The FIA is pushing ahead with its clampdown on ‘extreme’ blown diffusers, commencing with the British GP next month.
On Saturday the FIA wrote to the teams to confirm that the ban on engine mapping influencing aerodynamics – which was put on hold after a previous attempt before the Spanish GP – would go ahead. It cites cost implications of a development race as the main reason.
Details will be discussed at next week’s meeting of the Technical Working Group, but the FIA insists that the principle aims will be maintained.
In addition the governing body intends to ban any kind of exhaust action on diffusers from 2012, with strict controls on exhaust exits by restricting teams to a basic ‘straight through’ layout, which will put an end to Renault’s system.
The Silverstone ban could affect the balance of power between the top teams for the remainder of this season, with Red Bull Racing likely to suffer more than anyone else.
Having honed their cars to work with the systems, teams will now have to revise them within a month. Ironically Ferrari has just made a step by getting more out of its diffuser this weekend.
McLaren’s Whitmarsh made it clear that he was happy with the change, while a frustrated Christian Horner told this blog that RBR took the opposite view
“I don’t think it will create a fundamental change to the picture,” said Whitmarsh. “But it will hurt some more than others. Depending on how optimistic you are feeling that day, you like to think that it will hurt others more than you! It will change according to which team, who’s exploiting these tactics the most. It’s been a moving feast. Here you can hear changes and difference in some teams [ie Ferrari’s exhaust note] which will not be there when we get to Silverstone.”
This blog has seen a copy of the technical directive, which justifies the clampdown as follows:
“It is clear that some engine control maps have become extreme both during overrun and acceleration phases and, combined with similarly extreme exhaust systems, have become powerful downforce generating devices. Such systems arguably contravene the F1 Technical Regulations by generating exhaust air flow that goes beyond their primary purpose, that of generating engine torque.
“There are clear indications that this is an active development area and far more extreme systems or procedures can be expected to appear.
“Additionally, the financial, technical and human resources required to support such developments, as well as the impact on engine reliability and on fuel consumption are totally contrary to the objectives pursued by the FIA, the teams and the engine manufacturers.
“The FIA 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.”