McLaren hope to benefit from rules change

2011 European Grand Prix

Jenson Button, McLaren, Montreal, 2011

Jenson Button, McLaren, Montreal, 2011

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh says the restrictions on engine mapping to be introduced this weekend should be to their advantage.

Teams will no longer be able to change mappings between qualifying and the race, which should put a stop to the use of special ‘qualifying modes’.

When asked about the effect of the changes during a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes media call he said: “We’ve made some reasonable progress in the last three races.

“We have had the quickest race car but we haven’t had the quickest qualifying car.

“There are some changes this weekend in that the FIA will enforce a strict parc ferme regulation which will mean that the car as qualified races. Based on what I’ve just told you, we should be hopeful of that.

“But I think we’ve got to assume that everyone’s been working hard on that. We’ve got a few developments that were going to bring to the race, we’ve got two very motivated drivers and we’ll do our best to win there.”

Whitmarsh added the details of further changes to how teams use ‘hot-blown’ diffusers, to be introduced at Silverstone, were still being worked out

“It’s still a little bit up in the air. On the face of it, we’re making those changes that will be deemed necessary by the FIA.

“I think it’s quite a complex area. The precise characteristics of how they’re going to be controlled haven’t been decided yet. There’s been some clarifications, teams are still talking to the FIA, and we’ll have further clarifications in the next ten days or so.”

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38 comments on McLaren hope to benefit from rules change

  1. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 23rd June 2011, 13:36

    The next 10 days or so? THat will only give them a few days before they’re actually out in Silverstone.

    Sounds like there is going to be some serious head-scratching going down.

    • Boomerang said on 23rd June 2011, 14:09

      Mp4-26 is the car with greatest potential yet to be unlocked! Rule implementation rather than change is playing McLaren’s way.

      McLaren’s approach in extracting performance from the car is quite opposite from Red Bull’s. U shaped side pods, nose configuration with flow splitter etc. You can recognize that even from Paddy Lowe’s statements. It becomes clear that McLaren is not pursuing floor development to the extent RB does. Their splitter is not even close in efficiency compared to RBs and they are sticking to it :-( Not to mention the front wing.
      But, now RB7 is facing certain loss of efficiency on the floor side. I agree that whole package matters but it’s going to be a little truncated on the edges ;-)
      Good thing for guys from Woking!

      • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 23rd June 2011, 14:34

        The sidepods might indeed turn out to be the way to match Red Bull, instead of trying to keep up with them like Ferrari chose to.

        I might be talking nonsense, but I’ve always thought the U-shape meant that the air going over the car and to the rear meant it was much cleaner, as it isn’t that obstructed. Other cars have to divert the air under their sidepods with the wings, which is more complex. The McLaren however simply drives its channels into the air, with a little help from the front wing.

        • Lee said on 23rd June 2011, 15:05

          It does look to me like the sidepods divert the air more cleanly to the rear which would mean that their aerodynamic efficiency should be quite good. However until the FIA actually do something about changing their testing procedures for the front wings I think RB will still have an advantage (apparently the cheat wing gives them up to a second per lap advantage).

          I do not think we will see any change this weekend from Red Bull though as I can’t see how on earth the changes will prevent Red Bull, Ferrari and Renault from switching the Mappings for the race.

      • Rob said on 23rd June 2011, 15:04

        We will see…

  2. Bobby_B said on 23rd June 2011, 13:43

    It will be very interesting to see how and if these rule changes shakes things up on the grid.
    McLaren seem to be fairly confident that they will gain an advantage over Red Bull. And Red Bull as far as I know are not admitting to using different settings on the ECU’s, in fact they have gone pretty quite lately over this issue, other than Adrain Newey’s comments regarding the Blown Diffusers.
    Could be an interesting weekend . . .

    • McLarenFanJamm said on 23rd June 2011, 16:56

      Yes, it does seem quite odd that RBR were so against the rules to begin with, then claimed that they wouldn’t affect them that much, then were against them again and now have gone very quiet.

  3. Bobby_B said on 23rd June 2011, 13:45

    I meant QUIET above . . .

  4. JCost (@jcost) said on 23rd June 2011, 15:08

    I hope MacLaren and Ferrari can fight for the pole.

  5. BasCB (@bascb) said on 23rd June 2011, 16:15

    I would like it to be closer, and the McLaren surely has a lot of potential left untapped compared to the highly developed Red Bull car.

    But I do not believe Red Bull will suffer too much, nor that they won’t be able to claw it back soon.

    An interesting twist in this is what Autosport reports, about Red Bull having lobbied to have it limited to 25% instead of 10%. Not have much to lose then?

  6. Puffy said on 23rd June 2011, 18:11

    I’m a little confused about this restriction, don’t the drivers change the engine settings during the race anyways? Or are engine mappings more radical than the engine modes that they change during the race?

    • S.J.M (@sjm) said on 23rd June 2011, 20:16

      well, ive always imagined that the ‘mapping’ is the same as what people refere to having their road-cars ‘chipped’ which is the CPU chip that tells the engine what efficiency to run at (e.g increasing Bhp/Torque etc). So whats happening is (and correct me if im wrong) the teams are reprogramming that chip (by taking it out of the car?) and using 2 different programs, 1 for Qualy, the other for the race. I gather that the regulations now abolish the ability to take said chip out to be remapped, as its now covered under the parc ferme conditions.

      • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 24th June 2011, 5:20

        That’s probably pretty close to it. According to Scarbs, they can’t change the engine mappings on the ECU without plugging in a laptop. What the drivers have control over at the wheel is more like fuel mixture, how lean or rich they’re running, etc.

  7. driftin said on 23rd June 2011, 19:21

    Let’s hope they jump RBR. That would be amazing.

  8. Klaas said on 23rd June 2011, 19:32

    It’s pretty lame for a car company with such a glorious history to rely merely on rule changes in order to beat “just a drinks company”.

    • robbiepblake (@driftin) said on 23rd June 2011, 20:16

      They’re not relying on it, it’s just a stroke of luck for them. However, if you look at the season gone by McL have been pretty close to RBR in the races, beating them in pace on at least three occasions (China, Canada, Monaco).

      They just need to sort their qualy out and I think it’s likely they will this weekend.

      • Alex said on 23rd June 2011, 20:31

        Beat them in pace in Canada?
        Did you miss the fact that the safety car goes out multiple times and keeps the frontrunning Vettel in a beatable distance?? Beat them in pace in the last 5 laps I agree.

    • Alex said on 23rd June 2011, 20:26

      Yes Klaas,
      100% agree. All those McLaren heads here on Keiths site are going crazy by imagine how there favorites can beat RBR now after changung the rules but didnt consider twice how stupid and at least unfair this change of rules really are.
      Change it at the end of the season is 100% fair, do it in the middle is breaking the rules just for the sake of Ferrari/VMM or the TV-visitors.

      • Harry said on 23rd June 2011, 21:08

        But it’s not a new rule? Surely it’s just a clarification of parc ferme regulations?

        If you can’t change wing set-up etc you shouldn’t be able to change the engine set-up. And just because everybody does it, doesn’t make it legal.

        I guess that’s what the FIA are saying, and if it improves the show then great.

        • Alex said on 23rd June 2011, 21:34

          But honestly why do they change there regulations or how you call it parc ferme restrictions in midseason? Almost everyone noticed already last year that RBR used differend mappings for quali and race. It must have been very easy toi adjust the regulations before the first GP takes place. Anyway this is not a big issue, evey time should able to handle this. But changing the EBD rules at the half of the season turns everything upside down. Doesnt matter which team running up on top or which looses ground due to EBD but there are some many teams, so many engineering power, some much money wasted in EBD, and accidently, FIA fobid it at the half of the season. Sorry, but this is not the way a fair competition should proceed its just stupid entertainment in the end.

          • Harry said on 23rd June 2011, 21:41

            It’s a sport, it’s meant to be entertaining.

            And it’s tough to write a rule book that covers every base when you’ve got a dozen teams with dozens of the most talented engineers in the world, backed up with millions of pounds, all looking to gain the tiniest advantage by finding loopholes in the rules.

    • Boomerang said on 23rd June 2011, 20:58

      They don’t drink enough, obviously… Keep tuned, you’ll see ;-)

    • BBT said on 23rd June 2011, 22:05

      NO Rules have been changed.

  9. f1andy83 said on 23rd June 2011, 20:10

    Can anyone explain this to me once and for all. What is the benefit of this if they have 8 (if im not mistaken) different settings on the wheel? yeah that might take 1 or 2 settings away, but probably wont matter much.

    • f1andy83 said on 23rd June 2011, 20:11

      Adding to this, I could see a huge improvement in excitement if they only had 1 setting for qualy and race period, no saving fuel mode or etc..

    • verstappen (@verstappen) said on 23rd June 2011, 21:20

      It costs them one setting then. and given the very competitive State of F1 that can be just enough to make a difference: maybe red Bull needs all 8 slots to be competitive in the race and now they need to sacrifice one for quali then.

      • Boomerang said on 23rd June 2011, 21:41

        Call me crazy, but I’d inject water in the exhaust. It would increase the weight of the exhaust gases – which is very important to all ejector based systems – I’m sure it would help…
        Next thing would be FIA coming down like ton of bricks declaring it illegal. That would be the end of it.
        They are really an anti-progress institution.

  10. Electrolite said on 23rd June 2011, 22:07

    I think I’d put money on Mclaren picking up a win this weekend. Them or even Ferrari doing that would be very healthy for this season. At least in my eyes.

  11. BBT said on 23rd June 2011, 22:07

    I normally defend the titles of these articles but no rules have been changed. FACT!

  12. Paulsmith said on 23rd June 2011, 22:43

    The red bull would need to carry 130kg of extra fuel for the race if it was to run on the quali trim engine map mode.

  13. Jon said on 24th June 2011, 1:08

    I just don’t understand how teams just cry and moan and rules get “clarified” and they are now proud they can compete! It is said all I have seen from Mclaren is how to get this and that banned from every other team. How can you feel good about yourself if you can not compete on your own without Mommy and Daddy helping you fix the rules? Bull any team was close to RBR on pace in any race this year! RBR has either gotten the stradegy wrong or the safety car has allowed teams to catch Vettel! I hope RBR embarrasses Mclaren esspecially at Silverstone!!!

    • Boomerang said on 24th June 2011, 6:25

      Look at Ferrari mate, they are the most successful team of all time. In many cases by courtesy of FIA.

  14. To improve the technology for road cars f1 should only use 4 cylinders also the race would be more interesting.

  15. John Cousins said on 24th June 2011, 7:27

    While we’re on the subject of engine mapping and blown diffusers, here is a thought that no-one has mentioned that has been playing on my mind for quite some time.

    FIA keeps mentioning throttle position when talking about EBD systems and stating that it is effectively a driver controlled aerodynamic device.

    Well this is a very vague area as the engine throttle or “throttle valve or barrel” is no longer directly connected to the drivers right foot. Modern F1 engines can sit with throttle at very large openings with the engine rpm controlled by retarding or cutting ignition events either to all or selective cylinders.

    Here’s the kicker… a driver simply “demands” a level of “power required” with a potentiometer attached to their right pedal. The ecu decides how to supply the power so it is NOT a driver controlled aerodynamic device.

    Due to engine RPM being controlled by ingnition, theoretically an engine could then be considered to be at idle with the throttle open.

    The engine exhaust is merely exhausting whatever gasses are in the engine, no matter how they are produced. SIMPLE AS THAT!

    How are the FAI going to determine what idle is??? and what are they going to use to decide what 10% throttle is?
    Unless they individually “flow test” each engine’s individual throttles then they won’t have any idea what percentage of throttle is open relative to the ports maximum flow.

    As for not being able to change maps between qualifying and the race. As far as i’m aware, the Mclaren control ecu han on board memory which has the facility to store a number of complete fuel and ignition maps which are selectable “on the fly” by the driver. Surely the driver can just run the agressive map during qualifying and swap back to a different map (the one he will start the race on) when entering the pits after qualifying.

    How on earth can the FAI control that?

    Is it a case of the tech advancements of the teams exceeding what the FAI’s minds can understand?

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