Jenson Button, McLaren, Istanbul, 2011

Exhaust limits would affect most teams, say McLaren

2011 Spanish Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Jenson Button, McLaren, Istanbul, 2011
Jenson Button, McLaren, Istanbul, 2011

McLaren engineering director Tim Goss says the FIA’s plan to restrict the use of exhaust gases to increase downforce would affect most teams.

Speaking during a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in Goss said: “I think all the major teams are up to the same tricks with regards to engine mapping. Certainly we exploit them.

“The latest guidelines on use of engine to drive floor systems, if that came in it would be a performance setback to us and I know it would almost certainly be a performance setback to our main competitors.

“As to whether it affects us more than our competitors it’s impossible for me to say. I know what we get out of it and we get quite a substantial benefit. But I imagine it would be just as sizeable a setback to our competitors as well.”

He admitted the FIA’s plan had not been discussed by the Technical Working Group: “It’s been around for a while but there hasn’t been much debate about clamping down on it, if any.”

Goss added the FIA were keen to restrict how teams use their exhausts in this fashion: “For the moment it would appear the FIA have decided it’s quite a complex matter and they need more time to consider how they will try and police it.

“As a result it looks like at the Spanish Grand Prix it will be business as usual.”

Goss explained why the team abandoned their planned upgrade at Istanbul:

“Just prior to the Turkish Grand Prix we had a relatively minor issue which meant that I wasn’t confident the upgrade would be durable for the race distance. So we pulled out of that at the last minute.

“We’ll re-evaluate all of our upgrades on Friday in Spain and those that look good we’ll take forwards.”

He said the team planned further changes this weekend:

“As you know we introduced a change of concept at the rear end of the car just before the start of the season.

“We’ve been living with some sub-optimal packaging in that region for several races now and I think what you’ll see is some bodywork and floor changes that aim to tidy up that area of the installation.”

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51 comments on “Exhaust limits would affect most teams, say McLaren”

  1. Even this wont have much of an impact on Red Bull’s pace. I reckon they’ll still be the team to beat in Barcalona

    1. it will have just as much as an impact on Renault, so if they want to ‘improve the show’, it won’t work. It will probably pull the Renault back from the other teams.

    2. My bad, didnt realise the ban was overturned for this weekend at least. Still, I think Red Bull have a bit of pace in the pocket should it be needed.

    3. I think it will in qualifying, but probably not the race.

      It will be interesting to see if Vettel can suddenly pull such a big margin in Q3 without the exhaust rule modification.

      1. The qualifying advantage is mainly from the DRS system on the RBR not the exhaust.

        1. Snow Donkey
          18th May 2011, 16:18

          Don’t want to seem brash here, but I believe you’re not seeing the whole puzzle. Red bull create more downforce over the whole car which then allows them to open DRS earlier. It has to do with less downforce being generated by the rear wing (percentage wise) to begin with.

          It has been speculated that their exhaust allows them to run more rake by effectively “fencing” the edges of the diffuser. It’s a knock on effect.

          1. Still they probably have the most effective DRS on the grid… of the top 5 teams anyway…..
            This change will hurt Renault more than any IMO

          2. I think you might be right, that it will reel in Vettel a bit, as he will have to wait that tad bit longer before he opens the DRS

        2. Wasn’t it Mercedes’s DRS that was the most efficient? At least they show the biggest increase in top speeds.

          1. Yeah, but being that much of an effect means Mercedes can only put it on a bit later (for rear stability) and have to close it a tad earlier as well (as it takes a little bit longer for the airflow to reatach).

            So for qualifying it is a bit less of an effective tool.

    4. Sure they will.

  2. RationalBen
    18th May 2011, 12:11

    When are they going to police the use of steering wheels to turn the corner…….?

    1. Good point. The front wheels are moveable aerodynamic devices. BAN!

  3. Well my theori is that it would hurt the RB the most. I assume that the rake on that car (RB) is negated by the high downforce that blown diffusor generates. So during high speed corners the RB pulls down a bit and that brings also the front wing closer to the ground which boosts the downforce generated even more. With this limitation it would mean that in the corners when you must release throttle you would loose that downforce that RB is so dependent on. I hope you all remember how mclaren behaved when they brought blown diffusor for the first time. As soon as they released the throttle that car would loose grip.
    But like i said in the beginning, just a theory

  4. Personally, I think it is a bad idea to change the rules mid season except in extreme cases.

    The rules are written. The teams put a lot of work into producing a car which produces the best possible performance within those constraints. To change those mid-season just forces the teams to spend more time and money modifying the cars, instead of tweaking what they already have.

    The only exception I beleive there should be is where something is found to be fundamentally unsafe. In this case, an amendment to the rules should be allowed. Otherwise, the rules should be frozen once written, or at least once the season starts.

    Let us take, for instance, the “double decker” diffusers. Teams who developed this studied the rules and found this method of increasing performance. Had the FIA turned round and banned them, all that effort would have been wasted, and it would have been terribly unfair to the teams involved.

    I think this also applies to the blown diffusers. They are only really of benefit if you can maintain the exhaust flow when needed. Alterring the rules at this stage is unfair on all the teams who have developed it, and most unfair on those who have done the best job of it. If they want to change the rules, change them for next year.

    How would people feel in, say, football if the goal posts were on wheels and could be moved and the size changed in the middle of a game? That is what changing rules mid-season does: it moves the goal posts.

    1. Absolutely agree with you. You beat me by 1 minute but we share the same view.
      And you also use a football comparison =)

    2. How would people feel in, say, football if the goal posts were on wheels and could be moved and the size changed in the middle of a game? That is what changing rules mid-season does: it moves the goal posts.

      That’s such a poor analogy, I don’t know where to begin. The rules aren’t being changed in the middle of a race. But let’s imagine the goals are widened in between matches. Well, it would be the same for everyone. It’s not like they would be banning something one team had and the others don’t.

      This is hardly a glorious episode but this will have such a small impact on things. I doubt the change in Red Bull’s relative performance will be anything greater than a tenth, if that. It might make the cars further down close up, in which case, good. In a sport where engineering matters far more than the athletes, I won’t be shedding a tear in the name of purity.

      1. “it would be the same for everyone”

        That’s ********. The teams which invested more time and resources in the concept and therefore have a better system will always be upset.
        In the same way that the banning of the F-duct last season would prejudice more McLaren than others… after all they had the best system.

        I, as a Red Bull fan, ask you? If FIA banned now the KERS system would you be happy? I guess McLaren would love that.

        1. Um, it would be the same for everyone in his football analogy. I never said it would be exactly the same for the F1 teams. It won’t be – but the impact has been exaggerated to say the least.

      2. It’s not like they would be banning something one team had and the others don’t.

        Yeah right. Then FIA should also ban the KERS system. After all, not every team has it either. It would also made cars further down close up. Mclaren would definitely love that.

        1. Read again, I am talking about the football analogy.

          1. The football analogy is sound Icthyes.. the rules were set for all teams at the start of the season.. Now lets say RedBull have invested 15% of their resources into exhaust blown diffuser research and McLaren only invested 5%. McLaren have had an extra 10% of a development advantage when this technology is banned mid season.
            i.e equivilant to widening redbulls goalposts.

          2. That football analogy is not right. It would be more or less right if it said “change the size mid season”, instead of in the middle of a game.

            Where it does not fit is, in that it does not say all goals are changed everywhere for everyone. And even more importantly is the fact that the F1 teams are “optimizing” their “goalposts” during the season and are perfectly used to getting clarifications on how far they can go with that.

          3. BasCB, I think the changing goalposts represent an unfair advantage to certain teams. When you ban or ristrict a technology type mid season you arbitrarily punish teams who have invested more in that technology.
            So it’s a bit like starting out at a game of football with your posts 10ft apart and mid way the referee decides that the posts should be as wide as your teams 2 tallest players lying end to end. Thus punishing taller teams.

          4. But MW that just does not match. To be comparable with moving the post during a game you would have have the FIA changing rules mid race. Not just during the season.

          5. The football analogy doesn’t work… if the size was changed in-between games not during and one team some team had slightly different size goal posts to other it might be a bit better.

      3. That’s such a poor analogy, I don’t know where to begin. The rules aren’t being changed in the middle of a race.

        I see your point, the anaolgy is flawed. The reason I put the anaolgy this way was because, to an F1 team, it is similar to changing things in the middle of a game.

        So many resources go into developing an F1 car that, by the time the season starts, making a significant change to the rules requires redoing a big chunk of that work. Even worse, with very little testing allowed, they cannot prove their modifications until the next race weekend.

        On the other hand, in football, a change to the dimensions of a goal could be implemented at the training ground very quickly, and the players could practise with that before their next game. This luxury is denied to F1 teams, they would effectively have to develop a work-around blind.

        1. But both the money issue and the development run amiss.

          It would be completely the same for football if changed during a season. Their teams are more or let set, safe some changes of player mid season. And certainly such a move would hurt teams with good defence (keepers) and give an advantage to teams who have a lot of players shooting at the goal, just in the same way this changes the same thing for all F1 teams but can have different effect on the success of each.

  5. Here you see the power of the oldest teams. Changing the rules during the season is a disgrace. Everyone knows that Red Bull are the team which fully understands and exploits the concept.
    No one touches them in qualifying for this reason. And as Mclaren and Ferrari realize this, they just cheat. I can’t say how disappointed I am with this decision.
    This would be like UEFA now changing the rules of football because Barcelona is too strong… from now on you team can make more than 15 consecutive passes. That would be good.

    Anyway, I’m sure Red Bull will continue what it does better… work in a fair way and win in a fair way.

    1. “from now on your team can make more than 15 consecutive passes”
      *** can’t… I meant can’t…

    2. Oh and by the way, the biggest winner? Probably Mercedes since they use a rather traditional exhaust system.

  6. Hopefully they postpone this change to next year.

  7. I’m no engineer, but maybe someone with more technical knowledge can elaborate on this.

    RBR claim that their front wing is situated lower, because the back end of their car is put up higher.
    This makes it different to the other teams.
    Different, means that it could be one of the (if not: thé) key elements that gives them their current advantage: high cornerning speeds.

    Take that away and where would RBR end up? They still have the flexible wing, but their straight line speed sucks. If this would reduce the gap with only 3-4 tenths, they would still go for pole, but they’d be almost sitting ducks in the races.

  8. I think it will bring down downforce and change the balance between certain drivers a bit. But in the general picture it will just mean everyone is cornering a bit slower and has to brake a tad earlier as they will not have as much downforce at that moment.

    Sure Red Bull potentially loses most, but they have the best guy there to think of how to change to car to a new optimum.

  9. Red Bull benefits from having a consistent design philosophy throughout the car: maximise downforce in high speed corners. McLaren have the best engine so they aim to maximise straight-line speed. Red Bull don’t have great straight-line speed but they have a Renault engine that accelerates quickly in slow-speed corners. This adds up to a big advantage over a whole season.

    1. It also produces less heat—same as saying less power, more or less. Meaning the design is less constrained by cooling, which is another big advantage, especially when you have a genius aero guy on hand.

  10. Keith, the caption should read Jens and not Lewis.

    1. So it should – have changed it, thanks.

  11. so.. the octopus exhaust.. ahh forget it..

  12. Mark Hitchcock
    18th May 2011, 14:13

    Why are they even trying to ban the exhaust blow diffuser? Because innovation is being slowly weeded out of the sport?

    1. They’re not banning the exhaust blown diffuser, but the engine over-run or the burning of fuel for the sole purpose of achieving downforce.

      1. Mark Hitchcock
        18th May 2011, 20:39

        Yeah, realised that after I’d written it. *wants delete/edit button*

  13. I’m glad. The actual difference between the teams won’t change all that much and skill comes back into play. Apparently, Webber was the master of the technique needed to keep the gases flowing as much as possible. The constant-flow program negated that. Now drivers will have to use their skill rather than the car to get the most out of it.

    Is it the best timing? No and I’d be interested to hear what the trigger for all this was. Did Renault boast too loudly about how much fuel they could waste on the EBD? We’ll see. But better late than never, I say. It’s not like we’re banning EBDs altogether. We might cry for the cutting of innovation, but life will go on as it has done every other time.

    1. It was Mclaren finding another second with the octopus exhaust ;-)

      Nobody can say who it will hurt the most, personally I think RBR will be fine, it’s really screwing up a massive part of the Mclaren concept though.
      Ferrari are only just starting to get to grips with it on their current car so they could gain the most.
      Other that will gain HRT, Lotus and Virgin

  14. The Redbull’s rake has nothing to do with the nose dipping at high speed.
    Lets face it, the nose dips when the car is driving at very high speed, and not under braking as Horner claims, the increased downforce from the rear wing should ensure that the rear of the car sinks lower towards the ground. Instead only the front wing dips.

    1. Yeah, that is just about smoke and mirrors. Sure the car has a lot more rake and that is part of how it works better.
      But the nose still bends down under load and the wing tips still almost kiss the track. That is not explained by rake at all.

  15. I agree with the ban but not with timing. but I’m not bothered much, just want to know what would happen especially to Redbull, Mclaren, Ferrari, Renault, Mercedes. If the ban works too well, maybe we can see some of midfielder outpace them.

    1. Well we already know the RB7 is very slow on the straights, one of the slowest.

      However, the off-throttle EBD is just part of a bigger picture. I can’t envisage the order would change much.

      1. I think so but I hope something different would happen as well.


    D’ya think that’ll be enough?

    Teams like Lotus are just getting their EBD’s off the ground (or is that closer to the ground?). Must have cost them a fair few quid, and now they may see it getting taken away.

  17. Bleeps_and_Tweaks
    19th May 2011, 15:32

    I’m not into the idea of banning the blown diffuser at all.

    For one it’s a massive contradiction to the FIA’s attempts to cut costs, even a cursory look at the cars from last year would have shown that it was going to be a major feature of design for this years cars. Couple this with the fact that they are bringing in the ban during the season is ridiculous because plenty of teams in the midfield or at the back have already spent a hell of a lot of their smaller budgets on trying to replicate the gains being found by RBR, Mclaren and Ferrari.

    Plus, what about the R31’s innovative Front Exit Exhaust (which apparently Mercedes are rumoured to be copying)?! It’s one of the most exciting pieces of design in F1 for a while in my opinion, and it will almost certainly be outlawed if this ban goes through after Canada.

    I wish the FIA would wind themselves in a bit and let the teams try and put together the fastest possible cars they can, as long as we don’t go back to processional races, which given the start of this season seems unlikely.

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