Sergio Perez, Sauber, Istanbul, 2011

FIA postpone restrictions on exhaust-blown diffusers

F1 Fanatic round-upPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

In the round-up: the FIA is to restrict how teams use their exhaust-blown diffusers.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Teams get reprieve over blown diffusers (Autosport)

“It is understood that the FIA is keen for the off-throttle usage to be stamped out as soon as it can be implemented without causing further complications for the teams.”

Neel Jani on Twitter

“Really worked my neck out on Sunday with over 400km testing in Red Bull Racing’s RBR7 F1 car! What a machine it is!”

Mark Webber, Valentino Rossi, Silverstone, 2011
Mark Webber, Valentino Rossi, Silverstone, 2011

Mark Webber on Twitter

“Ducati boys gave me a little bit of work today for a few laps.”

Via the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app

Witness – Expelled from Bahrain, a nation now in fear (Reuters)

“Reuters correspondent Frederik Richter left Bahrain on Tuesday, a week after the government announced it was expelling him from the Gulf kingdom for his coverage of a crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators.”

Spanish GP – A third trip to Barcelona (Ferrari)

“Continuing with the car development, the 150??? Italia will be fitted with new floor configurations in Spain, along with modifications to the front and rear wings. Much of the development work has centred on improving the car?s performance over a single lap in qualifying, a phrase that maybe sounds like a mantra now, as it has been the case since the start of the season and actually during previous years too.”

Adam Cooper on Twitter

“Former F1 privateer Pete Lovely has died at the age of 85. The American started seven Grands Prix between 1960 and ’71, mostly in his Lotus 49B.”

Via the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app

Formula One Fantasy – Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari (F1)

“Q: If you could choose one former world champion as your team mate, who would you choose and why?
JA: Sebastian Vettel. There is much to learn from him. At the moment he is the best driver on the grid – and if you could beat him you would be even better than him!”

Follow F1 news as it breaks using the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app.

Comment of the day

Graeme Hunter remembers watching the 1981 Belgian Grand Prix:

I was nine, and the start-line incident horrified me, I didn?t watch F1 for about a year afterwards, having started watching when I was four.

Obviously as a fan of motor racing at that time, I?d seen plenty of crashes, but this was something different, really affected me.
Graeme Hunter

From the forum

Damon Smedley is looking for an F1-related name for a kitten.

Happy birthday!

No F1 Fanatic birthdays today. If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Lotus started their first race on this day at Monaco in 1958.

82 comments on “FIA postpone restrictions on exhaust-blown diffusers”

  1. Wow, doesn’t look like there’s going to be much run-off at the start!

  2. I’m liking the last minute change there on the exhaust story

    1. The whole exhaust thing seems very strange to me, and incredibly unfair to all the teams. All the decent teams have been designing their 2011 cars around that philosophy for about a year now. To implement that ban mid season seems a step too far, and much different than say increasing the load test on the front wing. It will be very interesting to see which teams were pushing for this ban, if that information comes out.

      1. Fuel is being wasted for no apparent reason. I doubt a team pushed for its ban, as it will affect other teams more than it will affect Redbull, beacuse of the dipping nose.

        1. Dutch_Alex
          18th May 2011, 8:14

          Fuel is being wasted for going faster. Which is the whole point of formula 1. Everyone wants to finish first (which means you went quicker than the rest). Luckily you still get zero points for every liter of fuel left in your tank at the end of the race.

          1. Technically if you don’t have a litre of fuel in your tank at the end (for scrutineering) you get 0 points!

          2. johnny Legg
            18th May 2011, 16:34

            but as f1 is trying to be seen as greener, is it really right that the most efficent engine in the sport (Renault) is buring the 10% fuel saving to blow the diffuser?

            we cant go on buring dead dinosaurs forever!

          3. johnny Legg
            18th May 2011, 16:39

            oops i meant burning….. i cant spell

          4. @johnny Legg

            In which case make F1 electric! Lets forget about all the other far more damaging environmental aspects of the sport. (The amount of fuel used by F1 is dwarfed by the global use while the localised impact of shed materials and manufacturing pollution are far more damaging)

          5. But Johnny Legg, then you would have to ask the question of pollution caused in the production of all the batteries. Not to mention the source of the electricity.

        2. dyslexicbunny
          18th May 2011, 16:22

          Or FIA wanted to stop this from becoming a trend as they want the sport to be greener. With the new engine rules, they’re shooting for reduced fuel consumption. I think it’s a reasonable conclusion.

          1. If they are so concerned about the environment why do they want tyres to last shorter distances (and therefore both leave more rubber on the tracks to freely make its way into the environment and also leaving more worn tyres to dispose of?

          2. Also the teams are not using any more fuel than allowed so what is the issue? If they have less fuel next year then they will have to manage that with the software.

          3. dyslexicbunny
            18th May 2011, 16:35

            I never claimed they considered all aspects of being green. I think they’re more interested in fuel consumption greenness than rubber material greenness.

            I believe their case for the tires was that the previous generation of tires led to relatively boring races. Put on one set, race, change tires, finish. And with the excitement from Canada last year, I think they realized the benefits to the show from “crappier” tires. Are they able to recycle any of the marbles or used tires? If so, it becomes less important.

          4. dyslexicbunny
            18th May 2011, 16:41

            Also, software will only get you so far. Eventually, you would have to change the engine cycle design to get better performance.

            Look at civil aircraft. To go faster, aircraft moved from props to turbojets. But the turbojet hates fuel. This led to the turbofan engine and it’s mainly on today’s aircraft. Now future engines are looking at either geared turbofans or open rotors (advanced props).

            You might be able to eventually get todays turbofan performance out of a turbojet but the money spent on R&D would be enormous in comparison to the R&D for just developing a turbofan.

          5. @dyslexicbunny

            I doubt it is easy to recycle the tyres as they are made out of a number of different compounds of rubber along with canvas materials etc. They would somehow have to separate the compounds before they could begin to recycle them. So what we are saying here is that the FIA are green where they decide they want to be but not if it effects the show? That is not a green policy to be proud of. In the grand scheme of things I would bet the rubber, carbon fiber and other materials are much more of an environmental concern than some small extra fuel burn.

          6. @dyslexicbunny

            Jet technology is nothing like the subject we are talking about. I am merely saying that the cars have an allowed amount of fuel, they are currently using some of this to feed the exhausts during a off throttle phase, However if they were not doing this they would be using that fuel for something else to improve performance. As the fuel allowance reduces they will have to work around it either with different software or different hardware, but either way they will be using the allowed amount of fuel.

            Plus TurboProps are the most efficient engines on aircraft but would you want to travel on one to Australia?

          7. dyslexicbunny
            18th May 2011, 17:24

            But overall, waste from tires or changes in fuel burn in F1 are going to be trivial at a global perspective. I assume their logic is that the tech going into making the fuel friendly engines will pass on to road cars and reduce fuel consumption – something nontrivial depending on the savings.

            My point was that is you continue to limit the fixed fuel amount, you will have to change the engine after a certain reduction. There’s only so much you can do with software and eventually you have the wrong tool for the problem at hand. Aircraft examples simply come to mind first but you go with what you know.

            As for Australia.. Since existing turboprops limit cruise speeds to keep tip velocities subsonic and it’s already a long flight from the States, no. Advanced designs (well developed in the 80s and abandoned but now getting reexamined) should address some of the cruise speed issues but even then, you’ve now got the problem of massive noise. The joys of engineering!

          8. @dyslexicbunny

            the rubber and other shed materials are a concern for the local environment. Fuel burn is not a local issue. Yes the rubber usage etc are tiny compared to global use but for the environment surrounding the tracks it is a huge issue.

            I agree that engines will have to change to cope with lower fuel, but this is my point. teams will always seek to use the maximum resources possible. even if you change the engines the teams will make best use of the available fuel as they are currently with the blown exhausts.

      2. From some of the background chatter, I gather the FIA got more information (complaint) on teams going to great lenghts (and ressources) to reprogram their engine management with a very strong view on using fuel to boost the exhaust while off throttle.

        So the FIA acted to tell everyone, this is not the way to go. I guess it was to be expected they tell the teams the engine is not meant to improve downforce.

        Interestingly I read in a background piece yesterday, that this might help Webber catch Vettel. Apparently he found a nice technique to work with the throttle and braking to use the exhausts perfectly at the start of the seasson. After they changed the engine management to allow more off throttle boost, that Webber advantage lost its significance and Vettel shot ahead.

        1. We’ll see. Vettel was outperforming Webber at the beginning of last season as well (though not to the extent he has this year), and Webber only came on strong starting in Barcelona. It’ll be very interesting to see how he can do in the next couple of races. Personally I can’t see him catching Vettel anytime soon.

          1. It was only at the last race that Webber could be directly compared with Vettel. First 3 races, Webber had all kinds of issues that affected his qualifying.

          2. I’ve read this too and goes back to a BBC article last year:

            At this part of the season [Barcelona and Monaco], Webber was genuinely able to get more from the car’s exhaust-blown diffuser.

            In its initial form, this component required a very specific driving technique to maximise the time on open throttle – which increased the downforce boost from the exhaust plume – and Webber was superb at it, consistently squeezing just that little bit more from it than his team-mate.

            Here comes the crucial part:

            Vettel continued to be better at living with a little bit of entry oversteer, and that ability to adapt to the car moving around him was maybe partly why he was not as insistent on adapting his technique to a feature that calmed the rear end as soon as you got on the throttle.
            From Valencia onwards however, the Renault engine was running software that retarded the ignition off-throttle, using the extra heat created to maintain exhaust flow to the diffuser even off-throttle.

            Suddenly that downforce boost was there even during braking and Webber’s specialised technique was no longer required. That improvement, in other words, took away a key Webber advantage.

            And when you think about it, Mark never had the advantage after that. In Silverstone Vettel got a puncture, at Hungary he screwed his own race up and at Spa he crashed into Button and barged into Liuzzi. It’s from this point forwards that Vettel’s dominance is said to have begun, but the pace advantage appeared much earlier – from Valencia, in fact.

            Of course, Mark has not been as close to Vettel this year as he had been in even some of the later races of last year. But neither was he last year. Webber has had slow starts to the year for the past three years and ended the previous two much better than he started.

            I’m not trying to argue that Webber is as good as Seb, but I never felt there was something right about the size of the gap. In context, its size is actually inflated.

    2. I sort of expected them to postpone this in season change, just as they did. Just imagine you are introducing a new floor in Barcelona. All of a sudden its obsolete.

      Even worse, what if your car is fully reliant on using the exhaust gasses especially under braking and all of a sudden you cant use that. They will certainly have to do new floors, that is probalby everyone but Virgin (who did not yet get it working) and HRT I guess.

      1. Yeah, when the car was developed around the concept it’s kind of rough to say the teams can no longer use it effective immediately. I wonder how long this reprieve will last.

        1. I guess it will be a few weeks. If its for Barcelona, it will have to be for Monaco as well (certainly no one has time to change anything big in between them).

          Then its Canada. My guess is, they let the teams ship what they have now to Canada and make them stop using the off throttle boost from Europe onwards.

          1. Teams have probably already shipped their sea freight to Canada, so I would guess that’s out as well. You could be right that Valencia will mark the deadline.

      2. But to tell them at one race (something like): look you’d better stop that, next race it won’t be allowed; but then just before that next race say: oh, wait, we didn’t think it through, just keep it in mind for a later day and don’t start doing it more please, okay? That’s a bit silly, isn’t it?

        Maybe I should have added to that last bit: ”
        good that none of you actually changed anything yet, ah ah, no harm done because you all are dragging your heels anyway, surely!

        I mean, what if teams have been working now for two weeks to get on top of a non-off throttle exhaust gasses car, attempting to fix up their balance and work around it. Now that work is wasted too. Sure, not as much work, time, and money as the original change, but why not think it through beforehand?

        Or maybe I’m naive, and all teams realised that clarification was only a first step in negotiating a stop on off-throttle exhaust blowing somewhere down the line.

        1. Yeah, I think the clarification was contested by most teams from the moment they received it.
          As it is not for safety reasons, the FIA was probably expecting to have to get a compromise in there with the teams and they knew it as well.

          1. From the BBC
            “The FIA regards this as a waste of fuel, as well as contravention of article 3.15 of the technical regulations, which among other things dictates that driver movement that affects the aerodynamic characteristics of the car is not allowed.”

            This is what I hate most about F1 rules. They are seemingly re-interpreted to suit what the FIA wants to happen. Surely if this is the case then every car is breaking the rules and will continue to as a driver has to apply movement to the accelerator, gear change flaps and break, all of which alter the aerodynamic characteristics of the car? They are not doing anything differently now they do not have a magic lever that alters the exhaust gases other than the accelerator and gear change.

    3. Yeah certainly seems amusing to me too!

      I cant help but feel like this was done in response to lobbying from McLaren and Ferrari, who have both been vocal about their inability to get on terms with Red Bull in qualifying (which is widely believed to be a result of the RB7s superior EBD), even though as we know race pace tells a slightly different story.

      Then again, I cant imagine that the FIA would be too keen on listening to either of them; what with Ferrari talking about breakaway championships and challenging the proposed 2013 rule changes so vehemently, while McLaren’s persistent flexi-wing protests have all fallen on deaf ears.

      Its all just speculation, but either way I hope they dont ban the EBD this year. Id love to see other teams getting to terms with Red Bull, but not if its due to mid-season rule changes like this. I imagine renault would be hit by it the worst! Poor guys would probably need a significant redesign with their radical exhaust set up.

      1. I am not sure how you come to that conclusion. Maclaren are not at all happy about this either as they have a pretty effective system too.

        Yes they were pretty vocal about the flexi wing but then surely that was justified as it is clearly cheating. The exhaust systems are just clever ways of generating downforce within the regs (well the current interpretation of the regs anyway).

        1. Yeah you’re probably right, and I dont mean to say that McLaren and Ferrari are guilty-as-charged, it just seems so bizarre for the FIA to try and do this so suddenly. My immediate reaction is to think that one of the teams pushed for it behind the scenes, and it certainly seems like Red Bull would have the most to lose on account of their (perceived) performance boost from it and their current championship position.

      2. I rather feel, that Renault proudly stating that their engines are efficient enough to enable their teams to burn up to 10% extra fuel for off throttle boost did the trick.

        It was curious for them to say something like that. Probably they do not like the extra work done for engine mapping and the image for burning fuel.

    4. They should announce it to the teams before the race, not two days before.

  3. Qualifying is where the Ferrari has struggled, if Fernando or Massa can stick it on the 2nd row, expect a challenge for the win.

  4. I reckon that’s the first time I’ve heard Neel Jani mentioned for years. Didn’t he end up in Champ Cars, and didn’t he cut ties with Red Bull when he left F1? Either way, I’m assuming his chance to get a race drive in F1has been and gone

    1. Either way, one lucky man to get his hands on an RB7.

      1. Toby Bushby
        18th May 2011, 2:14

        I hope it was for straight line testing only. ;)

        1. But doing 400 km of straight line testing is a bit much I think. Thats more then a full race distance, i.e. a full testing day.


      2. I’m assuming it was the simulator…

        1. But why would simulator work give his neck a workout? Same goes for straight-line testing…

          1. In the simulator they sit in a mock-up of a car mounted on hydraulic rams that simulate the forces on the driver. It’s pretty full-on!

    2. A bit more from Jani:

      it was at a track outside Barcalona Straight line and high speed cornering!!/neeljani/status/70804828556767233

      Sounds like Idiada, where Virgin tested recently and I think McLaren shook down their car for the first time this year.

    3. I thought the same.

  5. If F1 goes to Bahrain I’m quite committed to not watching it. As it stands when things are safe again F1 will go back, but that simply doesn’t work when the only information coming from Bahrain is that the government said everything is fine and dandy, when obviously it’s not.

    I really hope teams like Williams boycott the race.

    1. Yeah, all the evidence shows things are not heading in the right direction in Bahrain at all.

      I read about a Bahrain initiative to get a petition out in support of the race. Got 2000 supporters in its first day, all from Bahrain. I guess these are the people supportive of the government then.

      I think the one a few weeks ago calling Bernie not to have the race got a lot more support. And its a good thing it did.

      1. Well, the population of Bahrain is 600,000, and 30% of them- 180,000- are Sunni and thus happy with their lot.

        The law of averages suggests a fair few of that number are conscientious people who are as apalled with the government’s treatment of their fellow citizens as us outsiders are, and would in fact like to see reform themselves.

        So, that doesn’t leave a huge number of people in support of their government, or the return of the Grand Prix

    2. This shows how much going there would be supporting the regime oppression:

      Also hoping to see the event return as soon as possible is Abdulrahman Al Morshed, chief executive of the National Hotels Company.

      “If we get the F1 back it will make a massive difference to the international perception, so even if it isn’t as successful as normal it will go a long way to bring business back to the country,” he is quoted by the TradeArabia News Service.


    3. Yeah, I’m with you on that. People say boycotting it is pointless and will achieve nothing. Of course, sadly it probably won’t. But that doesn’t mean it’s not the right thing to do.

      The way I see it, choosing to watch something is like a vote. If one person chooses not to vote, it won’t make one iota of difference in the overall scheme of things. But in that case you could argue that since the importance of one individual vote is negligible, everyone who votes is wasting their time.

      Similarily, you could say a handful of people choosing not to watch the race won’t make any difference. But if all of us who have strong feelings on the matter were to follow our and principles and boycott (or not, for those who are unconcerned with the repression), then it would certainly send a potent message.

      1. Yep, its probalby the right time to dust off our forum tread about a viewer boycott.

  6. If the “blown” exhaust regulation change results in a major shift in who has the fastest package, the seaason’ll have become a farce already. You can try to relate the change to environmental benefit, sure, but it doesn’t make it less-obvious that the decision has been made in order to try to end Vettel’s dominance. Ridiculous, really.

    1. Thats F1 for you.

    2. On one hand, I’m curious as to whether Vettel and Red Bull can break some records this season (like most consecutive poles, most poles in a season, most wins etc). But on the other hand I’m not so sure I want to see him seal the championship with 6 or 7 rounds still left.

    3. I am not too sure it will shift the balance. Just think about it.

      Red Bull is ahead with its engine management. They can now concentrate on further improvements while some others are still working on getting that right for the next couple of races until off throttle boost is banned.

      A few teams might opt to drop their plans for full blown diffusors, or change them in anticipation of this FIA guideline. That might make them take longer to catch up.

      So all in all Red Bull is still in the best position.

  7. Why was Jani driving an RB7?

    1. Ed Marshall
      18th May 2011, 7:28

      Yea, to me that distance would surely breach some testing rules?

  8. Oh good, even more restrictions in the technical regulations.

  9. Reprieve?

    “‘unforeseen and unintended consequences’ of the ban had been brought to the FIA’s attention.”

    Yeah, it been brought to the FIAs attention that they can not enforce the rule equally across teams… here we go again.. more rules that can’t be enforced.

    1. Actually I think this will be a fairly easy rule to manage due to all the teams using a standard ECU.

      1. You but they don’t and never have use the same software.

  10. Check out this Ferrari video, including preview quotes, and also, a very humorous video with Felipe Massa and Rob Smedley. They both get asked questions about each other and they show a great sense of humour.

    8:10 onwards.

    1. Flutter F1
      18th May 2011, 9:27

      Does Massa say what I think he says when they tell each other something??

      1. Yes, I think so.

        I think the question was tell each something you’ve never said to each other before, which explains why he said that.

  11. Translated the Jaime Algeurahuarahuhuuhu quote:

    “Q: If you could choose one former world champion as your team mate, who would you choose and why?
    JA: Sebastian Vettel. He’s driving a Red Bull and I want to drive the Red Bull”

    1. Algeurahuarahuhuuhu? Is that what they’re calling him nowadays? Along with Sauber’s Kamui Kamikaze… Algeurahuarahuhuuhu seems to obviously be a reference to young people drinking..

      Gotta be careful when drinking, you might start throwing punches at the rival teams..

      (Ahh.. Nothing like a joke sometimes..)

  12. Is it me or aren’t all the teams supposed to be using standard ECU software? Begs the question how they managed to play around with exhaust gases so much don’t you think?


    1. They can use different versions of the software, and within the software the settings may be changed.

      1. And at least this common ECU is what would allow the FIA to enforce a restriction if and when they decide to go through with it.

        1. Some smart $%%& (probably at RBR) will find a way around it and have a massive advantage.
          Anyway it is impossible to enforce, all engines have a different map (natural or by design) so some will gain more than others from the ban.
          The only fair way to do it is to not allow the exhaust to blow the diffuser at all. It the going with no enhanced mapping I hope they ban the exhaust blowing onto the diffuser (mapping or no mapping) for 2012

          1. I actually think they need to relax regs to allow more innovations like the blow diffusers as this is one of the reasons I watch F1, as long as the tech is not blatant cheating (like RBs Front wing) then I think it is fascinating to see what engineers come up with to make cars faster.

  13. Innovation in design will not be tolerated! Good lord, what were the teams thinking, anyway?

    *rolls eyes*

    1. Indeed. Bloody teams trying to make their cars faster!

  14. The FIA’s entire concept is idiotic. Fuel consumption? Fuel is used to propel the car and thereby also to generate downforce by moving the car through the air. Further, it is strange to focus on the off-throttle application and want to leave the on-throttle application alone, especailly since the off-throttle innovation is what made the on-throttle mode a realistic performance tool—because it limited the dynamic imbalance that kept flinging Alex Wurz into walls the first time this came out. There is no upside to banning off-throttle besides slightly slowing down (some) cars, and there is a clear downside.

    As a conspiracy theory, you might say that McLaren is agitating for this change because the Octopus is not working out and because Mercedes’ computer guys are not as good as Renault’s.

  15. To be honest this is the first i’d heard regarding the off-throttle EBD. It does seem a little unnecessary but at least the FIA are admitting they may not be in the best position to remove it from use immediately.

    Interesting answer from Jaime Alguersuari too!

  16. A mid season regulation change could be predicted as the season has unfolded so far. If this change doesn’t succeed in increasing the overall level of competion (i.e. removing RBR domination) then the FIA will surely come up with something else, that must be changed.
    Best punishment for the FIA would be if this caused RBR domination to increase. The fuel-waste concern is of course totally ridiculous as this is racing.
    Rule changes within the season should not be allowed, unless it is driven by serious concerns over safety. FIA should try to design the technical regulations for next seasons in a way to ensure that no team will dominate, instead of trying to cheat with a mid season change now.

  17. Vettel isn’t a former champion. FAIL.

    F1 cars’ fuel consumption should never, ever be a topic for discussion. I despise the FIA.

  18. Anyone else think it is stupid for the FIA to be concerned with the amount of fuel burned by the cars during a race, when literally thousands of people and tons of equipment have to fly all over the globe before the racing even starts?

    I would like to see a breakdown of the total carbon output produced by the cars vs. the flights. My guess is the flights would dwarf the racing.

    1. dyslexicbunny
      19th May 2011, 19:39

      I think it’s a reasonable conclusion. The obvious response is “Let’s cancel racing.” But that won’t sit well with anyone.

      But if you’re interested, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) did a study in 1999 and updated it a couple more times and found that aviation is actually trivial in overall CO2 emissions as well as a minor player in transportation emissions.

      So if FIA ends up encouraging further development in fuel efficient technology and it passes on to road vehicles, there’s still a net benefit in the big picture.

      That’s not to say we’re not focused on making aircraft greener.

    2. look at the FOTA website. They published a study about exactly that subject last year.

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