MES denies teams could cheat on traction control

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

McLaren Electronic Systems, Autosport International, 2008McLaren Electronic Systems has denied that F1 teams could find a way around the new-for-2008 standard engine control unit.

It follows a complaint from Jarno Trulli that some teams might have found away around the system to restore the banned traction control. MES CEO Peter van Manen said:

Once you have decided to have a standard control system and it?s secure from outside intervention, providing software to prevent traction control is relatively straightforward.

Last week Jarno Trulli warned that Toyota thought some teams had created launch control systems:

I’m not going to name any names, but I think that some teams have already found a way to automate the starting procedure and reduce to the minimum the chance of spinning the wheels under acceleration.

I’m not saying someone’s cheating, even though we’ve received some conflicting information at Toyota. But having analyzed the behaviour on the track both now and in the tests in December, the changes between them are many – and in several cases suspicious.

Max Mosley has defended the standard ECU, saying:

They are going to find [cheating] very difficult. First of all you have got to circumvent the ECU and secondly you have got to somehow disable our spy in the cab that will tell us that is going on.

One has to remember that what people run in private test sessions is entirely up to them and I think it is going to be extremely difficult to do it at a race.

Jarno Trulli, Toyora, Jerez, 2008 pre-season testing | Toyota F1 MediaI hope the system really is sufficiently secure. But when a legally trained man like Max Mosley describes something as “very difficult” and not “impossible”, I have to wonder.

Van Manen also shed light on questions about Microsoft’s involvement in the project, about which little has been heard since the joint bid won the tender in 2006:

It is easy just to say let?s just concentrate on the box that goes on the car. But there?s a lot more to it if you are going to do the job properly. We consider that to do the job properly a partner like Microsoft was right for us.

There is a huge engineering community in motorsport and the way they look at data is all built on the products that sit on PCs. Most of those PCs are running core infrastructure that comes from Microsoft. In motorsport you operate as close to the boundaries as you are comfortable doing. Getting close to Microsoft allows you to push those boundaries in that area.

Photos copyright: F1Fanatic | Toyota F1 Media

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