more racing in F1, as every move on the track must fit to regulations. Too much noise by the engine? I love this sound. If it change I will definitely stop watching it. Thanks Bernie.

  • Comment number 65.

    I agree with a few others here, as with the ABS ban, I think we should go back to cable throttle, the driver should control the engine, then they can hold it open mid corner if they want, just like they did in the old heal and toe days.

    We need more driver controlled variables, so the best drivers can stand out, not just the best cars.

    I can't stand this changing the rules all the time to create fake competition (not to mention DRS), in the end the best driver in the best car should win. If one driver & team dominate for a few years then that's the fault of the other teams, not the rules.

  • Comment number 66.

    Undoubtedly the FIA have made an untimely move by changing the regulations this weekend, but do the BBC need to keep hammering on about it? The drivers have told us that they don't fully understand the technical draw outs, the Team bosses clearly don't want to talk about it so what makes the producers at the BBC think that the viewing public care that much?? Lets get behind JB Lewis and Di Resta tomorrow! COme on JB!

  • Comment number 67.

    I know this would never happen, but you know what, I would love to see all F1 teams have the same cars and the only differences is how you tune it and the skill of the driver!! That way you know the winner of the race or championship was the best DRIVER not the team with the most money or with help from strange and biased FIA ruling (Like this one).

    This has been done to please Reanult because they have designed an engine that can't function without this. Surely, that is Reanults problem...not anyone elses. Other teams shouldn't suffer because one team isn't happy.

    For goodness sake...all they need to do is to make ALL teams use the same "blowing"... hot off throttle for example. If they all used the same, there would be NO argument. They need to make their rules clearer and not so open to interpretation.

    This sort of thing is why F1's popularity is waning. I liked F1 best in the days of Damon Hill and Nigel Mansel (and earlier) where this wasn't such a huge problem. The rate this sport is going, it won't be long before the drivers are obsolete and the cars can be driven from the Pit Lane. It used to be about Driver skill...not any more. It's more about the team that can bend unclear rules to their advantage winning. It happened when Button won the championship over the unclear rear diffuser issue, and now it is happening again.

  • Comment number 68.

    The reason this whole thing has come to light is because apparently an engine is not meant to enhance downforce. What a load of bull. Its just a clever way of making the whole car more efficient. I don’t see it any different to changing the weigh distribution or centre of gravity by changing the shape or position of the drivetrain. Next year the exhaust are to leave above the engine like they did 4-5 years ago. I bet it will be directed at the rear wing and now you have the blown wing. wowhoo.
    I can imagine that Renault require cold blowing to prolong the life of the exhaust valve. In F1, all components are required to last the exact amount of distance/ time or otherwise they are loosing power and have unnecessary extra weight. I must assume Renault have designed the valves on the limit and have taken into account the cold blowing. To get around that they could make the valve heavier but now the valve train will not rev as high and weight saps power. A whole redesign midway through the season to keep the power parity between the engines. F1 is trying to save money, not make it more expensive?
    Mercedes however need overrun for braking reliability? Sounds like they are using the engine as a brake and also a means to enhance their KERS storage. If this is true I guess their hydraulic braking system can be smaller i.e. lighter so less unsprung weight means better suspension which relates to lap time.
    Does this make sense or am I right off the make???

  • Comment number 69.

    I mean mark. woops

  • Comment number 70.

    @67 last para,

    I don't think you remember Mansell to Hill days as well as you think then. Jeez the Williams when it had all the gizmos in the world including computer controlled active suspension, could literally dance to music in the pits that car. Current cars in many ways are a lot less "electronic" than the early 90s.

    Williams FW14B
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjbc1tmKi6g

    tonnes of other innovations that are basically banned and have been for years were tried in that period of racing, blown diffusers are relatively mild, also the driver aides nowadays are relatively mild...mainly referring to your statement

    "it won't be long before the drivers are obsolete and the cars can be driven from the Pit Lane. It used to be about Driver skill...not any more."

    if anything it was worse in certain periods of F1, back in the Mansell/Hill days. Traction/ABS and so on.

    My take, as Brundle says, manual gearbox, direct cable throttle, I would also like to see no radio to driver from pits, just the pit boards. The technology of the sport would still continue on, but at least the driver -> machine connection would be transparent and clean.

  • Comment number 71.

    YET AGAIN THE TEAM BOSSES ARE TELLING THE FIA WHAT TO DO HAVE I GOT IT WRONG I THOUGH THE FIA RUN FORMULA 1 BUT IT SEEMS TO BE THE TEAMS INSTEAD ARE RUNNING IT SO THERE FORE WASTE OF TIME FIA BEING THERE

  • Comment number 72.

    Mercedes are retarding the engine to act as a brake. Very clever.

  • Comment number 73.

    Let's change the subject for a moment and get away from all this heavy, technical hot air . . . sorry . . . stuff. Assuming that Webber wins tomorrow's GP and that's a big if especially if SV has anything to do with it, on taking the chequered flag, Mark should forget all that crap about "not bad for a number two driver" and say "that's what I'M talking about! Not bad eh? That should fire SV up enough to win the next six or so races this season.

  • Comment number 74.

    Thank you mr brundle
    for months ive been watching this blog ,commented a couple of times about going back to a manual box
    and finally it gets mentioned
    after studying archives it seems fly by wire systems are taking over the sport
    break the electronic link between driver and gearbox making it totally manual ,clutch pedal ect,then there would be less changes to the rules year upon year,give them the gizmos we would use on a road car after all we are the ones who are supposedly benifitting
    nobody likes flappy paddles in there car

  • Comment number 75.

    I have been interested listening to Horner and Whitmarsh moan, but does anyone know why are Ferrari so quiet?

  • Comment number 76.

    steffy and ferny have something to hide or something up their sleeve siegewarrior

  • Comment number 77.

    In response to 19 (Bazza) virtually all road cars use drive by wire throttle systems as a mechanic I can't think of a car I have worked on produced after 2005 with an old fashioned throttle cable. Even off throttle an engine still requires some air flow to create smoothness with sharp throttle changes. This was normally done by a separate valve on the throttle to allow a small amount of air thru at idle. But with a motor operating the throttle it gives them more abbility to put as much air as they like thru at any time.

    Hope that helped

    I am supprised that hot blowing would be required for reliability lean fuel mixtures are a cause of pre ignition and high combustion temperatures so I dont understand how the engines require it.

  • Comment number 78.

    I hear a lot about Red Bull, Renault and Mercedes - not a whisper from the Prancing Horse. Still, they might as well keep their heads down and let Ferrari International Assistance interfere partway thru the season!

  • Comment number 79.

    One man who would of breathed a sigh of relief after all the technical configurations must have been Adrian Newey. The man who has designed a racing car to win Grand prix races.If anybody thought Red Bull was going to be dissadvantaged think again and why should they be?Vettel and pole sitter Webber are once again on the front row.Ferrari had a go and are only 1/10 off the pace setters which looks like they have benifitted from the changes a good run into Copse is now needed from Alonso and Massa from the second row.Shame Nigel Mansell isn't on the grid Shame Nigel Mansell could'nt say what he wanted to say that's what we loved about the controversial Brummie!

  • Comment number 80.

    All this.... It makes me think F1 is run by Children, then you wonder how many chiefs are sailing a similar ship as news of the world...

  • Comment number 81.

    I only wish the FIA and the teams could do the same as Mark Webber and just get on with the racing, that's what the fans (us) want to see, not the politics and the duck and diving that goes on in every industry, not just F1. All we want is a level playing field, so whoever we support is not disadvantaged in any shaoe or form.

  • Comment number 82.

    Not an avid fan but do watch as I'm passing thru - Surely FORMULA 1 says it all - hte number 1, the top and the "best" (whatever that means) but I want to see cars being powered by lazers and red buttons that fire tractor beams....it's the best and the technology should relect that otherwise why not have GT racing a'la Le Mans as the "Formula 1" as at least these cars have directly applicable techology - somehow I don't think Vauxhall are likely to be sticking hot-blow diffusors on an Agila any time soon.

  • Comment number 83.

    A car engine uses 33% of its power to pump the exhaust gases down the exhaust pipe, 27 % to drive the wheels and 40% is lost in heat and friction.
    Reducing the complexity of exhaust systems frees up Horse Power that is then added to the road wheel figure.
    A straight pipe flows -5% out of its end, compared to its area, whereas putting a doughnut shape or rounding the end of the pipe speeds up the exhaust gases at the end of the pipe to give a 12% increase over the straight cut end. Noticeable even on a road engine in improved a acceleration and better mpg.
    The complex exhausts for blown diffusers actually reduce Hp at the wheel due to the number of bends in its design, ground effects also increases straight line aero drag and reduces top speed.

  • Comment number 84.

    for people who don't understand the technical logic of this, there's an excellent post on Scarbs' F1 blog which clears it up

  • Comment number 85.

    Seems simple to me. The Red Bull car is easily the best on the grid, so the rules are fiddles to allow a win for Ferrari.
    Disgusting.

  • Comment number 86.

    I think the engine mapping discussion is now irrelevant. As RB have all but wrapped up the Constructors Championship. And Vettel needs (not sure about this) only 4 more wins and that will be the Drivers Championship done and dusted.
    So with 9 rounds gone, and as Vettel could well win the next 4 races. That will be F1 one finished for the year.
    So after 13 rounds gone and possibly the season finished as far the fans are concerned. What does F1 do? What of the sponsors? As they won't be best pleased, especially with Bernie. Keep the new rules intact of course. Some may think I'm being barmy that they will, but read the next paragraph and then you decide.

    Martin Brundle had a quick chat with Bernie on the grid, he asked him if the mapping arguement had been settled and Bernie said yes. Then MB asked if they would be going back to the Valencia regs, to which Bernie didn't answer. Now call me a cynic, but I think these new rules will stay. Only because it brings everybodies favourite team (sarcasm :p ) Ferrari in with a chance of prolonging the season. Otherwise F1 will end up with 6 races that have no meaning whatsoever.

  • Comment number 87.

    Here's a thought - not only has Ferrari International Assistance interfered at Silverstone, but also worrying is that both Alonso and Silverstone have major sponsors in Santander.

  • Comment number 88.

    @87 I think it is the Martians, they are probably planning on invading soon, I have bought some more tin foil, I made sure I used cash that I had washed in my washing machine to get it too, will be making a larger hat with it so should be safe!

  • Comment number 89.

    @87. (Delta)

    - Proof? .Without any evidence it doesn't hold water.

    @88 (Lyla)

    - Ignorance is bliss eh. Try not to be so narrow minded. The quick dismissal and mocking of 87's comment is just arrogant. Who knows what goes on behind closed doors. Although i do not have an opinion on the existence of Aliens, i think it's Naive to quickly dismiss the idea of corruption where big money is involved.

  • Comment number 90.

    Santander + Silverstone circuit = conspiracy, uh uh. Good one. I don't quickly dismiss conspiracy, but that one doesn't require much to doubt that it is a bit tinfoil hat.

    And quite frankly you dismissed it sharper than I did...

    "Without any evidence it doesn't hold water."

    I at least bought some tinfoil with laundered money...

  • Comment number 91.

    I love this - interesting and cutting edge technology.

    We have two positions - Merc's engines with Hot Gas and Ren's with cold

    Ren - say they can't use hot gas for 'reliability' and because their cold system is less efficient they should be allowed to pass a greater volume of gas through the engine.

    Merc - say if you let Ren pass gas through at a volume of 50% throttle and us at 10% this is not equal.

    My word is this - you can all pass gas through at a level of 30% and it's up to you is you do it hot or cold. Ren then have to either live with the lower level or find a way to make it reliable. The current solution just does nothing as it is trying to guess the relative merits.

    The rules should be rigid and then leave the teams to try and make their solutions work.

  • Comment number 92.

    I think that the 'clarification of the regulations' made by the FIA that, in a nutshell, seems to say that:-
    Engine parts move
    Those engine parts generate exhaust gasses
    Those exhaust gasses generate downforce
    Moving parts that enhance aerodynamic performance are illegal
    Therefore blown diffusers are illegal

    ... is complete nonsense.

    By the same token, air would not be flowing over the front or rear wings if the engine parts were not moving, therefore logic dictates that those same engine parts mean that *all* aerodynamic devices on the car are illegal.

    Or maybe it's the moving engine parts that should be banned. This would resolve all the arguments but would probably mean the TV income may drop off a bit :-)

    All of which is fine - ban the lot (except the moving engine parts bit). Get rid of all aero aids. Then there'd be no need for the artificial DRS that allows slower drivers to overtake faster ones - overtaking would be purely on merit: if you were significantly faster than the car in front you'd be able to get past. End of. Get back to four-wheel drifts and driver skill being the most important part of winning.

    Isn't that what car racing should be about, instead of endless tweaking of, and arguing about, regulations to try to inject spectator interest in a sport that's fundamentally flawed by too much aero?

    It won't happen of course, I just wanted to highlight the flaws in the logic of the 'clarification' made by the FIA.

  • Comment number 93.

    ace9988 @38.

    ...and there it is in a nutshell. Spot on.

  • Comment number 94.

    I think the FIA should go the other way and RELAX the rules governing engine, aero, suspension modifications. It would lead to all sorts of interesting innovations from the teams. As long as the cars are sensibly safe for the drivers then I say let the teams do what they like (perhaps cap the power output at say, 1000HP)

    Take touring cars, they have a much wider variety of cars - front wheel drive, rear wheel drive, turbo, non turbo, petrol, diesel etc and they are able to race just as well with the variety.

  • Comment number 95.

    @92 - "By the same token, air would not be flowing over the front or rear wings if the engine parts were not moving"

    Whilst this is undoubtedly true the aerodynamic properties of the bodywork aren't being changed directly by the engine, which they are with blown diffusers.

  • Comment number 96.

    I don't understand someone's logic here: 95% of most influential positions in F1 are and have been in the hands of British people. In the constructors field we have/ have had Ferrari, BMW, Mercedes, Jaguar, Ford, Toyota, Honda, Renault, Porsche, to name a few. However when a Ferrari car wins or rules change is because that team is controlling the entire circus? If that would be true we would have a few smart guys in red suits surrounded by other team's idiots. To all of you thinking this way: why are you still watching F1 races? Do you just like the plots/conspiracy stuff or do you have a "fetish for masochism"? In both cases I believe you can find better shows to like on TV.

  • Comment number 97.

    @ 87 (another one):

    not only has Ferrari International Assistance interfered at Silverstone, but just try to find a plumber on weekends.

  • Comment number 98.

    @ 94 - I second that and recomend that you be placed as chief of F1 so long as you put me in as your deputy.

  • Comment number 99.

    ...let them blow whatever they want wherever they want. Remove most of the Aero rules, let 'em build mega-cars how they want to.... BUT, remove the comms with the pitwall. That way the drivers HAVE to have to rely on their senses to get to the end of the race. Look at the difference between Massa (who needs his hand held from start to end) and Alonso (who regularly tells his team to shut up)... Who is more exciting? Strip away the constant guidance from the telemetry and you'll soon enough see who can really drive and who can't. My money says Alonso, Kubica, Hamilton, Button, Webber, Barrichelo, Trulli would be streets ahead of the Vettel, Massa, Petrov gang. And I'm no particular fan of any team. Can't stand that Vettel or Red Bull, tho.

  • Comment number 100.

    Good morning,

    As a mechanical engineer I am fascinated by this blown diffuser subject.
    For the engine exhaust to blow the diffuser while the driver is not on the throttle.
    Is there software installed to dis-engage the clutch, if not surely the car would
    be under power when the driver did not need power, or am I too thick to understand the mechanics of this?
    Or is sufficient fuel used to create a gas flow yet not produce enough power to increase forward motion, whatever it is would it not be better to remove all of this and revert to cars that do not rely on aerodynamics but tyres and driver ability for grip?

 

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