Hamilton spills beans on “engine downforce” settings…

Lewis Hamilton has added an intriguing dimension to the debate over blown diffusers by talking about engine downforce settings – a phrase that, while perhaps familiar within the top teams, has not previously been uttered in public.

Lewis was talking about the buzz of going for pole in Monaco when he dropped into the conversation.

“Qualifying is probably the most exciting part of the weekend, apart from the start of the race,” he said. “Qualifying is very cool. Especially nowadays when they switch… Before we’d just go to the fastest engine setting, now you go for the fastest, most powerful downforce setting from the engine, which is very, very neat. You put lots of front wing in, you also have loads more grip, and you can throw the car around like crazy. I can’t wait to get into qualifying.”

Regarding Red Bull’s qualifying pace, Hamilton said: “Through the last corner of Barcelona, through Turn 3, they were flat out, in a lot of locations, particularly in qualifying. When we get to qualifying we can only generally do the corner at a similar speed as we can do it in the race. In qualifying they can do it flat out, and we can’t do that, so that’s a massive amount of time they gain.

“They were the first ones to go with the blown diffuser, just like when the Brawns were the first to do the double diffuser, they had the advantage for a long period of time. These are now the first to have done the blown diffuser, and everyone’s playing catch-up.”

4 Comments

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4 responses to “Hamilton spills beans on “engine downforce” settings…

  1. Did no one ask him what he meant, then? =D

  2. **Paul**

    I’m guessing this engine downforce setting can’ t be always on max due to the additional fuel consumption (and this weight) and perhaps engine longevity? Perhaps that explains RBR’s qually pace advantage that vanishes into thin air on a Sunday…

  3. Very interesting.

    One might assume that the reason why these settings can’t be used throughout the race (on top of fuel consumption issues) is due to the temperatures generated and potential harm/damage caused from prolonged exposure.

    I seem to remember James Allen (?) writing last season on how RBR were able to extract great pace from their blown diffuser over a 2-3 lap stint in qualifying but couldn’t run it for longer periods in the race due to the risk of components failing due to the temperatures generated…

  4. Brandon

    It actually has to do with off-throttle gas velocity. Fuel/air mixture is allowed into the exhaust, where it ignites and maintains the gas velocity even when the throttle is closed. When the throttle is full on, the gas has the most velocity from the normal engine-pumping action. I imagine the drivers have control over how much fuel/air is allowed in, though that does drastically change the fuel consumption of the car.

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