Red Bull set to lose out in engine mapping ban
The FIA’s clampdown on the use of engine mapping in conjunction with blown diffusers could see a shift in the balance of power among Formula l’s top teams.
Red Bull has been the most successful exponent of the practice and the team has made it clear that it sees the mid-season change as an attempt to rein in the RB7. McLaren meanwhile has raised no objections.
Since last season teams have made increasingly successful use of what the FIA terms ‘extreme’ exhausts by mapping their engines to blow exhaust gases into the diffuser during cornering. After a previous attempt in May was aborted, the FIA wrote to the teams over the Canadian GP weekend to confirm that a ban on off
throttle blowing would commence from the British GP. For 2012 the FIA intends to stop any form of exhaust action on the diffuser by ensuring that teams can only employ basic designs with a high periscope-style exit.
The FIA said it “intends to ensure that no engine mapping is used to artificially alter the aerodynamic characteristics of a car beyond the primary purpose of generating engine torque.
“The financial, technical and human resources required to support such developments, as well as the impact on engine reliability and fuel consumption, are contrary to the objectives pursued by the FIA, teams and engine manufacturers.” The consensus is that Red Bull will suffer more than
most, although clearly there is more to the speed of the RB7 than the exhaust.
“I don’t think it will create a fundamental change to the picture,” said McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh. “But it will hurt some more than others. Depending on how optimistic you’re feeling that day, you like to think it will hurt others more than you! It will change according to which team is exploiting these tactics the most.”
Although the Silverstone ruling affects engine mapping rather than hardware, the 2012 change will mean the end to Renault’s innovative front exit exhaust.
“I can feel what McLaren felt when they decided to ban the F-Duct,” said team principal Eric Boullier. See Patrick Head, p39