Red Bull Engine Remaps

F1 technicians are always in search of detailed innovations, which
will give a competitive edge over their rivals, especially where the
rules are not clearly worded.
At Hockenheim this weekend at the
German Grand Prix, we saw an episode where an innovation from Red Bull
and its engine partner Renault was allowed through because it was not
covered by the rules, so even though the FIA’s own technical delegate Jo
Bauer, felt he had found something in the engine mapping which was not
allowed, when he referred it to the race stewards on Sunday they felt
they had no choice but to let Red Bull race with it.
The Stewards’
statement said, “While the stewards do not accept all the arguments of
the team, they however conclude that as the regulation is written, the
map presented does not breach the text of Art 5.5.3 of the Formula 1
Technical Regulations and therefore decided to take no action.”
The
F1 Technical Working group is meeting today in London and this will be
on the agenda. In all probability the FIA will follow up this week with a
rule clarification (known as a Technical Directive), which will outlaw
the Red Bull/Renault idea before next week’s Hungarian Grand Prix, but
it certainly served its purpose in Germany.
The idea was to use
engine mapping to cut the torque at medium revs, which would certainly
have helped with driveability in the wet conditions of practice and
qualifying in Germany and would also have an aerodynamic benefit in slow
corners; some of the fuel/air mixture finds its way into the exhausts
to create post combustion – which blows hot exhaust gas under pressure
down through the diffuser to create rear end downforce.
It’s very
clever and shows the lengths teams will go to to find extra downforce.
Bauer felt it was illegal because the rules say the connection between
the opening of the throttle and the torque demand on the engine should
be linear and in his view Red Bull was introducing a deviation in that
process. Bauer had observed that the torque demand was less than at
other recent races.
The rule that he felt Red Bull and Renault
were trying to get around is new for this year and is designed to outlaw
the practice of engines blowing exhaust gas into the diffuser even when
the driver’s foot is off the throttle in a corner.
Engine maps
are one of the dark arts of F1. Teams have various maps, controlled from
the steering wheel by the driver; settings for fuel saving in the race,
for example, for overtaking, or for setting the engine at the pit lane
speed limit.

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